Javier Zamora on Solito

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“Everything happens fast. Handcuffs on Chino. Uniforms do the same to the others who didn’t run fast enough.” In this video, Javier Zamora speaks with Today Show’s Jenna Bush about his three-thousand-mile journey alone as a nine-year-old from El Salvador to the United States which he recounts in his memoir, Solito (Hogarth, 2022).

Peter Straub on Character and Story

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“There’s something in people that is naturally story-like. You’re taking all this unformed, chaotic stuff and making sense of it.” Award-winning novelist and poet Peter Straub speaks about creating characters and his love of writing horror stories in this 2012 Open Road Media interview. Straub, who received the 2008 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award for his generosity to the literary community, died at the age of seventy-nine on September 4, 2022.

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A Conversation With Ariel Levy

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“The best writing advice I ever got was, don’t give up and you can be a writer, if you work really hard and don’t stop writing.” In this Audible interview, New Yorker staff writer and author Ariel Levy speaks about finding her voice, writing about women’s lives, her experience with maternal grief, and her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply (Random House, 2017).

Seamus Heaney on Human Chain

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“Now the oil-fired heating boiler comes to life / Abruptly, drowsily, like the timed collapse / Of a sawn-down tree, I imagine them.” In this 2011 PBS NewsHour video, the late Seamus Heaney reads from and speaks about his final collection, Human Chain (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010). The Nobel Prize–winning poet died at the age of seventy-four on August 30, 2013.

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Jason Reynolds on Friendship and Storytelling

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“To me, reading becomes a lot more palatable if young people realize that the stories, the books that exist within them are as valuable as the books that exist on the outside of them.” In this CBS Sunday Morning interview, Jane Pauley speaks to Jason Reynolds, award-winning author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, about lifting up children through storytelling, his journey as a writer, and the importance of friendship.

The Graham Norton Book Club With Elif Batuman

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“I think the books that I wish I’d written are all super personal books where the person manages to metabolize their personal experience into something more universal,” says Elif Batuman in this interview for The Graham Norton Book Club podcast about first books read, books to be jealous of, and books to recommend. A Q&A with Batuman by Porochista Khakpour is featured in the May/June issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Jamaica Kincaid on Early Reading

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“My mother thought that if she taught me to read, I would become interested to read my books and leave her alone,” says Jamaica Kincaid about her experience reading as a child and how it influenced her as a writer in this interview from the 2021 Louisiana Literature Festival at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark.

Rita Dove on Playlist for the Apocalypse

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“I still believe that we listen more closely to a whisper than to a shout.” In this PBS NewsHour interview with Jeffrey Brown, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Rita Dove speaks about history, rage, the power of poetry, and her latest collection, Playlist for the Apocalypse (Norton, 2021).

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