writer

Griffin Dunne
Chronogram Magazine

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold is a biographical documentary featuring the life of influential American writer, Joan Didion. Directed by Joan's nephew, Griffin Dunne, the film enlightens the viewer with an unprecedented, intimate perspective on Joan's life and career accomplishments.

The film features interviews from Joan herself, as well as close family and friends, interwoven with contextual archival footage/stills to visualize Joan's astute writing. Joan, famous for bringing order to disorder through her words, exposes, examines and divulges the most pivotal events in American history, making her one of the most recognizable and influential voices within the literary world. The story of this film not only considers Joan Didion the writer, but gives light to Joan Didion, the individual. 

The film will be screened at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, NY on October 13th at 5:45pm as part of the Woodstock Film Festival with a Q & A to follow with Griffin Dunne. 

Rachel Kadish’s new novel The Weight of Ink is set in London. It is the interwoven tale of two women of remarkable intellect – one an emigrant from Amsterdam who is permitted to scribe for a blind rabbi, just before the plague hits the city; the other an ailing historian with a love of Jewish history.

David Sedaris
Ingrid Christie

David Sedaris is the author of the books Let's Explore Diabetes with OwlsSquirrel Seeks ChipmunkWhen You Are Engulfed in FlamesDress Your Family in Corduroy and DenimMe Talk Pretty One DayHolidays on IceNaked, and Barrel Fever. He is a regular contributor to The New Yorker and BBC Radio 4.

The beloved author and humorist will be at Tanglewood on Sunday, August 20 at 8p.m. 

His new book is Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002).


  This Thursday at 4 p.m., The Mount in Lenox, Massachusetts presents Women Writing Through Loss: Connecting Through Calamity featuring Dr. Lucy Kalanithi, Rebecca Soffer, and Emily Rapp Black as they read from their work and discuss the power of connection as friends, as writers, as mothers, and as women who forged powerful friendships after experiencing great personal loss, and writing their way out of it.

 

Rebecca Soffer joined us to tell us more.

Arthur Yorinks has written and directed for opera, theater, dance, film, and radio and is the author of over thirty-five acclaimed and award-winning books, including Hey, Al, a children's book, which earned the Caldecott Medal in 1987.

His latest book is: Making Scents. It is a graphic novel, written by Yorinks and illustrated by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline. Mickey isn't quite like his brothers and sisters. They're all stronger, faster, and have a much better sense of smell. That's because his "brothers and sisters" are dogs--bloodhounds, to be exact. Mickey's mom and dad are crazy about canines.

Their dogs are the loves of their lives and their livelihood. So, naturally, they're raising their son as if he was a dog, and Mickey wants nothing more than to make his parents proud.

Through his forty years of picture-book making, he has teamed up with many famed illustrators including Maurice Sendak, William Steig, Mort Drucker and David Small.  

Arthur Yorinks has an event at Battenkill Books in Cambridge, NY on Thursday, July 20th at 7 pm.

Josh Radnor
Cary Mosier / Vassar College's Flickr

The star of How I Met Your Mother, Josh Radnor, is premiering his new play, Sacred Valley at New York Stage and Film and Vassar College's Powerhouse Theater in Poughkeepsie from June 29th to July 9th.

Sacred Valley is about Narby and Natalie, two lifelong friends. Their friendship becomes tested when Narby takes Natalie’s husband Brian out for his first mushroom trip. The next day, a confused Brian leaves Natalie, an enraged Natalie blames Narby, and three people are forced to ask themselves the deepest questions about love, friendship, and growing up.

Aside from playing Ted on How I Met Your Mother, Radnor has written and directed two films, Happythankyoumoreplease, and Liberal Arts

David Salle is an internationally renowned painter whose work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tate Museum and National Galarie of Berlin, among many others.   He also has a long-standing involvement with performance working extensively over the last 25 years with choreographer Karole Armitage, creating sets and costumes for many of her ballets and operas.  Salle is also a prolific writer on art. His new book is How To See.

