Jackie Kay

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“I wrote the poems that I wanted to read and I wrote about the experiences that I wanted to find.” Jackie Kay, Scotland's first black national poet, speaks about her memoir, Red Dust Road (Picador, 2010), which chronicles the search for her birth parents, and what she hopes to share through her poetry.

Juan Gabriel Vásquez

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“It took me a very long time to learn how to write about Colombia.” At the 2015 National Book Festival, Juan Gabriel Vásquez speaks with PBS NewHour’s Jeffrey Brown about his literary influences and journey to write stories about Colombia, where he was born. Vásquez’s fourth novel, Reputations (Riverhead Books, 2016), is featured in Page One in the September/October issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Shaka Senghor

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"Literature played a profound role in turning my life around, but it was also journaling as well, like being able to really write and ask myself those tough questions..." Shaka Senghor, author of the memoir, Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death, and Redemption in an American Prison (Drop a Gem Publishing, 2013), speaks with Jeffrey Brown about how reading and writing helped him to examine his life, and the need for American citizens to understand the prison system.

Holy City

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"Let us gather and be / silent together like stones / glittering in sunlight..." Marjory Wentworth, the poet laureate of the state of South Carolina, reads "Holy City," a poem dedicated to the lives lost at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina one year ago.

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Curtis Sittenfeld

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Curtis Sittenfeld speaks with PBS NewHour's Jeffrey Brown about her latest novel, Eligible (Random House, 2016), a retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice set in twenty-first-century Cincinnati. Sittenfeld is a participant of the Austen Project, in which six contemporary authors have been asked to reimagine Austen's six complete works.

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Ocean Vuong

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"Outside, a soldier spits out / his cigarette as footsteps fill the square like stones / fallen from the sky. May all your Christmases be white / as the traffic guard unstraps his holster." Ocean Vuong shares poems from his debut collection, Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon Press, 2016), and speaks about the oral tradition of his family and his personal ties to the Vietnam War for a series on PBS NewsHour.

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