Writer’s Voice — in depth conversation with writers of all genres, on the air since 2004. Rate us on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts!
Like us on Facebook at Writers Voice with Francesca Rheannon or find us on twitter @WritersVoice.
2016 is passing into history. The New Year is just around the corner. And it’s time for a year-end review. In this week’s show, we play excerpts from some of our Top Ten of 2016. Find links to the entire interviews below.
Then, the election is finally over, with a shocking result that few in pollsters or pundits foresaw. But the signs were there for those unburdened by the blinders of conventional wisdom to see. We re-air our interview with one of them, cartoonist Ted Rall, about his graphic biography of Donald Trump, first broadcast in August. Continue reading →
Ted Rall talks about his new book, Trump. Then, new revelations indicate serious conflicts of interest between Hilary’s State Department and the Clinton Foundation. In light of renewed scrutiny of the foundation, we talk with investigative reporter Ken Silverstein about his 2015 article for Harper’s Magazine, “Shaky Foundations.”Continue reading →
The great travel writer Paul Theroux talks about his latest book, Deep South. It recounts his travels through the back roads of the rural South, talking with people both ordinary and extraordinary about their lives and their communities.
Then political cartoonist Ted Rall talks about his new political biography, Bernie. It examines Bernie Sanders as an agent for change working within the political system. Continue reading →
We feature the work of two political cartoonists who have come out with graphic biographies: Ted Rall talks about his new graphic bio of Edward Snowden, Snowden. And then British cartoonist Kate Evans talks about hernew graphic biography of the revolutionary leader, Rosa Luxemburg, Red Rosa. Continue reading →
Author Suki Kim talks about her gripping story of life in North Korea, WITHOUT YOU, THERE IS NO US. She went undercover in the DPRK to bring a more humanized view of North Koreans to the West. Also, political cartoonist Ted Rall comments on the killings at Charlie Hebdo.
The Korean War of 1950 to 1953 is a wound that has marked nearly every Korean family with tragedy and loss. South Korean born writer Suki Kim’s family is no exception. Her 17 year old uncle disappeared at the beginning of the war, probably taken captive by what was to become North Korea.
That country is a pariah among nations, the butt of jokes and Hollywood lampoons like the movie The Interview. Its people are sealed behind impenetrable walls of tyranny and censorship.
When we think of the North Korean people, we picture them as a faceless mass, starving from famine or mindlessly hailing their Great Leader in brainwashed unison. Suki Kim wants to change that notion. She wants us to see the people inside the faceless mass.
Kim went to North Korea to find out for herself what life is like for the North Koreans — even though she knew she could only have access to a tiny slice of that society. She went undercover and got a job teaching English to the sons of the North Korean elite.
Her every move was watched — not just by her North Korean minders, but also by her evangelical Christian colleagues who ran the school where she taught.
But despite the strict controls, Suki Kim was able to make a profound human connection to her students — young men who, after all, were not so different from teenage boys anywhere. Her wonderful book Without You,There Is No Us humanizes them and, in the process, invites her readers to deepen our own humanity.
In addition to Without You,There Is No Us, Suki Kim is the author of a novel, The Interpreter.
The killing, in Paris, of the editor, several cartoonists and other staff of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo has prompted a world wide reaction of horror and marshaled a huge response of support for the publication in the name of press freedom.
Francesca caught up with political cartoonist Ted Rall the day after the massacre and asked him about his take on the controversy. Rall wrote a post for the LA Times stating: “Political cartooning may not pay well, or often at all, and media elites can ignore it all they want. But it matters. Almost enough to die for.”
Eric Laursen talks about the war on social security. His book is THE PEOPLE’S PENSION. [AK Press, 2012] And Greg Palast counts up nine ways Republicans are suppressing the vote — and why it matters. His book is BILLIONAIRES AND BALLOT BANDITS.
We hear clips from five of the top ten shows of 2011, including novelists Tahmima Anam, and Teju Cole, journalist James Kaplan, memoirist Susan Rosenberg and marine ecologist Carl Safina. We also tell you about five other show episodes that made the list.
Cartoonist and author Ted Rall talks about his book, THE ANTI-AMERICAN MANIFESTO. It’s about the need for a new American revolution. Then poet Martin Espada reads a poem about the nonviolent people’s rebellion in Mexico, called “Sing Zapatista.”
Host Francesca Rheannon talks with comix master Art Spiegelman. When Spiegelman’s [amazon-product text=”Maus I: A Survivors Tale: My Father Bleeds History” type=”text”]0394747232[/amazon-product] was published in 1986, (followed by [amazon-product text=”Maus II: A Survivors Tale: And Here My Troubles Began” type=”text”]0679729771[/amazon-product] in 1991), it exploded notions about the limited role of comix as art and literature.
Winning a special Pulitzer Prize in 1992–the only comic book ever to do so–Maus is a memoir in graphic form of Spiegelman’s father’s experiences in Auschwitz and the impact that had on the artist’s own childhood growing up in New York City. His mother was also a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. In 1968, she committed suicide, soon after Spiegelman himself was released from a mental hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown.
Maus was prefigured in an earlier work, Prisoner on the Hell Planet and in 1978 Spiegelman included that and other works in a collection of his underground comix called [amazon-product text=”Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!” type=”text”]0375423958[/amazon-product]. Innovative and drawn in a variety of styles in large format–the book sank like a stone. But now Spiegelman has “re-birthed it”, as he told me, with a new 20 page introduction and an afterword. We talk to him about BREAKDOWNS and breaking conventions in the comix.
Also, investigative journalist Greg Palast talks about the new comic book he produced with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., [amazon-product text=”STEAL BACK YOUR VOTE!” type=”text”]061525781X[/amazon-product]. With illustrations by Ted Rall and other artists, the book is about the threat of massive voter suppression in the upcoming election and how to counter it. [Note: the audio to this segment has been removed.]