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New Letters on the Air

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Listening to New Letters on the Air is like eavesdropping on intimate conversations with favorite writers who reveal secrets about their creative methods, read a few favorite passages, and inspire the listener's imagination.

NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR is a weekly half-hour show that has been entertaining and informing audiences about contemporary writers and literature since 1977. Each week, the program focuses on a writer of poetry, fiction or essays, either in an intimate interview or in a public reading before an audience. Post-produced with narrative and music, NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR gives insight into the creative writing process and the universal stories that writers tell.

Each show is self-contained and undated, except for the occasional holiday or theme related program. 30- and 60-second produced promos are provided weekly on the PRSS promo satellite feeds and on Content Depot. Written promos are posted weekly on the DACS along with the timings and cues. Other distribution methods are available.

Though educational, NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR is not pedantic, and the conversation is often filled with laughter as authors discuss and read from their books. Our archive programs contain many Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, along with recipients of other major literary awards. Recent guests include poets Sherman Alexie, Naomi Shihab Nye, Billy Collins, and Alicia Ostriker; dramatists August Wilson, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Tony Kushner; essayists Meghan Daum, Susan Orlean, and David Sedaris; fiction writers Richard Russo, Jane Smiley, and Ha Jin. The program also features less-familiar but remarkable writers whose work and contributions are equally engaging.

"Most people have a creative streak, whether they're interested in writing or not," says Angela Elam, host of NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR. "I hope by exploring the writer's process and hearing work that captures the essence of our lives, the program will inspire listeners to do something creative in their own way."

Pieces

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NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR pays tribute to the Past American Voice of John Ashbery. The poet, critic, and translator, who died on September 3rd at age ...

  • Added: Sep 13, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
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Guest editor of BEST AMERICAN POETRY 2017, Natasha Trethewey talks about her her first creative non-fiction book, BEYOND KATRINA: A MEDITATION ON T...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN and WNJR


  • Added: Sep 08, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: James Tolan
Olivia Stiffler and the late James Tolan, whose new books were released in summer 2017 after his death in March, discuss their unique mentorship ...

  • Added: Aug 30, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
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NEW LETTERS ON THE AIR features the Past American Voice of Conger Beasley Jr. Pulled from three archive programs in 1990 and 1996, this author of f...

  • Added: Aug 24, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
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Former celebrity journalist Jeannette Walls discusses her hardscrabble childhood which she depicted in her memoir THE GLASS CASTLE, now an August 2...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN, WMUU-LP, and WFIU


  • Added: Aug 18, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 3
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We look back on the life of novelist Kent Haruf (1943-2014). September 2017 marks the inaugural Kent Haruf Literary Celebration in Salida for this ...

Bought by WMUU-LP


  • Added: Aug 10, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Published in various literary magazines,including NEW LETTERS, fiction writer Rachel Hall discusses her first book, HEIRLOOMS, winner of the G.S. S...

Bought by WMUU-LP


  • Added: Aug 03, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Georgia State Poet Laureate Judson Mitcham, whose work will appear in THE BEST AMERICAN POETRTY 2017, is also a gifted fiction writer. In this sho...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Jul 26, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Antonya Nelson is the author of eleven books of fiction. She talks about her most recent books: the novel BOUND which covers growing up in Wichita,...

Bought by WMUU-LP and WNJR


  • Added: Jul 19, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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A National Book Critics Circle Award winner, Rodney Jones reads from and talks about the shaping of his book of selected poetry, SALVATION BLUES: O...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Jul 12, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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While at the Woodneath Library Center, novelist Larry Watson reads from his tenth book, AS GOOD AS GONE, now out in paperback. He reveals how cowbo...

  • Added: Jul 05, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
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In this interview in front of an audience at the Kansas City Public Library, poet, editor, and Guggenheim fellow, Michelle Boisseau discusses her f...

Bought by WMUU-LP


  • Added: Jun 29, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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In the second part of this conversation with poet and "MacArthur genius" Edward Hirsch, he discusses how the sudden death of his son inspired his a...

Bought by WMUU-LP


  • Added: Jun 28, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Novelist Whitney Terrell talks about his third novel, THE GOOD LIEUTENANT, now out in paperback. Terrell was embedded with the military in Iraq, wr...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Jun 14, 2017
  • Length: 30:30
  • Purchases: 1
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The late Gwendolyn Brooks shaped countless writers following her long poetic career. This episode looks back on her life as the first African-Amer...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN, WMUU-LP, and WNJR


  • Added: Jun 02, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 3
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While At Rockhurst University'S 2014 Midwest Poets Series, Former Missouri Poet Laureate William Trowbridge reads poems from his numerous books tha...

Bought by XRAY.fm


  • Added: May 31, 2017
  • Length: 30:30
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Dave Smith
In the other half of this conversation with Dave Smith, the author of more than 20 books of poetry, essays, memoir and fiction, he talks about the ...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: May 24, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Poet and visual artist Bianca Stone talks about her various projects, from her first full length book SOMEONE ELSE'S WEDDING VOWS to her 2016 illus...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: May 18, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
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Diane Williams, a three-time winner of the Pushcart Prize for Fiction is the author of eight books, and the editor of the acclaimed literary journa...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: May 11, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
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Jo McDougall discusses her two recent books of poetry-THE UNDISCOVERED ROOM and IN THE HOME OF THE FAMOUS DEAD:COLLECTED POEMS-which explore variou...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: May 05, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1