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.

Arts & Culture
5:45 am
Tue December 23, 2014

A New Christmas Novel, Inspired By Charles Dickens, Takes Place In Topeka

Thomas Fox Averill's latest novel tells the story of Carol Dickens, whose life is in transition. She turns to cooking Victorian holiday meals, inspired by 'A Christmas Carol.'
Credit 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.  

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Arts & Culture
3:32 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

For Poet Alice Friman, Kansas City Is An Unexpected Mecca

Poet Alice Friman returns to Kansas City for a reading at Rockhurst University for its Midwest Poets Series.
Credit 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. 

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Arts & Culture
6:00 am
Sun August 31, 2014

Poet Gearóid Mac Lochlainn Returns To KC For Irish Fest

Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, a native of Belfast, Ireland, has been described as a 'performance poet.'
Credit 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.

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9:28 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Writer Lois Lowry On 'The Giver'

Author Lois Lowry. Her 1993 children's novel, The Giver, has been turned into a film.
Credit 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.

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7:52 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

Thomas Fox Averill On 'Rode'

Writer, novelist, and Washburn University professor Thomas Fox Averill.
Credit 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.

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5:04 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Poet Tracy K. Smith On Exploring Space And The Abyss

Poet Tracy K. Smith
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.

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5:10 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

A Kansas City Interview With Evan S. Connell

Author Evan S. Connell
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.

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4:25 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Poets Off The Page

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

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2:06 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco

Inauguration poet Richard Blanco
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. 

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New Letters on the Air
10:52 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Poet Tony Barnstone

Poet Tony Barnstone
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.

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New Letters on the Air
12:23 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Fiction Writer Anne Enright

Author Anne Enright

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.

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New Letters on the Air
12:00 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Fiction Writer Jim Shepard

Author Jim Shepard
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.

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