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.


Jonathan Lethem: The True and the Real

Jonathan Lethem’s novels include Motherless Brooklyn and Chronic City and he is an authority on the works of sci-fi legend Philip K. Dick. At the 2012 seminar, he presented ‘The True and the Real,’ a ‘plate-spinning act’ exploring such disparate figures as writer Samuel Delaney and anarchist David Graeber.

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Joyce Carol Oates: Close Encounters with the Other

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 50 novels, as well as many volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. In this recording from the 2012 seminar, Oates reads “San Quentin,” a short story based on her experience teaching English at San Quentin State Prison in the spring of 2011.

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Colson Whitehead: Departing the Zone

Colson Whitehead is the acclaimed author of five books, including Zone One, a wry take on the post-apocalyptic horror novel in which zombies wander Manhattan. In this humorous talk from the 2012 seminar, Whitehead recalls early influences including Stephen King and Donna Summer, and his aspirations to the life of a writer.

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Julia Reed: Drinking & Other Southern Pursuits

Julia Reed is a contributing editor at Newsweek and a native of Greenville, Mississippi. In this rollicking talk from the 2011 Seminar, Reed discusses facets of Southern life including disproportionate rates of murder and churchgoing; Mississippi’s repeal of Prohibition, 33 years behind the rest of the nation and, of course, alcohol consumption…

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Adam Gopnik: Rituals of Taste

Adam Gopnik is an award-winning American journalist best-known for his work at The New Yorker. The former art critic of the magazine, Gopnik’s work encompasses an incredibly broad range of cultural topics and figures. In recent years he has often written about food, the subject of his newest book, entitled The Table Comes First: Family, France, and the Meaning of Food (Knopf, October, 2011).

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Nicole Mones: Chinese culture through Food

Nicole Mones is an acclaimed novelist whose works draw from her experiences in China, where she began a successful textile trading business in 1977. Her books, including A Cup of Light, Lost in Translation, and The Last Chinese Chef, frequently explore Chinese culture through the prism of its cuisine.

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Molly O’Neill: I’ve come to look for America

Molly O’Neill is the former food columnist for The New York Times Magazine and was the host of the PBS series Great Food. She is the author, most recently, of One Big Table, a portrait of America and its cooks told through more 600 regional recipes; and the editor of the Library of America’s anthology American Food Writing.

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Judith Jones: The Language of Food

Judith Jones has been an editor for more than 50 years at Alfred A. Knopf, and as such has been responsible for bringing some of the century’s great works of literature before the American public. She has been particularly influential as an editor of food writing. In this field, her books include Julia Child’s landmark Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

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