On Wednesday, March 23, he will be featured in the New York Writers Institute The Creative Life Series in conversation with Joe Donahue, live in the Recital Hall at UAlbany at 7pm. 

Willard Spiegelman is the Hughes Professor of English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. From 1984 until 2016, he was also the editor in chief of Southwest Review. He has written many books and essays about English and American poetry. For more than a quarter century he has been a regular contributor to the Leisure & Arts pages of The Wall Street Journal.

Drawing on more than six decades' worth of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, Willard Spiegelman reflects with candid humor and sophistication on growing old.Senior Moments is a series of discrete essays that, when taken together, constitute the life of a man who, despite Western cultural notions of aging as something to be denied, overcome, and resisted, has continued to relish the simplest of pleasures: reading, looking at art, talking, and indulging in occasional fits of nostalgia while also welcoming what inevitably lies ahead.

Fannie Flagg is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café and A Redbird Christmas.

Her latest novel, The Whole Town’s Talking, tells the story of Lordor Nordstrom, his Swedish mail-order bride and their neighbors and descendants as they live, love, die and carry on in mysterious and surprising ways.

A Bronx Tale: The Musical begins previews on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre tomorrow night. The new musical features a book by Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri, music by Oscar, Grammy, and Tony Award winner Alan Menken, and lyrics by Grammy Award winner and Oscar and Tony Award nominee Glenn Slater. The show is co-directed by two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro and four-time Tony Award winner Jerry Zaks, with choreography by Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo.

Based on the one-man show written and performed by Chazz Palminteri that inspired the now classic film, this streetwise musical will takes the audience to the stoops of the Bronx in the 1960s—where a young man is caught between the father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. Featuring an original doo-wop score, this is a tale about respect, loyalty, love, and above all else: family.

The musical premiered at the Tony Award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn, NJ to critical and popular acclaim earlier this year and officially opens on Broadway on December 1st.

Alan Menken joins us.

Garry Trudeau, the iconic cartoonist who created Doonesbury and has been skewering our political lives for over four decades has also worked in theater and television.

In an event last night, presented by Oblong Books and Music at The White Hart Inn in Salisbury, CT, we spoke with Trudeau about his career, politics, and his new book is Yuge!: 30 Years of Doonesbury on Trump.


  Mike Birbiglia is an award winning comedian, writer, actor, and director known for his autobiographical stand-up tours and one-man shows on Broadway. His first feature film, Sleepwalk with Me, was released in 2012.

His second film, Don’t Think Twice, opens this Friday at Spectrum 8 Theatre in Albany, NY and at Upstate Films in Rhinebeck, NY. This story is Birbiglia’s first major work not based on his own life -- in it, an improv group called The Commune has reigned as the big fish in the small pond of their New York improv theater. When not all members of the group start to find success beyond the improv stage -- the group fractures, friendships are strained and feelings are hurt. It’s a funny movie about failure and success -- and how success doesn't always look the way you think it will.

The film is produced by This American Life host and creator Ira Glass, was written and directed by Birbiglia and he stars along with Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Chris Gethard, and Tami Sagher.

  In The Violet Hour, Katie Roiphe takes an unexpected and liberating approach to the most unavoidable of subjects. 

She investigates the last days of six great thinkers, writers, and artists as they come to terms with the reality of approaching death, or what T. S. Eliot called “the evening hour that strives Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea.”

Katie Roiphe will be in conversation with Kate Bolick as part of The Mount's Touchstones series on 8/18.

Basilica Hudson, in partnership with the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) will host the first READ & FEED this Saturday, July 30th. The event brings together artisanal makers of food with artisanal makers of literature.

This inaugural “mini-festival” will feature panel discussions bringing together writers, farmers and chefs, cooking and mixology demonstrations, a marathon reading of John Cage Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse), and a marketplace featuring more than twenty small press publishers and artisanal food makers, plus spectacular eats and drinks.

