Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison died last week at the age of 88. Morrison is perhaps best known for her work, “Beloved,” but her work spans six decades and includes novels, children’s books, plays, an opera, and more. As reported by Time Magazine, Morrison was largely ignored as a writer for about a decade in the 1970s, but that changed and she “widened the nation’s literary canon, serving as its conscience through trying times and establishing herself as the keeper of its marginalized histories.” She was honored with the Nobel Prize in Literature, among many other accolades.

This hour, we’re joined by local writers who discuss Morrison’s life and work, and her legacy reflecting and influencing the lives of black Americans. In studio:

  • Leslie C. Youngblood, author of “Love Like Sky”
  • Tokeya C. Graham, English professor, and founder of “We All Write” black women’s writing consortium
  • Lu Highsmith, program director of LuCreations Production, former leader of the Roc Bottom Slam Poetry team, and member of “We All Write” black women’s writing consortium

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

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

If you’ve ever stared at a blank page, wishing that streams of brilliant prose would appear, you’re not alone. Many aspiring and veteran writers view writer’s block as their worst enemy in the creative process. A group of local writers and teachers is hoping to change that. They’ve joined together to offer a retreat aimed at helping female writers become their “wilder, bolder, more natural creative” selves.

Our guests discuss how using inner-child meditation, self-hypnosis, and other creative efforts can help writers can improve their craft, work through hurdles, and more. We have some fun talking about the craft of writing with instructors at the Mother Wolf retreat:

  • Christine Green, freelance literary arts journalist, teaching artist, memoirist, and meditation leader 
  • Nina Alvarez, writer, editor, publisher, teaching artist, energy healer, and founder of Cosmographia Publishing and Dream Your Book author services
  • Jen Years, certified consulting hypnotist, psychic/medium, reiki master teacher, writer, and owner of Mojo Dojo
  • Mary Monroe, musician, concert promoter, writer,  and energy healer
  • Kathy Pottetti, director of the Writers & Books retreat center, Gell: A Finger Lakes Creative Retreat in Naples

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:

Teachers across the country are preparing to talk to students about plagiarism by referencing Melania Trump's speech at last week's Republican National Convention. The Trump campaign says that Melania admires Michelle Obama, and mentioned some of her favorite lines from the First Lady's 2008 speech to one of her speechwriting assistants. Somehow, that entire passage made it into Melania Trump's speech.

We discuss a range of issues related to the plagiarism: how to detect it, how to avoid it, and why it matters. And we discuss the importance of crafting great speeches in the modern age. Our guests:

  • Curt Smith, presidential speech writer, author, and senior lecturer in English at the University of Rochester
  • Evvy Fanning, high school English teacher

Connections: Writing and the Book Industry

Nov 17, 2014

We spend this hour talking about writing. We have published authors and a marketer to discuss the burning questions that you may have about the book industry: What gets published? What sells? What doesn’t? What are publishers looking for? Do I write for myself, or do I write for others? How do I start? Our panel tackles these questions and others:

In this hour, we bring in our writers panel to discuss how good writers seek to become better writers. Our panel, is led by NY Times writer and Newhouse School adjunct professor Eric Grode, along with Andrea Levendusky and Kevin Carr. The three will share their process -- what they read, who they seek out for guidance, and sharing their favorite eggcorns.

It's our first Authors Roundtable. Four successful authors with ties to Rochester and the Finger Lakes will join us. They'll discuss their process: how do they avoid distractions? How do they deal with deadlines? Some use long hand (!) and some use the computer. Some avoid the internet; others prefer to travel away from home altogether. It's our look inside the world of what it takes to produce published fiction. The roundtable includes:
Shawn Goodman
Allie Larkin
Louise Wareham Leonard
Alexi Zentner