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Writer’s Voice Ten Best of 2023

Podcast

Les Leopold, WALL STREET’S WAR ON WORKERS

We talk with Les Leopold of the Labor Institute about his groundbreaking study of the political cost of mass layoffs. His book is Wall Street’s War on Workers: How Mass Layoffs and Greed Are Destroying the Working Class and What to Do About It.

Then we re-air a clip from our 2013 interview with Les Leopold about his book, How To Make A Million Dollars An Hour: Why Hedge Funds Get Away with Siphoning Off America’s Wealth.

And finally, we read some poems from Mosab Abu Toha’s book Things You May Find Hidden In My Ear.


Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice. Read transcripts at the Writer’s Voice Substack.

Key words: Les Leopold, Wall Street, layoffs, author interview, book podcast, nonfiction, podcast, Writer’s Voice

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Podcast

A Jazz-Age Murder That Toppled Gotham’s Mayor

The Rundown

We talk with Michael Wolraich about his book, The Bishop And The Butterfly: Murder, Politics, And The End Of The Jazz Age. Then, we re-air part of our conversation with Paul Kix about You Have To Be Prepared To Die Before You Can Begin To Live: Ten Weeks In Birmingham That Changed America.  And we read a poem by Palestinian poet Mosab Abu Toha, who was abducted by the IDF and brutally beaten before a global outcry resulted in his release.


Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice. Read transcripts at the Writer’s Voice Substack.

Key Words: Michael Wolraich, Jazz Age, history, writers voice, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book podcast, book show, book excerpt, creative nonfiction, poetry, Black History Month

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Podcast

Women, Vengeance, and Justice: Elizabeth Flock, THE FURIES. Plus, Stephen Robert Miller, OVER THE SEAWALL

We talk with Elizabeth Flock about her book, The Furies. It follows three remarkable women — in the US, in India and in Syria — who took justice into their own hands to defend themselves, other women and their communities against abuse.

Then, environmental journalist Stephen Robert Miller tells us about his book, Over The Seawall: Tsunamis, Cyclones, Drought, And The Delusion Of Controlling Nature. He dives into the deep end of disaster mitigation gone wrong. From Arizona’s drought dilemmas to Japan’s daunting seawalls, we hear how “solutions” can turn into bigger problems.

Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice. Read transcripts at the Writer’s Voice Substack.

Key words: Stephen R. Miller, Elizabeth Flock, Nonfiction, domestic violence, women’s rights, global warming, climate change, book podcast, author interview

Read more: Women, Vengeance, and Justice: Elizabeth Flock, THE FURIES. Plus, Stephen Robert Miller, OVER THE SEAWALL

The Furies: Women, Vengeance & Justice

In Ancient Greek mythology, the Furies were Goddesses who came out of the ground to exact vengeance on men. In the plays of Sophocles, they were the daughters of Darkness and of Gaea (The Earth). According to Euripides. They were three in number.

And that’s the number of the modern day Furies in Elizabeth Flock’s book, The Furies. They include a young mother from Alabama who shot and killed her rapist after an assault where he threatened to kill her; a Dalit (what used to be called “Untouchable”) woman in India who organized a band of women to fight back against gender-based violence; and finally, a Kurdish Syrian warrior in a thousands-strong all-female militia that battled ISIS in Syria.

The Furies explores these women’s lives with nuance and compassion, not shrinking from the moral issue of responding to violence with violence, but also showing that these ultimately ordinary women did what they felt they had to do to fight back against oppression.

About the Author

Elizabeth Flock is an Emmy Award–winning journalist whose work has been featured in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and the Atlantic, among other outlets. She is the host of the podcast Blind Plea, about criminalized survival. Her first book, The Heart Is a Shifting Sea, won a Nautilus Book Award.


Unintended Consequences of Climate & Disaster Mitigation

Stephen Robert Miller’s compelling narrative Over the Sea Wall takes us on a journey through the misguided attempts at mitigating natural and climate disasters, emphasizing how our best-intended efforts can backfire and lead to greater problems. In this conversation with the author, we explore the themes of maladaptation, technological interventions, and the pressing need for sustainable solutions in the face of climate change.

