To be a writer, Amitava Kumar says, is to be an observer. The twenty-six essays in Lunch with a Bigot are Kumar's observations of the world put into words. A mix of memoir, reportage, and criticism, the essays include encounters with writers Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy, discussions on the craft of writing, and a portrait of the struggles of a Bollywood actor.

Dear Wally…

Nov 18, 2014

  Ask Wally Nichols what he does for a living and he may say: Musician, Writer, Radio DJ, Cartoonist or Farmer. Today he is answering author, because of his new book: Dear Wally: A Collection of Snarky Advice Columns & Opinionated Essays – pieces from The Blue Stone Press.

Wally Nichols is an advice columnist the regional upstate paper. It's not exactly advice though- at least not in the 'Dear Abbey' sense. This is up on a soap box/ bully pulpit material that is sometimes salty, sometimes very funny, sometimes clever, sometimes humble, sometimes appreciative, sometimes observant. The book is a collection of the best fifty over a three-year span.

  Delia and Nora Ephron were writing partners; they co-wrote the movies You've Got Mail and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants as well as the off-Broadway hit Love, Loss and What I Wore. Delia was an assistant producer on Nora's film Sleepless in Seattle.

In her latest book, Sister Mother Husband Dog, novelist Delia Ephron writes that losing her older sister, Nora Ephron, was like "losing an arm, it's that deranging." Nora, who wrote When Harry Met Sally, died of acute myeloid leukemia in June 2012.

But for all their collaboration and closeness, Delia acknowledges that sister relationships are complicated. Sister Mother Husband Dog is a collection of autobiographical essays.

Essay: Coping With Anxiety

Mar 8, 2014

I ran on the track today. My heart was pounding, I could barely breathe. I knew that when people looked at me they could see my flushed cheeks, that bright hot red. I allowed myself to go in continuous circles anyways. It’s familiar. It reminds me of elementary school days, holding my father’s hand at the bus stop and garnering up tears so he would take me home before the bus pulled up. It reminds me of high school days, and the daily hyperventilating before stepping out my door and into the morning air, counting my breaths.


  In Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York, twenty-eight authors (including Cheryl Strayed, Dani Shapiro, Emma Straub, and Ann Hood) share their personal reasons for departing the city that never sleeps.

Sari Botton edits the collection and joins us to tell us more.

  Verlyn Klinkenborg's regular column, The Rural Life, is one of the most read and beloved in the New York Times. Since 1997, he has written eloquently on every aspect, large and small, of life on his upstate New York farm, including his animals, the weather and landscape, and the trials and rewards of physical labor, as well as broader issues about agriculture and land use behind farming today.

Klinkenborg's new book - More Scenes from the Rural Life - gathers together 150 of his best pieces since his last collection, The Rural Life, was published a decade ago.

  Without mantras or manifestos, 29 writers serve up sharp, sweet, and candid memories; salty irreverence; and delicious original recipes. Food is so much more than what we eat. The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage is an anthology of original essays about how we learn (and relearn) to eat, and how pivotal food is beyond the table.

We speak about the book with one of its editors, Lisa Catherine Harper.

Essay - Just One Year

Mar 1, 2013

Have you ever had a thirteen year old ask you if she was going to die? I have. It’s an experience I hope no one ever has to go through, but one that has taught me faith and strength I never thought I had.

When you find out a family member only has less than a year to live, your whole perspective on life changes. You focus on the day, take nothing for granted and live in that moment. This is something I’ve come to realize and appreciate more each day.

TMI Project

Mar 1, 2013

  TMI Project is a nonprofit organization that offers memoir writing workshops that culminate in staged true storytelling performances - sort of like The Moth meets The Vagina Monologues. Their slogan is "Changing the world, one story at a time."

This past year, after receiving a grant, they launched the TMI Project Community Outreach Initiative, which brings the TMI workshop to under-served populations.

While doing that, they have also continued regular workshops and shows. On March 11th they begin their first "for the page" 9-week workshop. It's an essay writing class, and will culminate in a small collection of essays that will be for sale, and a reading at a book store.

They’ll have their third women's retreat workshop at LifeBridge Sanctuary in Rosendale March 15th - 17th.

There’s a LOT going on and Eva Tenuto, Executive Director of TMI Project, and Sari Botton, Editorial Director join us to tell us more.

    Diane Cameron is a writer, speaker, teacher and spiritual director. She is an advocate for people in need at Unity House in Troy, New York. Looking for Signs is a collection of her columns and essays.

She'll be signing the book at The Book House in Albany, NY on Saturday, February 23 at 3PM.