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Great Podversations

Great Podversations features nationally-recognized writers in conversation. These candid discussions invite the listener to learn about literature, politics, history, economics, science, and culture through the voices of compelling authors and experts. NPR’s Robert Siegel introduces each pair of fascinating guests. Great Podversations is produced by the University of Louisville Kentucky Author Forum, and distributed by Louisville Public Media. For more information, please visit kentuckyauthorforum.com

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  • Renée Fleming and Richard Powers
    This conversation features renowned singer Renée Fleming, interviewed by author Richard Powers. They discuss Fleming’s book “Music and Mind: Harnessing the Arts for Health and Wellness” before a live audience at the Kentucky Author Forum. This conversation was recorded on April 8, 2024 at The Kentucky Center in Louisville, Ky. Renée Fleming is one of the most acclaimed singers of our time, performing on the stages of the world’s greatest opera houses and concert halls. She is also a leading advocate for research at the intersection of arts, health, and neuroscience. Her book, “Music and Mind: Harnessing the Arts for Health and Wellness” contains essays from preeminent scientists, therapists, educators, and physicians about the powerful impact of music and the arts on health and the human experience. Richard Powers is the author of 13 novels. His 2019 book, “The Overstory” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.
  • Ann Patchett and Kevin Wilson
    This conversation features best-selling author and book store owner Ann Patchett, interviewed by author and professor Kevin Wilson. They discuss Patchett’s book “Tom Lake” before a live audience at the Kentucky Author Forum. This conversation was recorded on February 12th, 2024 at the Kentucky Center in Louisville. ANN PATCHETT is the author of nine novels, four books of nonfiction and one children’s book. Patchett has been the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a National Humanities Medal, England’s Women’s Prize, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Book Sense Book of the Year, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Her novel “The Dutch House” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. In November, 2011, she opened Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee. She has since become a spokesperson for independent booksellers, championing books and bookstores. KEVIN WILSON is the author of two story collections, and four novels. His book “Nothing to See Here” was a New York Times bestseller and a “Read with Jenna” book club selection. His fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, Southern Review, One Story, A Public Space, and has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2020 and 2021, as well as The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2012. Wilson is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of the South.
  • Stephen Bright and James Forman Jr.
    This conversation features renowned lawyer and Professor of Law at Yale and Georgetown Universities, Stephen Bright, interviewed by Pulitzer Prize-winner and Yale Law Professor James Forman Jr. They discuss Bright’s book, “The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts” before a live audience at the Kentucky Author Forum. This conversation was recorded on November 13th, 2023 at the Kentucky Center in Louisville. Bright is a Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School and a Visiting Professor at Georgetown Law. He has tried capital cases in many states, including four capital cases before the United States Supreme Court. He previously served as president of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta. Subjects of his litigation, teaching and writing include capital punishment, legal representation for the poor, and racial discrimination in the criminal courts. Bright has received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award. Social Justice activist Bryan Stevenson, in the foreword, called Bright’s new book “an urgently needed analysis of our collective failure…” James Forman Jr. is a Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Forman’s scholarship focuses on schools, police, and prisons. Forman’s first book, “Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America", was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction. Forman was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society. He is the son of renowned civil rights leader James Forman.
  • Jill Lepore and Jamie Raskin
    This conversation features best-selling author Jill Lepore and U.S. Congressman Jamie Raskin discussing Lepore’s book, “The Deadline: Essays,” before a live audience at the Kentucky Author Forum. This conversation was recorded on September 11th, 2023 at the Kentucky Center in Louisville. Jill Lepore is a professor of history and of law at Harvard University. She is also a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her many books include the best-selling “These Truths: A History of the United States,” was named one of Time magazine’s top ten non-fiction books of the decade. Lepore’s “The Deadline: Essays” collects forty-six of her essays that offer a prismatic portrait of Americans’ techno-utopianism, frantic fractiousness, and unprecedented yet armed aimlessness. Congressman Jamie Raskin represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District. He serves as the Ranking Member on the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. Raskin also served on the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol. He has authored several books, including the New York Times #1 best-seller, “Unthinkable: Trauma, Truth, and the Trials of American Democracy.”
  • Geraldine Brooks and Jacki Lyden
    This conversation features best-selling author Geraldine Brooks and former NPR journalist Jacki Lyden discussing Brooks’ book, “Horse: A Novel” before a live audience at the Kentucky Author Forum. This conversation was recorded on March 27th, 2023 at the Kentucky Center in Louisville. Geraldine Brooks grew up in Australia and became a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald, and later with The Wall Street Journal. Brooks was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction in 2006 for her novel “March”. Many of her novels and nonfiction books have been New York Times bestsellers. Her first novel, “Year of Wonders”, is an international bestseller. It has been translated into more than 25 languages. In 2016, Brooks was named an Officer in the Order of Australia. Jacki Lyden is an award-winning former NPR host and foreign correspondent of over three decades. She is the author of the bestselling memoir “Daughter of the Queen of Sheba”, which was published in twelve countries. A frequent speaker on the topic of mental health, the American Psychiatric Association named her “Patient Advocate of the Year” in 2021. Lyden is a proud board member of the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center and Writers for Democratic Action, both groups promoting democracy through literature.
