Sunday, February 24, 2008

Immersion and sympathy

I live book by book, deadline by deadine, immersed in worlds imagined and reported. Certain writers are always present in my mind: boon companions, scouts, guides, goads. Enigmas and friends. Joyce Carol Oates is a constant presence. Her books stay with me, deep-swimming sea creatures, luminous and pressing in the dark. The power of her fiction, its risks, and insights; the complexity of her work, the many masks she wears and the consistency and courage of her vision: all inspire and incite me. My fascination is fed by her essays and The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates, 1973 - 1982. And ever since Joyce Carol Oates was invited to participate in Columbia College Chicago's Story Week this March, and ever since I was invited to speak with her onstage on March 17, I've been thinking about how to approach her work. What questions to ask, what subjects to raise. And now I'm thinking of Ms. Oates with great sympathy, having learned of the death of her husband, Raymond Smith. Her anchor.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

A new venue

Open Books will air on the Chicago's NPR station, WBEZ 91.5 and Sunday, February 17, at 9:00 pm central time.

We are thrilled to join WBEZ's Sunday night rotation. This edition of Open Books focuses on African American cartoonists. I had the great pleasure of speaking with Nancy Goldstein, the author of a fantastic, groundbreaking new book, Jackie Ormes: The First African American Woman Cartoonist, and cartoonist and cartoon historian Tim Jackson.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

New interview: "Invisible No More"

The show I wrote about in my last post is now up: "Invisible No More: Voices of Literacy Chicago," the 'new' show in Nonfiction. Please listen. This is a very special edition of Open Books.