Two of the examples in Over The Seawall feature responses to climate disruption: one is a cautionary tale about Arizona’s flawed attempts to save its water supplies as climate change causes mega droughts in the Southwest. The other is a positive example of how communities in Bangla Desh are countering the impact of increased floods. The third example is the source of the book’s title: it’s about Japan’s ham-fisted response to the tsunami of 2011, which killed nearly 20,000 people.

About the Author

Stephen Robert Miller is an award-winning science journalist whose work has appeared in National Geographic, The Guardian, Discover Magazine, Audubon, and many others. He was a Ted Scripps Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism.

Podcast

Adam Shatz, THE REBEL’S CLINIC & Vanessa Lillie, BLOOD SISTERS

Mind & Liberation: Unveiling Frantz Fanon’s Revolutionary Psychiatry and Post-Colonial Vision. Also, a Cherokee murder mystery.

We talk with Adam Shatz about his acclaimed biography, The Rebel’s Clinic: The Revolutionary Lives of Frantz Fanon.

Then, a Cherokee murder mystery based on two very real crises affecting Indigenous communities: missing and murdered women and environmental racism. We talk with Cherokee author Vanessa Lillie about her suspense novel, Blood Sisters.

Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice. Read transcripts at the Writer’s Voice Substack.

Key words: Adam Shatz, Frantz Fanon, Vanessa Lillie, suspense, history, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book podcast, book show, writer’s voice, Francesca Rheannon

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Podcast

Hope For The Climate Crisis: Michael Mann, OUR FRAGILE MOMENT

We talk with world-renowned climate scientist Michael Mann about climate, past, present and future. His book is Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from Earth’s Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis.

The world is largely past climate denialism (except for the Republican Party and its fascist leader Donald Trump.) But what has replaced it is climate doomism — the notion that it’s just too late to do anything about climate disruption, so we might as well continue with business as usual.

But as Michael Mann tells us, it’s not too late to avert climate apocalypse — and there is resilience in the climate system, if we can just give it enough support to kick in.

Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice. Read transcripts at the Writer’s Voice Substack.

Key words: climate change, climate crisis, global warming, climate science, Michael Mann, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book podcast, book show, writer’s voice, Francesca Rheannon

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Podcast

Douglas Preston & Emma Donnoghue, FOURTEEN DAYS

We talk with authors Douglas Preston and Emma Donoghue about a collaborative novel whose characters — and their stories — are each written by a different, major literary voice: Fourteen Days: An Unauthorized Gathering.

Then, we remember Martin Luther King Jr’s birthday by airing some of our conversation with Jonathan Eig, about his biography, King: A Life. Listen to the whole interview here.

Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter.

Love Writer’s Voice? Please rate us on your podcast app. It really helps to get the word out about our show.


Key Words: writer’s voice, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book podcast, book show, book excerpt, fiction, Douglas Preston, Emma Donoghue, Covid pandemic.

Read The Transcript

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Podcast

Cory Doctorow, THE LOST CAUSE

We talk with Cory Doctorow about his new novel The Lost Cause, “a solarpunk science fiction novel of hope amidst the climate emergency.” It imagines an America where another better world is possible, while confronting the evils of today.

Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter.

Love Writer’s Voice? Please rate us on your podcast app. It really helps to get the word out about our show.

Read the transcript

Key Words: writer’s voice, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book podcast, book show, book excerpt, fiction, cli-fi, Cory Doctorow, Green New Deal, climate change

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Podcast

Adam Goodheart, THE LAST ISLAND & Jennifer Jewell, WHAT WE SOW

We explore the people of North Sentinel Island, who are thought to be the last un-contacted tribe on Earth. Our guest is historian, essayist, and author Adam Goodheart and his book is The Last Island: Discovery, Defiance, and the Most Elusive Tribe on Earth.

Read The Interview Transcript

Then, we talk with author, gardener and radio host Jennifer Jewell about her book, What We Sow: On The Personal, Ecological And Cultural Significance Of Seeds.

Read The Interview Transcript

Key Words: Adam Goodheart, Jennifer Jewell, writer’s voice, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book podcast, creative nonfiction, history, environment, seeds


Writers Voice — in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004. Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice.

Love Writer’s Voice? Please rate us on your podcast app. It really helps to get the word out about our show.

