audio vault | featured audio

More than five hundred unique presentations by the world’s most influential writers are available in our audio archive. The selected recordings featured here include a brief introduction, with biographical information about the speakers and a summary of the material. We encourage educators worldwide to use these unique resources and share them with your community of readers.

Hilton Als & Junot Díaz in Conversation

To open Shorts: Stories, Essays & Other Briefs, Junot Díaz and Hilton Als came together on the subject of “Baldwin’s Children, or, Our Bodies Long for (a) Home: Belonging, Exile, and Love in African Diaspora Letters.”

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Marilynne Robinson: ‘Grace’

During this talk from the 2015 Seminar, Marilynne Robinson delves into the notion of grace and its various appearances in current and past cultures.

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Wonder: A Conversation with Pico Iyer and Barry Lopez

This conversation from the 2015 Key West Literary Seminar focuses on the concept of wonder and its relation to writing and living.

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David A. Kaufelt: “The Peter Pan Theory”

“I have a theory why we all live here—it’s called the Peter Pan theory. Freud said we’re at our most creative before we’re five years old. That’s where we are here. We wear shorts, we ride bicycles, we have the water, a great symbol of the unconscious, and we’re free to be children here and let our spirits go.”

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Harvey Shapiro | 2010

The late Harvey Shapiro reads a selection of his poems as well as work by Richard Wilbur and Yiddish writer Joseph Rolnik. Shapiro discusses the impact of World War II on the ‘class of 1924’ and talks about his mentors Charles Reznikoff, Louis Zukofsky, and George Oppen.

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George Saunders: ‘The Honorable Old Task’

George Saunders is a fiction writer and essayist noted for his acute sense of satire, outrageous humor, and keenly perceptive observations on contemporary life. In this talk, he recounts his coming of age as a writer and explains how he learned to stop aping his literary idols and begin making use of his own life and times.

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James Merrill: A reading for Elizabeth Bishop

This 1993 reading in tribute to Elizabeth Bishop reveals James Merrill’s significant gifts as a reader and interpreter of Bishop’s work, and suggests the depths of the influence he felt from the poet who “set standards for me as no other contemporary did.”

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Douglas Coupland & William Gibson

Douglas Coupland and William Gibson discuss technology, culture, and the craft of writing. Communications technologies are a “global memory prosthesis,” says Gibson, and aspire to an experience in which distinctions between the “virtual” and the “real” are dissolved. “We are already the borg,” Gibson says.

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Why Other Worlds? (Isn’t the “Real” One Enough?)

Acclaimed science and technology writer James Gleick leads Year of the Flood author Margaret Atwood, British novelist China Miéville, and American writer Joyce Carol Oates in a discussion of the tensions between the real and the unreal inherent in writing and reading works of fiction.

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China Miéville: Manifestos, Movements, & Moments

British novelist China Miéville is a 3-time winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award, given to the best science-fiction novel published in the U.K. Here he explores genre, ‘the elephant in the room,’ argues for its embrace as a useful taxonomy, and urges writers to aspire to the ‘swagger’ of hip-hop artists Jay-Z and M.I.A.

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