We're working on a new version of PRX. Want a sneak peek?

New Letters on the Air

GroupAccount image

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

Piece image
When Sinead Morrissey won the 2013 T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize for her fifth book, PARALLAX, her work was then published in the U.S. pulling from all f...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Mar 24, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, considered one of the country's leading poets writing all in Irish, has won numerous awards for her books of poetry and essays...

  • Added: Mar 16, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
Caption: Diane Glancy
Writers Diane Glancy and Linda Rodriguez discuss co-editing the anthology THE WORLD IS ONE PLACE: NATIVE AMERICAN POETS VISIT THE MIDDLE EAST. Glan...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Mar 14, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
Black History Month concludes with the second half of our conversation with former California Poet Laureate Al Young. He shares more from his book ...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Mar 07, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
We continue Black History Month with the first part of our conversation with Al Young. The Former California Poet Laureate has penned 25 books and ...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Feb 24, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
We continue Black History Month with Phyllis Becker. Coordinator of the Riverfront Reading Series in Kansas City, her own publications include the ...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Feb 16, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
As we approach the Academy Awards, there’s lots of buzz about the film, FENCES. The screenplay is written by the late August Wilson, adapted from ...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Feb 09, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
Poet Dan Jaffe is the guest co-editor of the most recent issue of NEW LETTERS magazine that focuses on jazz. Jaffe, who has always combined his poe...

Bought by KFCF FM and WNJR


  • Added: Feb 03, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
Irish poet Anne Marie Fyfe explores parallels in her poetry with work of the renowned William Butler Yeats for the "Mapping Yeats Symposium" at the...

Bought by WMUU-LP and WNJR


  • Added: Jan 26, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
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: Jan 19, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
Alice Friman reads from her most recent of her six poetry collections THE VIEW FROM SATURN, VINCULUM, and THE BOOK OF THE ROTTEN DAUGHTER. She talk...

Bought by WNJR, WMUU-LP, and WNJR


  • Added: Jan 11, 2017
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 3
Piece image
For more inspiration to carry us into the new year, we go "Back to the Writing Well," this time to hear from writers Elizabeth Gaffney, author of t...

Bought by KRZA, WNJR, WNJR, and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Dec 30, 2016
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 4
Piece image
Get a humorous account of the holiday season with Kansas blogger Jen Mann's book SPENDING THE HOLIDAYS WITH PEOPLE I WANT TO PUNCH IN THE THROAT. S...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Dec 29, 2016
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
Piece image
A holiday favorite, this highly anthologized short story is read by the late author Grace Paley. "The Loudest Voice" is an amusing tale about a lit...

  • Added: Dec 21, 2016
  • Length: 29:00
Piece image
This anthology features several Native American poets who have written works influenced by the Middle East. Recorded at the 2016 Association of Wri...

Bought by WMUU-LP, KRZA, and WNJR


  • Added: Dec 15, 2016
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 3
Piece image
Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer, Geraldine Brooks talks about her 2015 book, THE SECRET CHORD, which was recently released in paperback. Thi...

Bought by WNJR and WCAI / WNAN


  • Added: Dec 07, 2016
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
Dramatist Anna Deavere Smith discusses her technique of interviewing real people to use their stories on stage. She talks about the School to Priso...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN and WNJR


  • Added: Dec 01, 2016
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
In this second half of a conversation with Georgia State Poet Laureate Judson Mitcham talks this time about his two novels, THE SWEET EVERLASTING a...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Nov 23, 2016
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1
Caption: Charles Baxter
In this special anthology on fiction writing, we go to the writing well to fill the creative spirit as several authors share their varied technique...

Bought by WNJR and WMUU-LP


  • Added: Nov 16, 2016
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 2
Piece image
Gary Ferguson speaks about wilderness, loss, grief, and the symbolism of loons as reads from his memoir, THE CARRY HOME: LESSONS FROM THE AMERICAN ...

Bought by WNJR


  • Added: Nov 09, 2016
  • Length: 29:00
  • Purchases: 1