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Podcast

Sy Montgomery & Matthew Patterson, OF TIME AND TURTLES

Turtles are jaw-droppingly amazing. Some can run faster than a 10-year-old; some can climb trees; others have shells that glow in the dark.

We talk with The Soul of An Octopus author Sy Montgomery and illustrator Matthew Patterson about this and more amazing things about turtles. Their acclaimed book is Of Time And Turtles: Mending the World, Shell By Shattered Shell.

We also share our list of Ten Best Shows of 2023

Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice. Read transcripts at the Writer’s Voice Substack.


Sy Montgomery has a gift for bringing the reader intimately into the mind and world of animals, from her celebrated book The Soul of An Octopus, to the one we spoke with her about in 2022, The Hawk’s Way. Now, she’s teamed up with illustrator and turtle maven Matthew Patterson to bring us into the minds and world of turtles and the people who rescue them.

Their book, Of Time And Turtles is both heartbreaking — as they tell us about the plight of these ancient creatures, 60% of which are threatened or endangered — and inspiring, as they recount the stories of turtles brought back from the brink of death to finally be released back into the wild.

And what characters the turtles are! Firechief, Pizzaman, and other wonderful beings leap off the page into the imagination as the reader follows them from tragedy to triumph.

The real heroes of the story are the founders of Turtle Rescue League, Natasha Nowick and Alexia Belle. We hear about their remarkable operation in Massachusetts and about the thrilling rescue mission they organized (and that Sy Montgomery and Matt Patterson went on) to save endangered sea turtles washed ashore on Cape Cod — all in the middle of a nor’easter.

Of Time And Turtles tells us all about these amazing creatures and why we should care about them.

Watch A Video About The Turtle Rescue League

About The Authors

Sy Montgomery is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including The Hawk’s Way, How To Be A Good Creature and Tamed and Untamed. Listen to those interviews here.

Matthew Patterson is a wildlife artist and owner of Stoneridge Art Studios. In addition to Of Time and Turtles, he also collaborated with Sy Montgomery on a children’s book The Book of Turtles.

Podcast

Mike Rothschild, JEWISH SPACE LASERS & Adam Hart, DEADLY BALANCE

Antisemitism and conspiracy theories. Also, how to protect wildlife by protecting people.

First, we talk with Mike Rothschild about his book: Jewish Space Lasers: The Rothschilds and 200 Years of Conspiracy Theories. It’s about the persistence of rightwing antisemitism and its link to conspiracy theories.

Then, scientist Adam Hart tells us about how people become prey for wild animals and why conservation to preserve wildlife needs to take human needs into account to succeed. His book is The Deadly Balance: Predators and People in A Crowded World.

Key words: Mike Rothschild, Adam Hart, antisemitism, conspiracy theories, wildlife conservation, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book show, writer’s voice, Francesca Rheannon

Writers Voice — in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Love Writer’s Voice? Please rate us on your podcast app. It really helps to get the word out about our show.

Read transcripts at the Writer’s Voice Substack


The Real Antisemitism

Rightwing antisemitism is on the rise. This is a real phenomenon, not to be confused with claims by the pro-Zionist lobby that anyone who criticizes Israeli policy toward Palestinians is an antisemite.

In fact, some of the most fervent supporters of the current Israeli government are also promoters of rightwing antisemitic conspiracy theories — like the notion that Jews are a “globalist” cabal that controls the world’s money supply or that Jews are promoting immigration to “replace” the white race.

Target: The Rothschilds

Many antisemitic conspiracy theories center around one family, the Rothschilds. Over the years, they have been blamed for everything from the sinking of the Titanic, to causing the Great Depression, and even creating the COVID-19 pandemic.

How did the Rothschilds become a lightning rod for the conspiracy theories of the last two centuries, and why do these theories persist so widely today?

My guest Mike Rothschild — no relation — explores these questions in his new book
Jewish Space Lasers. In it, he sorts out myth from reality to find the truth about these conspiracy theories and their spreaders.

About the Author

Mike Rothschild is a journalist and author of two books, Jewish Space Lasers and The Storm Is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything. He’s an expert on the intersections between internet culture and politics through the lens of conspiracy theories.

Read an excerpt from Jewish Space Lasers


Predators And People

This past October, a couple camping in Banff National Park in Canada was attacked and killed by a grizzly bear. But in general, attacks by bears and other wildlife in North America are pretty rare.