Here to tell us more are: Jeffrey Lependorf, CLMP’s Executive Director; Lisa Pearson, publisher of Siglio Press and the John Cage Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse); and Michael Albin, proprietor of Hudson Wine Merchants.

  After thirty-five years as a book editor in New York City, Ann Patty stopped working and moved to the country. Bored, aimless, and lost in the woods, she hoped to challenge her restless, word-loving brain by beginning a serious study of Latin at local colleges.

As she begins to make sense of Latin grammar and syntax, her studies open unexpected windows into her own life.

Her book is Living with a Dead Language: My Romance with Latin.

  Beloved children's book author Kate DiCamillo will be in our region next Friday, as she presents her new novel Raymie Nightingale in a Northshire Bookstore event on Friday, April 15, 6 pm at Saratoga City Center.

Kate DiCamillo – a Two-time Newbery Medalist - returns to her roots with the story of an unforgettable summer friendship. Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home.

  Helen Klein Ross is a multi-talented writer. Her poetry, essays and fiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and numerous literary journals and anthologies. Her first novel was Making It: A Novel of Madison Avenue and her new novel is, What Was Mine and has already been chosen by People magazine as a Best New Book of 2016.

What Was Mine tells the story of Lucy Wakefield—a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades.

When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.

Helen Ross Klein will be on the Saturday Fiction Panel at the Woodstock Writer’s Festival.

This year marks the 7th year of the Woodstock Writers Festival where they will once again bring readers outstanding panels, speakers, fabulous parties, workshops, and lots of great literary talk.

The festival, held April 7 to 10, will also feature the usual story slam, intensive writing workshops, memoir and other panels, plus keynote speaker Nancy Jo Sales, who writes about the experience of teenage girls in the Internet age; Barney Hoskyns with his tell-all of Woodstock in the 1960s; activist Gail Straub moderating a discussion on spirituality and creativity. The festival will also include an addiction panel for the first time, offering inspiration from writers who have experience with the difficult path from addiction to recovery.

We get a festival preview with Martha Frankel and Kitty Sheehan.

    This Friday night the new Broadway musical, Waitress, will begin previews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City.

Based on the 2007 movie of the same name written and directed by the late Adrienne Shelly, Waitress is the first Broadway musical in history where the traditional four person creative team of book writer, composer, choreographer and director have all been women. Diane Paulus directs, Lorin Latarro choreographs, the music and lyrics are by five-time Grammy Award-nominated singer-songwriter Sara Bareilles, and the book is by our guest, Jessie Nelson.

Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller plays Jenna, a pregnant waitress in an abusive marriage. She takes (and makes) comfort by baking inventive pies and pursuing a romance with an unlikely newcomer to her town.

Bookwriter, Jessie Nelson, is the screenwriter of Stepmom, and I am Sam. She wrote, directed, and produced Corinna Corinna starring Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta.

  My Life on the Road is Gloria Steinem's first book in over 20 years.

It it, the writer, activist, and organizer offers a candid account of how her early years led her to an on-the-road kin of life; traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change.

  For over half a century, The Paris Review has garnered a reputation for discovering exciting new writers whose eclectic, raw, and visionary voices have shaped the landscape of American literature. It has debuted authors such as Philip Roth, Rick Moody, and Adrienne Rich, and works that are now considered some of the greatest in modern literature—Jim Carroll’s The Basketball Diaries, Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections—made their first appearance in the pages of this legendary journal.

The Paris Review has continued its success seeking out and championing the works of emerging writers - which is on full display in Penguin’s new anthology, The Unprofessionals: New American Writing from The Paris Review, edited and curated by Lorin Stein.

Lorin Stein joined The Paris Review as its third editor in 2010. During his tenure, the Review has received two National Magazine Awards, as well as Webby honors, Pushcart Prizes, and O’Henry Awards.

