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Why We Write
30 minutes | 15 days ago
Coming of age during the Vietnam War on 'Sybelia Drive'
Karin Cecile Davidson talks about her debut Sybelia Drive, a coming of age novel told from multiple perspectives and set in Florida during the turbulent Vietnam Era. At its heart, the book is about friendship, loss, grief, and hope.In this episode, Karin talks about turning short stories into a novel, her ties to the Gulf Coast, and the research she did to properly honor those who fought in the Vietnam war.Find the transcript for this episode, links mentioned and more on the episode page.
29 minutes | a month ago
Children's book author and illustrator Julia Denos is 'Starcrossed'
Julia Denos's new book Starcrossed features two socially distanced friends. One lives on earth, one in the stars. Julia, talks about the origins of the story, mindfulness for children, painting, and why we need new creators. Lesley Assistant Director for Social Media Emily Earle conducts the interview. About the guestJulia Denos is an author and illustrator of books for children. Sometimes she writes the books, sometimes she illustrates them, and sometimes she does both. Julia's books include Starcrossed, Here and Now, Swatch and Windows. She is a graduate of the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley (now the Lesley University College of Art and Design). You can find Julia on Instagram at @juliadenos. Pro tip: Check out her Instastories!
50 minutes | a month ago
Debut poet Jennifer LeBlanc on myth and mysteries
Jennifer LeBlanc speaks about her debut book Descent, which employs imagination and myth to create deeply immersive poems.Jennifer is interviewed by former Boston Poet Laureate and Lesley University Professor Danielle Legros Georges.For more information, visit our episode page.
35 minutes | 2 months ago
'Teaching While Black': a poet explores racism in the classroom
Writing with unflinching honesty, Dr. Matthew E. Henry's debut poetry collection, "Teaching While Black," confronts racism in the classroom. Read our profile of Dr. HenryDr. Matthew E. Henry's websiteWhy We Write homepage
26 minutes | 2 months ago
Nigerian-American author debuts novel in verse
Candice Iloh draws from her own upbringing for "Every Body Looking," her debut YA novel written in verse. The story, which has been longlisted for the 2020 National Book Awards, follows Ada, a Nigerian-American teen struggling with her sexuality, her father's faith, and finding her place in college.Candice Iloh's websitePick up "Every Body Looking"The 2020 National Book Awards Longlist: Young People’s LiteratureFind all our episodes, show notes, and transcripts.
30 minutes | 6 months ago
Celebrating 30 Years of Commonthought Magazine
We wrap up our second season with a reflection on Lesley University's three-decades old literary magazine.Check out the full archives of Commonthought Magazine.For more information on our guests, Professor Anne Pluto and Senior Lecturer Chris Clark, visit our episode page.
29 minutes | 6 months ago
'For Black Girls Only' explores transracial adoption, mental health & growing up
Mariama Lockington's debut middle grade novel, For Black Girls Like Me, incorporates poetry and prose into a story about a transracial adoptee who deals with racism, mental health and growing up.Mariama talks about her own experiences growing up black with white parents, how her educational experience formed her book, and the 10-year process of writing and rewriting her novel.For more information on Mariama, the podcast and our other episodes, visit our podcast page.
30 minutes | 7 months ago
Sit Down and Write
What's the hardest part about writing? Sitting down and doing it. Today's guests, Emily Lee and Cassie Stossel are recent MFA grads and the founders of the newsletter Sit Down and Write, in which published authors share their writing habits and talk about their new books.In this episode, we talk about the effect that the coronavirus is having on the writing process and for authors with new books coming out, as well as Emily and Cassie's favorite writing tips.Sign up for Sit Down and Write (it's free!)For more information, visit our episode page.
77 minutes | 7 months ago
Writing workshop with Jason Reynolds
Best-selling young adult author Jason Reynolds dissects some of his favorite passages to uncover the keys to writing a powerful narrative.Works discussed in this episode:Long Way Down by Jason ReynoldsLook Both Ways by Jason ReynoldsStamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. KendiBeloved by Toni MorrisonNickel Boys by Colson WhiteheadI saw Emmett Till this week at the grocery store by Eve L. EwingWhen You Learn the Alphabet by Kendra AllenGirl by Jamaica KincaidFences (2016) [film]Black Enough by Jason ReynoldsRead more about Jason Reynolds, listen to our interview with him and more on our episode page.
44 minutes | 9 months ago
'My City of Dreams' explores a family torn apart by the Holocaust
In her debut, physician and author Lisa Gruenberg writes a lyrical memoir about her family, pieced together from her father's letters, research, and reconstructing the lost histories of a family torn apart by the Holocaust.Learn more about Gruenberg, Lesley University's low-residency creative writing program and our other episodes at lesley.edu/podcast.
59 minutes | 9 months ago
Writing Master Class: A.J. Verdelle on writing scenes
"There's no willy-nilly in writing," says acclaimed author A.J. Verdelle (The Good Negress) and that means mastering scenes. In this workshop, held at Lesley University, A.J. talks about what goes into writing scene for all genres and why it's a necessary skill for any aspiring author.Find the story arc and books mentioned in this episode on our podcast page.
40 minutes | a year ago
A Syrian kid comes to Ohio in Jasmine Warga's 'Other Words for Home'
Jasmine Warga's first middle grade novel, "Other Words for Home," is making tons of 2019 book lists and for good reason. The timely, emotional and hopeful novel in verse follows a Syrian sixth grader as she adjusts to her new home in Cincinnati even as she experiences uncertainty and fear.Visit our episode page for more information on Jasmine.