That’s not so true, however, in places like India or Kenya, where poor villages situated near wildlife areas can be threatened by attacks from such animals as tigers and lions. The consequences for both people and wildlife can be dire.

Protecting Wildlife and People

How to reach a balance between the needs of humans and wildlife in order to protect both is the subject of Adam Hart’s book. The Deadly Balance: Predators and People in A Crowded World.

He says wildlife conservation depends on making sure that humans have a stake in it, especially those who live in or near wildlife habitats.

About the Author

Adam Hart is Professor of Science Communication at the University of Gloucestershire. A biologist, broadcaster and author, he works on a range of topics including African ecology and conservation, insects and citizen science.

Read An Excerpt from The Deadly Balance


Next Week on Writer’s Voice

We talk with Sy Montgomery of the The Soul of An Octopus fame, along with illustrator Matt Patterson, about their acclaimed new book, Of Time And Turtles: Mending the World, Shell by Shattered Shell. Don’t miss it!

Podcast

Steve Babson, THE FORGOTTEN POPULISTS & Lesléa Newman, ALWAYS MATT: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard

We talk with labor educator and activist Steve Babson. His book is The Forgotten Populists: When Farmers Turned Left to Save Democracy.

Then, Heather Has Two Mommies author Lesléa Newman tell us about the enduring legacy of Matthew Shepard. Her new book is Always Matt: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard.

Writer’s Voice — in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004. Rate us on your favorite podcast app! It really helps others find our show.

Like us on Facebook at Writers Voice Radio or find us on Threads and Instagram at writersvoicepodcast and at X/Twitter @WritersVoice. Read transcripts at the WritersVoice Substack.

Key words: book recommendations, author interview, history, writer’s voice, Francesca Rheannon, Steve Babson, Lesléa Newman, LGBTQ+ rights, populism, Matthew Shepard

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Podcast

Corban Addison WASTELANDS: The True Story of Farm Country on Trial

What happened when a poor African-American community went up against the biggest meatpacking company in the world?

We spend the hour with Corban Addison talking about his spell-binding legal thriller, WASTELANDS: The True Story of Farm Country on Trial.

Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice.

Read transcripts and subscribe at the Writer’s Voice Substack.

Key words: writer’s voice, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book podcast, book show, book excerpt, creative nonfiction, Corban Addison, Smithfield Foods.


The Stench Permeates Everything

In eastern North Carolina’s hog country, pigs outnumber people 30 to 1. The stench of hog waste permeates everything. There’s no getting away from it, outside or inside the house.

It’s not just about the smell. Disease pathogens from waste lagoons pollute the air and water, making it unhealthy to breathe or wash, or drink from the faucet. People living near the hog farms are plagued with headaches, coughing and nausea.

Environmental Racism

It’s a classic case of environmental racism: The residential communities bordering the hog farms are largely poor and Black, Latino or Indigenous. Many were established long before hog-raising went industrial, cramming thousands of pigs into barns so tightly, they can’t even turn around.

The hog farmers themselves are little better than sharecroppers to Big Hog, in thrall to companies like Smithfield Foods that cut farmers profit margins to the bone. Workers in Smithfield plants, overwhelmingly workers of color, endure horrifically dangerous conditions.

A David and Goliath Story

Corban Addison’s powerful new book Wastelands — his first nonfiction book — is a David and Goliath story that pits some of the most powerless people in North Carolina against the state’s business and political establishment.

As vivid and fast-paced as a thriller, Wastelands takes us into the heart of a legal battle over the future of America’s farmland and into the lives of the people who found the courage to fight.

From the small group of intrepid neighbors to their legal allies, like Mona Lisa Wallace, who took on their case, Wastelands features a cast of characters as compelling as any in fiction — in fact, more compelling, because they are real people.

About The Author

Corban Addison is the best-selling author of four novels, including A Harvest of Thorns, which we spoke to him about in 2017.

Read or Listen To An Excerpt


Next Week on Writer’s Voice

We talk with Adam Goodheart about his book about the most elusive tribe on Earth. His book is The Last Island. Also, we learn all about the real Populists, not the fake ones like Donald Trump. We talk with Steve Babson about his book The Forgotten Populists: When Farmers Turned Left to Save Democracy. Don’t miss it!