  • Maggie Haberman and Laura Coates
    This conversation features author Maggie Haberman and CNN host Laura Coates discussing Haberman’s book, “Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America” before a live audience at the Kentucky Author Forum. This conversation was recorded on January 9th, 2023 at the Kentucky Center in Louisville. New York Times journalist Maggie Haberman, wrote “Confidence Man” in 2022. Ms. Haberman joined The New York Times in 2015 and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on the investigations into Donald Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. She has twice been a member of a team that was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, in 2021 for reporting on the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus, and in 2022 for coverage related to the January 6th riot at the Capitol. Laura Coates is a CNN Host and Senior Legal Analyst who specializes in the intersection of civil rights and criminal prosecution. A former federal prosecutor, she served as Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia, as well as a Trial Attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice during the Bush and Obama administrations. She is the bestselling author of “Just Pursuit: A Black Prosecutor’s Fight for Fairness.”
  • Josh Chin and Evan Osnos
    This conversation features author Josh Chin and New Yorker journalist Evan Osnos discussing both of their books before a live audience at the Kentucky Author Forum on September 29th, 2022 at the Kentucky Center in Louisville. Josh Chin wrote “Surveillance State: Inside China’s Quest to Launch a New Era of Social Control” with fellow Wall Street Journal writer, Liza Lin. He tells the gripping story of how China’s Communist Party is building a new kind of political control: shaping the will of the people through the sophisticated—and often brutal—harnessing of data. For more than a decade, Chin has covered politics and tech in China for The Wall Street Journal. He led an investigative team that won The Gerald Loeb Award for international reporting in 2018 for a series exposing the Chinese government’s pioneering embrace of digital surveillance. He was named a National Fellow at New America in 2020, and is a recipient of the Don Bolles Medal, awarded to investigative journalists who have exhibited courage in standing up against intimidation. Evan Osnos joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2008 and covers politics and foreign affairs. His book “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China'', is based on eight years of living in Beijing. “Age of Ambition'' won the 2014 National Book Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Previously, Osnos worked as Beijing Bureau Chief for the Chicago Tribune, where he was part of a team that won a 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting. He is a CNN contributor and a frequent guest on The Daily Show, Fresh Air, and other programs.
  • Maggie Nelson and Eula Biss
    Author Maggie Nelson discusses her book, On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint, with writer Eula Biss. Maggie Nelson is a writer working in autobiography, art criticism, theory, feminism, history, aesthetic theory, philosophy, scholarship, and poetry. Nelson received a 2016 MacArthur Fellowship, a 2012 Creative Capital Literature Fellowship, a 2011 NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and a 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship in Nonfiction. Other honors include a 2007 Andy Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant. Nelson has written several acclaimed books of poetry and prose, including the National Book Critics Circle Award winner The Argonauts. She currently teaches at the University of Southern California. Eula Biss is the author of four books and has been recognized with a National Book Critics Circle Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library. Biss’ books have been translated into a dozen languages. As a 2023 National Fellow at New America, she is at work on a collection of essays about how private property has shaped our world. She currently teaches nonfiction for the Bennington Writing Seminars.
  • Charles Booker and Eddie Glaude Jr.
    Politician and author Charles Booker discusses his book, “From the Hood to the Holler: A Story of Separate Worlds, Shared Dreams, and the Fight for America’s Future,” with writer and Professor Eddie Glaude. Charles Booker represented the 43rd District in the Kentucky House of Representatives, where he served on the economic development and workforce, judiciary, and natural resources and energy committees. A graduate of the University of Louisville and its Brandeis School of Law, Booker is a Bingham Fellow and a Bloomberg Innovation Delivery Team fellow. He is the founder of the advocacy group Hood to the Holler, which continues the work of his campaign, building bridges between previously siloed communities. Eddie S. Glaude Jr. is the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and Chair of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. He is a former president of the American Academy of Religion. Glaude is the author of several important books including “Democracy in Black: How Race Still Enslaves the American Soul.” Glaude is a columnist for Time magazine and an MSNBC contributor on programs like Morning Joe, and Deadline Whitehouse. He also regularly appears on Meet the Press.
  • James Bridle and Claire Evans
    Artist and author James Bridle discusses their book, Ways of Being: Animals, Plants, Machines: The Search for a Planetary Intelligence with writer and musician Claire Evans. James Bridle is an artist, technologist and philosopher whose artworks have been commissioned by galleries and institutions and exhibited worldwide, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Oslo Architecture Triennale, the Istanbul Design Biennial, and the Design Museum, London. Bridle’s writing has appeared in magazines and newspapers including Wired, The Atlantic, The New Statesman, The Guardian, and the Financial Times. They lecture regularly on radio, at conferences, universities, and events, including South by Southwest, the Global Art Forum, and TED. Claire Evans is a writer and musician exploring ecology, technology, and culture. She is the singer of the Grammy-nominated pop group YACHT, and co-founder of VICE’s imprint for speculative fiction, Terraform. Evans’ 2018 book, Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, has been translated into five languages. Her writing has appeared in VICE, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Eye on Design, among others.