A True Romeo and Juliet Story in Hitler’s Paris: STARCROSSED. Also, Margaret Renkl, THE COMFORT OF CROWS

We talk with Simon Worrall and Heather Dune-Macadam. About the fascinating and tragic story of a young Jewish artist in Nazi-occupied Paris. Their book is STAR CROSSED: A True Romeo and Juliet Story in Hitler’s Paris.

Then, New York Times columnist and author Margaret Renkl tells us about her acclaimed new book THE COMFORT OF CROWS: A Backyard Year.

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

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(Note: This week’s and last week’s show commemorate the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the first major pogrom against Germany’s Jews, which happened November 9 and 10, 1938.)

Paris, 1940

In Nazi-occupied Paris, pursuing art, culture, and jazz becomes an act of defiance for patriotic Parisians. Forbidden love blossoms between Annette Zelman, a spirited Jewish student at the Academy of Beaux-Arts, and the poet Jean Jausion. But escalating restrictions on the Jewish community lead the young lovers down divergent and tragic paths.

Literary couple Heather Dune-Macadam and Simon Worrall used a treasure-trove of personal letters to uncover the story behind Starcrossed. Beyond the lovers at the heart of the tale, they paint a fascinating portrait of wartime Paris and its lively scene of intellectual resistance to Nazi rule.

About the Authors

Heather Dune is the author of the award-winning book, 999: The Extra­or­di­nary Young Women of the First Offi­cial Jew­ish Trans­port to Auschwitz. Simon Worrall is the author of several books, including The Poet and the Murderer: A True Story of Verse, Violence and the Art of Forgery.

Margaret Renkl’s Backyard Year

The leaves are falling in ever greater numbers as Fall marches into Winter. And as they do, the question arises, what to do with them?

My guest, New York Times columnist and author Margaret Renkl has a simple solution: do nothing. A messy yard is great habitat for our endangered wildlife.

Her new book The Comfort of Crows is a a literary devotional: fifty-two chapters that follow the creatures and plants in her backyard over the course of a year. Beautifully written, it reminds us to pay attention to the fragile and wondrous life around us. By protecting it, we enrich our own lives immeasurably.

About the Author

Margaret Renkl is the author of Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss and Graceland, At Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache From the American South. She is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, where her essays appear weekly.

About Francesca Rheannon

Francesca Rheannon is an award-winning independent radio producer. In addition to hosting Writer's Voice, she's a freelance reporter for National Public Radio and its affiliates. Recipient of the prestigious Nancy Dickerson Whitehead Award for reporting on substance abuse issues for her news series, VOICES OF HIV, produced for 88.5 WFCR public radio in western Massachusetts. She is also finishing a book on Provence (PROVINCE OF THE HEART) and working on a memoir of her father, THE ARGONAUTS.