48 minutes | a year ago
The trials, tribulations and trauma of dating – with a dash of Michael Bublé
Note: This episode discusses sexual abuse.Tracy Strauss's debut memoir, "I Just Haven't Met You Yet," explores her process of healing as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and the pursuit of love in the 21st century. A graduate of Lesley University's MFA in Creative Writing program, Tracy has written extensively on love and dating and her essays have been published in Glamour, New York Magazine, Oprah Magazine, The Millions, Ms. Magazine, The Huffington Post, Salon, Publishers Weekly, Ploughshares, The Rumpus, and other publications."I Just Haven't Met You Yet" was named a hardcover bestseller by Harvard Bookstore and Diesel Bookstore, an Audio File Magazine 2019 Earphones Award Winner, and was selected for Books on the T.For more information on Tracy, visit our episode page.
41 minutes | a year ago
Funny, fantastic and weird books with Laurie Foos
Laurie Foos is the author of seven novels and novellas. In her own words, Laurie's books “push the limits of reality, to make things seem absurd and grotesque in order for the reader to see things in a new way.” For example, in Ex Utero a woman loses her uterus in a shopping mall. In The Blue Girl, the lives of three sets of mothers and daughters are overshadowed by the appearance of a blue girl, to whom the mothers feed moon pies in secret.Her work has been categorized as fabulist and magical realism while addressing issues of family, suburban malaise, and the role of women. She's also delving into realistic fiction with Toast, a novella about a child with autism and his sister, insipred by her own family.Laurie teaches in the Lesley University MFA in Creative Writing program and speaks with Georgia Sparling in this interview.Learn more about this podcast and our creative writing program on our episode page.
41 minutes | a year ago
Demon fighting teens and musical theater with Michelle Knudsen
Michelle Knudsen is the author of more than 45 books for young readers, ranging from children’s picture books to young adult novels. She also teaches in the Lesley University MFA in Creative Writing program and is a freelance children’s book editor and writing coach. Her latest novel, published in August, is the completion of Evil Librarian series, Revenge of the Evil Librarian. In this episode, Why We Write producer Georgia Sparling talks with Michelle about how she got into the publishing world, creating a demon world, and more! Learn more about Michelle and the Why We Write podcast here.
41 minutes | a year ago
Singapore's 'Sarong Party Girls' with Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan
Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is a New York-based journalist and author of Sarong Party Girls (William Morrow, 2016) as well as A Tiger In The Kitchen: A Memoir of Food & Family (Hyperion, 2011). She was a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, In Style magazine and the Baltimore Sun. Her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Washington Post, Bon Appetit, among other places. In this episode, she talks about the glitzy and morally complicated world of Singapore's Sarong Party Girls as well as her career in journalism and how she's learned to appreciate her culture. This episode was recorded at Lesley University during Cheryl's guest author visit for the 2019 summer MFA in Creative Writing residency. Faculty and fellow author Tony Eprile speaks with Cheryl. For more information, visit our episode page.
54 minutes | a year ago
Caribbean mermaids and evil spirits with 'Jumbies' author Tracey Baptiste
Tracey Baptiste concludes her popular 'Jumbies' series, talks about diversity in publishing, and discusses her New York Times opinion on mermaids with Lesley University Professor and poet Danielle Legros Georges.Learn more about Tracey, Danielle, and our low-residency creative writing program at lesley.edu/podcast, where we've also got a link to her NYT piece, Mermaids Have Always Been Black.
36 minutes | a year ago
The African-American ice skater who broke racial barriers
A story about the legendary, but little-known African-American ice skater Mabel Fairbanks is a natural debut for professional skater turned author Rose Viña.Her new picture book, Ice Breaker: How Mabel Fairbanks Changed Figure Skating, tells the story of the first African-American woman inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame. Born in 1915, Fairbanks skated professionally despite racism that prevented her from entering competitions. She went on to champion diversity in ice skating, coaching the likes of Kristi Yamaguchi and Scott Hamilton.Learn more about Rose Viña, see a video of her skating, and more on our episode page.
33 minutes | a year ago
A graphic memoir explores infertility with Sheila Alexander
Sheila Alexander lives in Massachusetts with her husband, son, dog, and parrot. She holds a master’s degree in education and a minor in fine art from Lesley University. By day, she works as a teacher, where she shares her love of comic books with her students. She believes that books have the power to change people’s lives, so she wrote her first book, IF: A Memoir of Infertility, in hopes that it will help other people going through infertility treatment. In this interview, Sheila sits down with Tim Finn, a professor at the Lesley College of Art and Design and owner of Hub Comics in Somerville, Massachusetts. Check out sketchs from Sheila's journal-turned-book on the episode page.
41 minutes | a year ago
The sound of 'Silence' with Jane Brox
Jane Brox’s fifth book, Silence, was published in January 2019 and explores the nuances of quiet - both forced and voluntary. Her previous book, Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light, was named one of the top ten nonfiction books of 2010 by Time magazine. She is also the author of Clearing Land: Legacies of the American Farm; Five Thousand Days Like This One, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction; and Here and Nowhere Else, which won the L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award. She has received the New England Book Award for nonfiction, and her essays have appeared in many anthologies including Best American Essays, The Norton Book of Nature Writing, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology. She is currently on the faculty of Lesley University’s low-residency MFA Program. In this interview, she speaks with Georgia Sparling. Find essays by Jane and more information on our episode page.
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