All posts by Francesca Rheannon

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.


Jay Wertz, THE WORLD TURNS TO WAR & Susan Abulhawa, The Blue Between Sky and Water

Jay Wertz tells us about his pictorial book about World War II, The World Turns To War.

Then, in the wake of last week’s events in Gaza, we re-air our 2015 interview with Susan Abulhawa about her novel The Blue Between Sky and Water. It’s the story of one Palestinian family from the day of the Naqba, or expulsion from Israel, in 1948 to today. Continue reading


Lauren Markham, The Far Away Brothers & Others on Immigration

Lauren Markham talks about The Far Away Brothers (Crown 2017), her spellbinding story of two young migrants from El Salvador and the life they are making in America. Then, we hear poet Eduardo Corral read his poem, In Colorado, My Father Scoured and Stacked Dishes. And finally, we talk with singer-songwriter Don Arbor about his welcome song to immigrants Everyone Comes From Somewhere. Continue reading


Chloe Benjamin, The Immortalists, Matt Haig, How To Stop Time, & Vandana Shiva, Creative Civil Disobedience

We talk with Chloe Benjamin about her bestselling novel, The Immortalists. (Penguin Random House.) It’s about four siblings who, in childhood, learn the dates of their death. Or do they? Then, could there be people among us whose lifespan is nearly a millennium? Matt Haig talks about his latest novel, How To Stop Time (Penguin Random House.) And finally, we talk with the great environmental philosopher and advocate Vandana Shiva. A new book of interviews with her, Creative Civil Disobedience, is out from Actes Sud.

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Web Extras


Vandana Shiva is a force of nature — and a force for nature. Winner of the alternative Nobel Prize, the Right Livelihood Award, Shiva has been at the forefront of the food sovereignty movement; Her greatest fights have been against GMOs and the patenting of seeds that have bankrupted small farmers throughout the world. As Vandana Shiva says, “Life is not an invention.” Continue reading



We talk with poet Kathryn Levy about her latest poetry volume Reports (New Rivers Press, 2013). Then we hear an extended excerpt from my 2008 interview with Mark Eleveld about the anthology and CD set he edited, The Spoken Word Revolution Redux (Sourcebooks Press., 2007.) Continue reading


Menno Schilthuizen, DARWIN COMES TO TOWN & George Kourounis, ANGRY PLANET

We talk with evolutionary biologist Menno Schilthuizen about his book Darwin Comes To Town (Picador Press 2018).

Then, adventurer and documentarian George Kourounis travels the planet to witness the impact of climate change. He tells us about the revival of his TV series Angry Planet (KCET and LINK TV.) Continue reading


Mark Hertsgaard, How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe & Philip Schultz, LUXURY

April is Poetry Month! We talk with poet Philip Schultz about his latest poetry collection, Luxury.

Then, investigative journalist Mark Hertsgaard tells us about the explosive new report he co-wrote with Mark Dowie, How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe.”

Finally, poet Kathryn Levy reads from her latest collection, Reports. (We’ll air our full interview with her in two weeks.)

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Ronen Bergman, RISE AND KILL FIRST & Norman Finkelstein GAZA

We talk about Israel’s long and secret history of assassination with Ronen Bergman. His book is Rise and Kill First (Random Penguin House, 2018.) Then, Norman Finkelstein tells us about the devastating impact of Israeli policy on the civilian population of Gaza. His book is Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom. Continue reading


Sarah Zaske, ACHTUNG BABY & Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, THE DEEPEST WELL

We talk with Sarah Zaske about what the Germans can teach us about raising kids. Her book is Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children.

Then, what’s the impact of adverse childhood experiences on health across the lifetime? Dr. Nadine Burke-Harris discusses her book The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity.

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Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, LOADED & Gregg Levine on Fukushima Daichi Radiation

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz tells us about her new book,  Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.

Then we talk with journalist Gregg Levine about his special investigation for The Nation Magazine into the deaths and illnesses afflicting US sailors exposed to radiation from the Fukushima Daichi meltdown. It’s titled “Seven Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court.”

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Web Extras

Gregg Levine, “7 Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court”

NOAA map showing ocean radiation from Fukushima

Sunday, March 11, marked the seventh anniversary of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami — seven years for a group of US Navy sailors to get sick and some to die as a result of their exposure to radiation coming from the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant that was devastated by the tsunami. They were part of a rescue mission to that plant in the days following the tsunami.

Journalist Gregg Levine has written an investigative piece for the Nation Magazine  titled “7 Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court.”  Writer’s Voice host Francesca Rheannon spoke with Levine on March 12, 2018.


Francis Moore Lappé & Adam Eichen, Daring Democracy

Francis Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen of the Small Planet Institute talk about their new book, Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want. Then Adam Eichen is joined by Rabbi Michael Pollack to talk about a democracy initiative going on right now in Pennsylvania, the March on Harrisburg. Continue reading


Carey Gillam, WHITEWASH & Philip Ackerman-Leist, A PRECAUTIONARY TALE

Carey Gillam talks about her book Whitewash: The Story of a Weedkiller, Cancer and the Corruption of Science. We also talk with Philip Ackerman-Leist about his remarkable story of a town that organized and won the right to be pesticide-free. It’s called A Precautionary Tale: How One Small Town Banned Pesticides, Preserved Its Food Heritage, and Inspired a Movement. Continue reading


Tara Whitsitt, Fermentation on Wheels & Katherine Harvey, The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook.

Tara Whitsitt talks about her book Fermentation on Wheels. It’s the story –with recipes — of how she’s been spreading the word about the wonders of fermented foods by traveling around the country on a bus.

Then we re-air our interview with Katherine Harvey about her book, The Bare Bones Broth Cookbook. Continue reading