  Barton Swaim, a native South Carolinian, attended the University of South Carolina and the University of Edinburgh. From 2007 to 2010 he worked for Mark Sanford, South Carolina’s governor, as a communications officer and speechwriter.

His book, The Speechwriter , is a funny and candid introduction to the world of politics, where press statements are purposefully nonsensical, grammatical errors are intentional, and better copy means more words.

  It takes guts to be a comedian, and it takes smarts to make a living off it. In Funny on Purpose: The Definitive Guide to an Unpredictable Career in Comedy: Standup + Improv + Sketch + TV + Writing + Directing + YouTube, former Onion editor Joe Randazzo delivers a funny and insightful blueprint for those looking to turn their sense of humor into a vocation.

  Emmy Award–winning writer Adam Resnick began his career at Late Night with David Letterman. He went on to co-create Fox’s Get a Life, starring Chris Elliott, and has written several screenplays, including cult favorites Cabin Boy and Death to Smoochy. Resnick has written for Saturday Night Live, was a co-executive producer and writer for HBO’s The Larry Sanders Show.

Resnick uses the self-descriptor: “euphorically antisocial.” His new book is a tour of troubled psyche - memoir-in-essays entitled: Will Not Attend: Lively Stories of Detachment and Isolation.

BIFF - The Paper Trail

May 28, 2015

  The Paper Trail is screening at The Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, MA as part of the Berkshire International Film Festival on Sunday, May 3st at 1:30pm.

The documentary is about writers and people in the literary world talking about what they do, how they do it, what it means to them - and the future of writing and publishing. The talking-head style doc features luminaries and authors who are just starting out.

We are joined by the film’s director, Kelly Carty, and the co-director,  writer, and producer, Jonathan Bee.

CBS/Worldwide Pants

  This is sad but true - Steve Young will be out of a job after tonight. He has been a longtime writer for David Letterman for both NBC's Late Night with David Letterman and CBS' Late Show with David Letterman.

For the past 25 years, Steve Young has worked on monologue jokes, desk-bits, and was responsible for the skit "Dave's Record Collection," and regularly contributed to "The Top Ten List."

Steve Young joins us to reminisce and to share the current mood of the Late Show offices.

  Our next guest was a writer on Late Night with David Letterman for nearly 1000 episodes over seven years, starting in 1984.

He shared in three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Writing for his work on the show. Randy Cohen was the Ethicist for The New York Times for twelve years and is the host and creator of Person Place Thing, heard right here on WAMC.

CBS/Worldwide Pants

  Gerard Mulligan has spent the majority of his professional career writing for David Letterman. Dating from Letterman’s short-lived NBC morning show, to Late Night with David Letterman, also at the Peacock Network, and running well into the  Late Show run.

Among his many duties - Gerry was a monologue writer and presented jokes to Dave daily. He also made many on-camera appearances often with Fellow Late Nighter Chris Eliot and he even played Hillary Clinton – with wig, dress and his full beard. He retired from the show in 2004. But, he has returned many times since then.

  Ever since Johnny Carson first popularized the late-night talk show in 1962 with The Tonight Show, the eleven p.m. to two a.m. comedy time slot on network television has remained an indelible part of our national culture. More than six popular late-night shows air every night of the week, and with recent major shake-ups in the industry, late-night television has never been more relevant to our public consciousness than it is today.

Jon Macks, a veteran writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, takes us behind the scenes of this world for a look at what really makes these hosts the arbiters of public opinion.

  The Woodstock Writers Festival is a collection of writers and their readers who meet for the weekend in Woodstock, NY from March 19th - 22nd.

It is the 6th annual event and there are plenty of events and panels. There will be panels on fiction, biography, journalism and a look at the writing of memoir. Among the writers who will be on hand are Abigail Thomas, Jane Smiley, Tom Folsom, Stephen Dobyns, Ann Hood, Gail Godwin and James Howard Kunstler.

To tell us more we welcome Festival Organizer Martha Frankel and festival headliner Abigail Thomas.

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