WXXI AM News

Writers & Books

Provided

There was never any doubt that the Rochester Music Hall of Fame class of 2020, with five new names to be celebrated at the April induction concert, would belong to The Dady Brothers.

Few musicians here have been so highly regarded, and for as long, as the traditional folk duo. They played coffeehouses and taverns and shared stages with Pete Seeger, Tommy Makem, The Clancy Brothers and Ani DiFranco. Going back to 1979, John and Joe Dady released 11 albums as a duo, and one solo album a piece.

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

Investigative journalist Omar El Akkad has written a remarkable novel, "American War." It's a look that this country in the near future, as it fights a second civil war – one waged over the use of fossil fuels.

The book has been selected by Writers & Books for this year's Rochester Reads program. El Akkad joins us in studio for the hour. Our guests:

  • Omar El Akkad, author of “American War”
  • Karen van Meenen, coordinator of the Rochester Reads and Debut Novel Series programs at 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

Author Reyna Grande says there are voices missing from the conversation about immigration reform -- those of undocumented children. Grande crossed the border into the U.S. from Mexico when she was nine years old. In her new memoir, The Distance Between Us, she writes about the extreme poverty she and her siblings experienced in Mexico, and why a chance at a better life in the U.S. ripped her family apart. It's a true story of trauma, struggle, and hope - one that Grande says she hopes will help change misconceptions about immigrants in the U.S.

The Distance Between Us has been selected by Writers & Books for this year's Rochester Reads program. Grande will be in Rochester for a series of events this week, but first, she joins us on Connections. Our guests:

  • Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us
  • Karen van Meenen, coordinator of the Rochester Reads and Debut Novel Series programs at Writers & Books

The freedom to read is one of the most powerful ideas in human history: it enables us to consider new ideas and information. But that has always made some people in power uncomfortable. Banning books is a tradition that goes back hundreds of years in this country, and it's a practice that still very much alive today.

This is Banned Books Week, and this hour, we look at trends in book banning. Who is doing the banning? Which groups are calling for the bans? What trends have emerged in recent years -- in other words, what kids of themes in books are more likely to be banned? Plus, we want to hear your thoughts on the process of banning books and its effects. Our guests:

  • Joe Flaherty, founding director of Writers & Books
  • Mari Tsuchiya, senior library assistant at the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester
  • Ryan Prendergast, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures at the University of Rochester

In the middle of National Poetry Month, we spend some time with poets and their work. We discuss upcoming events, and we talk about poetry's place in the classroom.

  • Craig Morgan Teicher, author of the collection of poems, The Trembling Answers
  • Banke Awopetu, author of Always Want More, and budding poet
  • Albert Abonado, poet and director of adult programs at Writers & Books

Rochester Reads is Writers & Books annual event, choosing one title for the community to read together. They've selected The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld, a book about a death row in an ancient stone prison. Through the eyes of an inmate who finds escape in books and in re-imagining the life around him is woven a fantastical tale of the people he observes and the world he inhabits.

We talk to Denfeld about the book, and the upcoming events surrounding her visit. Our guests:

  • Rene Denfeld, author of The Enchanted
  • Kyle Semmel, executive director of Writers & Books
  • Karen vanMeenen, director of special projects at Writers & Books

We talk to the two authors selected for this year’s Debut Novel Series at Writers & Books. Garth Greenwell and Hannah Tennant-Moore have both crafted stories around protagonists with self-destructive tendencies, who search for identity through relationships.

We talk to the authors about their craft, how their lives influenced their work, and the challenges of the publishing world. Our guests:

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:

Pages