In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region. Today we're talking with Maria Tatar, Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures at Harvard University.

She's written and translated several books on fairy tales, and she describes how seemingly simple stories like “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” challenge us to think a little harder as we try to decode the cultural contradictions in them. The Vermont Humanities Fall Conference “Why Do Stories Matter?” will take place November 13–14 at the Dudley Davis Center at the University of Vermont and our guest, Maria Tatar will participate.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we check in with Vermont Humanities Council and discuss why stories matter. This is the thirteenth year of Vermont Reads, in which the Vermont Humanities Council distributes, free, thousands of copies of a single book to communities around the state and invites Vermonters to use the book as the foundation for community activities related to its themes.

This year’s book is Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Joining us now are Peter Gilbert, Vermont Humanities Council Executive Director and Amy Cunningham, Director of Community Programs, Vermont Humanities.

On Friday, June 22, at 1 p.m., WAMC will debut Playing on Air – a new program featuring short plays by America's greatest playwrights, performed by America's greatest actors. It will air each fourth Friday the month at 1 p.m.

Each one hour episode will feature two or three short plays. Playing on Air is produced and hosted by Columbia County resident Claudia Catania. She spoke with WAMC’s Brian Shields.