Dr. Maya Angelou, the memoirist and poet who wrote I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, died on Wednesday in her home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 86.
Born Marguerite Ann Johnson in St. Louis April 4, 1928, Angelou led a life that contained many adventures and accomplishments - any one of which might fill the entire life of another person - in addition to writing some of the most beautiful poetry and prose in existence - she was a dancer, calypso singer, streetcar conductor, single mother, magazine editor, administrative assistant, official of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Tony-nominated stage actress; and a college professor.
Here were share portions of some of Joe Donahue's conversations with her over the years.
Cuban-American novelist, Oscar Hijuelos died this weekend at the age of 62. His book, The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love was a best seller and earned him the Pulitzer for fiction in 1990 - making him the first Hispanic to earn that prize.
We spoke with Hijuelos on The Book Show in 2010 on the occasion of the publication of Beautiful Maria of My Soul – his 20 years-later muse-twin follow-up to Mambo Kings.
Elmore Leonard, who died Tuesday at age 87 from complications from a recent stroke, influenced an entire generation of crime writers with his gritty crime novels and shoot-'em up Westerns. Works like “Get Shorty,” “Freaky Deaky” and “Glitz” established him as a modern master of American genre writing. His novels were often adapted for the large and small screen, including a short story, “Fire in the Hole” which was adapted for television as the FX show “Justified” which won a Peabody Award in 2011 in its second season.
Joe Donahue speaking with Elmore Leonard on the occasion of the publication of Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. We re-air a portion of that interview in memoriam.
Former New York City mayor Ed Koch died after a brief illness early this morning at 88, ending a long and often rambunctious public life. The former Congressman and permanent Big Apple ambassador spoke with Randy Cohen on WAMC’s Person Place Thing last year. They discussed Koch’s burial place in one of the last open plots in Manhattan.
Gore Vidal came from a generation of novelists whose fiction gave them a political platform. Norman Mailer ran for mayor of New York City; Kurt Vonnegut became an anti-war spokesman. And Vidal was an all-around critic. His novels sometimes infuriated readers with unflattering portraits of American history.
He also wrote essays and screenplays, and his play The Best Man currently has a revival on Broadway.