Angela Elam

Assistant Teaching Professor/Radio Producer for New Letters on the Air

Angela Elam, producer/host of UMKC's literary radio show New Letters on the Air has worked in public radio since 1988, but she got her start as a reader for Radio Deutsche Welle in Cologne, Germany in 1981.

Elam received a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Georgia in dramatic writing. Immediately upon graduation, she was seduced into public radio at WUGA-FM in Athens, Georgia where she produced literary programs and later served as host and technical producer of the Public Radio News Directors (PRNDI) award-winning local magazine show, Centerlines. She has also produced radio dramas and special features, including some freelance stories for NPR, one of which "Train Whistles or Horns?" won the PRNDI Award for best used of sound in 1994.

She has served as producer and host of New Letters on the Air since 1996, and enjoys using her playwriting skills to shape the dialogue within her interviews.

Ways To Connect

courtesy: Topeka Public Library

As a novelist, Thomas Fox Averill has explored country music, southwestern cuisine, Scotch whisky and the poetry of Robert Burns. 

Averill's fourth novel, A Carol Dickens Christmas, is a Christmas story, set in his hometown of Topeka, Kan. It's filled with recipes, puns, and modern characters inspired by Charles Dickens.  

Lillian Elaine Wilson

Kansas City can be inspiring in surprising ways. A walk in the Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art did the trick for Georgia College’s poet-in-residence, Alice Friman, who reads Thursday evening at Rockhurst University. 

Michael McDonald/MKD Photography Ltd

Belfast bard Gearóid Mac Lochlainn is back in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend to perform at the Irish Fest. Known for his bilingual work with poetry and music, his most recent book and CD is called Criss-Cross Mo Chara

In 2008, after then President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, honored him for his contribution to Irish arts, he talked with New Letters on the Air host, Angela Elam, about his first book and CD called Stream of Tongues.

Writer Lois Lowry On 'The Giver'

Aug 25, 2014
courtesy: NEH

Acclaimed Newbery Award-winning children's author Lois Lowry's book for young people, The Giver, is now a film. 

"The Giver was the first book that I wrote that veered out of the realistic, and tiptoed a bit into fantasy. Some people call it science fiction. I don't like to think of it that way," Lowry tells our New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

Thomas Fox Averill On 'Rode'

Sep 24, 2013
Courtesy Washburn University

Third time’s a charm for Kansas fiction writer, Thomas Fox Averill.   The author of several collections of short stories, it is Averill’s third novel, Rode—a western—that has brought him national acclaim and Washburn University’s selection for their fall 2013 iRead Program.

Tina Chang

Poet Tracy K. Smith, winner of the 2002 Cave Canem Prize for her collection, The Body's Question, reads from her Pulitzer Prize winning work, Life on Mars, at the Fall 2012 Midwest Poets Series.

Janet Fries / Counterpoint

In memory of acclaimed author Evan S. Connell, who passed away on January 10, 2013, New Letters on the Air brings you this 1991 interview by former New Letters on the Air host, Rebekah Presson.

Poets Off The Page

Jan 22, 2013

This edition of New Letters on the Air features very different approaches to intertwining poetry and music, resulting in equally different performances.

Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco

Jan 21, 2013
Nico Tucci / Courtesy Richard Blanco

During the President’s inauguration ceremony on Monday, Richard Blanco delivered a poem written especially for this occasion.  At age 44, he is not only the youngest, but the first Latino and openly gay poet to have this honor. 

Poet Tony Barnstone

Jan 14, 2013
courtesy of Whittier College

Tony Barnstone, son of poet, translator, and scholar Willis Barnstone and visual artist Elli Barnstone, was surrounded by great works of art, literature, and philosophy as a child, and like his sister, Aliki, followed in his father's footsteps.

Winner of the first ever Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction in 2012, Irish author Anne Enright talks about her often darkly humorous approach to writing about love, desire, death, and family.

Michael Lionstar

Acclaimed fiction writer Jim Shepard is the author of six novels and several short story collections, including Like You'd Understand Anyway, winner of the 2008 Story Prize and a National Book Award finalist.