Podcast

John Berger, SOLVING THE CLIMATE CRISIS

Can we achieve 100% clean power by 2030?

“It would be economically efficient and technologically possible to produce all of our power and all of our energy needs through clean power sources. It’s basically as simple as that.”

John J. Berger

We spend the hour with John Berger talking about his inspiring new book, Solving The Climate Crisis: Frontier Reports From The Race To Save The Earth.

Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice. Read transcripts and subscribe at the Writer’s Voice Substack.

Love Writer’s Voice? Please rate us on your podcast app. It really helps to get the word out about our show.

Key words: climate change, climate crisis, global warming, John Berger, podcast, book recommendations, author interview, book podcast, book show, writer’s voice, Francesca Rheannon,

Oil Deals Over Climate: Controversy Surrounds Annual UN Climate Talks in Dubai

The annual UN Climate talks are taking place in the petro-state, the United Arab Republics. It is the largest such Conference of Parties, or COP, so far.

But, forgive the cynicism, it’s also likely to be the most corrupt. As they say, fish rots from the head and the head of this COP, its president, is Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil.

According to the BBC, The UAE plans to use its role as the host of the UN climate talks in Dubai as a chance to strike oil and gas deals with other countries—deals that would blow right through our fast depleting global carbon budget. (That’s the amount we can still emit before passing the point of no return on climate.) Leaked briefing documents revealed the plans for making the deals, but the UAE is denying the report.

Climate Hopes in the Shadow of Scandal: Finding Inspiration in John Berger’s Book

The annual COPs seem to be where climate hopes go to die. But John Berger’s book, Solving The Climate Crisis, makes clear that there is still ample room for hope.

A practical roadmap for effective climate action, his book is full of inspiring advances in clean power, energy efficiency, and other means of climate protection that will create millions of new jobs and substantial economic benefits for all of us.

About the Author

John J. Berger is an environmental science and policy specialist, prize-winning author, and journalist. He is the author of eleven books on energy and environmental issues.

Read An Excerpt from Solving The Climate Crisis

Read The Interview Transcript

Podcast

Scott Chaskey, SOIL & SPIRIT – Ravinder Bhogal, COMFORT & JOY

We talk with poet, farmer and author Scott Chaskey about his new book, Soil and Spirit: Cultivation and Kinship In The Web of Life. It’s about poetry, soil, farming and community.

Then, Chef Ravinder Bhogal introduces us to the comfort and joy of immigrant food. Her book is Comfort and Joy: Irresistible Pleasures from a Vegetarian Kitchen.


Writers Voice— in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004.

Find us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon, on Instagram and Threads @WritersVoicePodcast or find us on X/Twitter @WritersVoice. Read transcripts and subscribe at the Writer’s Voice Substack.

Love Writer’s Voice? Please rate us on your podcast app. It really helps to get the word out about our show.


Farmer-Poet Scott Chaskey

As a farmer with decades spent working in fields, Scott Chaskey has been shaped by daily attention to the earth. A leader in the international Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, he has combined a longstanding commitment to food sovereignty and organic farming with a belief that attention to the soil and the life, microbial and otherwise that inhabit it offers valuable lessons for building healthy human communities.

We last spoke with him in 2014 about his book, Seedtime. Now Chaskey’s come out with a collection of essays, wherein he explores the evolution of his perspective, both as a farmer and as a poet. The reader travels with him on a journey accompanied by his beautiful poetry as he shares the people and projects that have inspired him.


Food, Community, Celebration

The holiday season has begun, a time for celebrating food, family and community. While meat-based dishes are traditional, more people are deciding to go lightly on the planet and their own health with vegetarian fare.

But too often, giving up meat and poultry is tied to a narratives of sacrifice. Award-winning chef Ravinder Bhogal knows better. In her new cookbook, Comfort and Joy, she reclaims vegan and vegetarian cooking in all its abundance.

Ravinder Bhogal is a food journalist, chef and restauraneur of the London restaurant, Jikoni.


Marge Bruchac Sings The Green Corn Song

In honor of the indigenous people who were here long before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, we hear Abenaki writer, scholar and musician Marge Bruchac singing The Green Corn Song. Listen to our full conversation with Marge Bruchac here.