WXXI AM News

literature

Lake Affect Magazine is celebrating 25 years of publication this year. The bi-annual arts and culture magazine highlights the work of Rochester-based poets, writers, photographers, and artists.

Michelle Cardulla is the editor and publisher. She chose to dedicate Lake Affect’s anniversary issue to women – featuring 12 local women who have inspired and impacted the community. We sit down with some of them this hour to hear their stories, and we discuss the state of local publishing with Cardulla. In studio:

  • Michelle Cardulla, editor and publisher of Lake Affect Magazine
  • Jackeline M. Vazquez, firefighter
  • Maria Fischer, field representative for the Public Employees Federation
  • Rosalie M. Jones, artistic director for Daystar: Contemporary Dance-Drama of Indian America
  • Krystle Ellis, director of communications and special events at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Rochester

George Orwell’s dystopian novel, “1984,” was published 70 years ago this week. In a recent piece for the “New Yorker,” Louis Menand writes that unlike other books with similar themes, “1984” has remarkable staying power – “an amazing run as a work of political prophecy” – as it looked at a world 35 years into the future. In 2017, the novel saw a surge in sales and rose to the top of the Amazon best-seller list.

This hour, we sit down with fiction writers and creative writing teachers to discuss why the book’s success continues, and what a dystopian novel written today might predict for a future 35 years from now. Our guests:

Writers & Books has a new executive director. Alison Meyers is a poet and fiction writer who previously led literary non-profit organizations in New York City and Connecticut. She joins Writers & Books in time for the 2019 Ladder Literary Conference, which connects aspiring writers with agents, fellow authors, and publishers.

This hour, Meyers shares her vision for the future of Writers & Books, and we talk to local authors and Ladder participants about Rochester’s role as a literary community, and how literature can shape and respond to politics and societal issues. Our guests:

  • Alison Meyers, executive director of Writers & Books
  • Alex Sanchez, local writer and panelist at the Ladder Literary Conference
  • CaTyra Polland, local writer and panelist at the Ladder Literary Conference
  • Mira Jacob, author and panelist at the Ladder Literary Conference

We explore the literary history of Upstate New York with local blogger Stephen Huff, who visited authors' graves in 35 communities across the state.

He joins us, along with fellow blogger Chris Clemens, to discuss what he learned. In studio:

What should we do when artists misbehave? In other words, when an author, actor, director, or artist does something offensive, acts inappropriately, or steps over the line in some way, should we stop consuming their art? When do we give them a pass?

The founder of Writers & Books, Joe Flaherty, dealt with this question when he was arranging for Philip Roth to visit Rochester. The late writer was considered a misogynist by many readers. But, as Flaherty wrote in an essay on the incident, “you have to separate the writer from his characters.”

What do you think? Should we consume and share the work of Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, Harvey Weinstein, Philip Roth, and others? Should the work of artists in question stand on its own? Where do we draw the line? Our panel discusses those questions. Our guests:

  • Joe Flaherty, founder of Writers & Books
  • Patti Lewis, local actor, director, and teaching artist
  • Jonathan Ntheketha, senior assistant director of student success and outreach in the Multicultural Center for Academic Success at RIT
  • Bob Thompson, director of the Bleier Center for Television and Popular Culture at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University

Two British newspapers expressed their shock over “thin-skinned, liberal foot-stomping millennials” sympathizing with the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The newspapers say these “snowflakes” claiming the monster was a misunderstood victim shows how idealistic today’s students can be. It’s just one example in a list of classic works that the newspapers say millennials are misinterpreting. The other titles include “Animal Farm,” “Lolita,” “Lord of the Flies,” and more.

What do you think? Do you agree with the newspapers that these millennials are just “too touchy?” Or are they right, and do their perceptions serve as a Rorschach test for how they view criminal justice, the #MeToo movement, and more? Our guests discuss these questions and the role of classic literature. In studio:

  • Lester Friedman, retired professor and former chair of the Media and Society Program at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and co-author of “Monstrous Progeny”
  • Karen van Meenen, senior lecturer in the Department of English at RIT, and coordinator of the Rochester Reads and Debut Novel Series programs at Writers & Books
  • Jamie Rudd, AmericaCorps volunteer for the Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence
  • Katherine Varga, playwright and SummerWrite coordinator for Writers & Books

If you've ever wanted to publish a book, an upcoming conference hopes to help you move from concept to print. Writers & Books' upcoming Ladder Literary Conference will focus on four rungs of the publishing ladder: writing, editing, connecting, and publishing.

Our guests help us preview the conference and answer your questions. Our guests:

  • Kyle Semmel, executive director of Writers & Books
  • Tokeya Graham, writer, and professor of English and philosophy at Monroe Community College
  • Mark Costello, attorney in entertainment law with Boylan Code LLP
  • Amy Bishop, literary agent with Dystel, Goderich & Bourret

Halloween is the perfect day to focus on one of the most controversial book series of all time -- and perhaps the most banned. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark turns 35 years old.

The books remain heavily debated, targeted by parents and religious groups, and beloved by many young readers. Why are we drawn to gore and the macabre? Are the stories harmless fun, or do the protesters have a point? Our panel dives in:

  • Chris Fanning, public relations associate for Writers & Books
  • Xandi DiMatteo, teen librarian for the Rochester Public Library, Central
  • Christine Green, literary arts columnist for the Democrat and Chronicle
  • Ethan Green, Scary Stories to Read in the Dark fan; 12 years old

Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. That has set off a debate about whether music lyrics can be literature.

Our guests tangle over the Dylan selection; we also evaluate his work for the best examples of music as literature. And if Dylan can win, who else from his industry? Joni Mitchell? Justin Timberlake? Okay, maybe not Joni Mitchell. Our guests:

  • John Covach, director of the Institute for Popular Music at the University of Rochester
  • James McCorkle, assistant professor of Africana studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges
  • Chad Post, publisher, Open Letter Books
  • Roy Stein, director of the music business program at Nazareth College

Connections: Read Local

Sep 23, 2016

Like the local food movement, Read Local is a program that seeks to get readers to enjoy books grown right in their own back yard. It is a book club and event series, highlighting books published by publishing houses based right here in Rochester. The idea is to read the book, meet the author, and support local businesses along the way. 

We meet author Josefine Klougart, and we discuss a range of issues, including translations and foreign books, the health of publishing, and more. Our guests:

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