New Letters On The Air

Sunday, 6-6:30 a.m.

New Letters on the Air is the half-hour radio companion to the literary quarterly magazine New Letters. Each week the program features intimate conversations with contemporary writers who reveal secrets about their creative methods, read a few favorite passages, and inspire the listener's imagination.

Hosted by Angela Elam, the show is part interview and part performance as the featured guest reads from his or her work. This is not just for writers or want-to-be writers. It's really about transforming life into art; hopefully, these writers will inspire others to do something creative in their own way.

You can learn more about the program and the literary magazine at their website.

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.

Evan S. Connell On 'Mr. and Mrs. Bridge'

Jan 11, 2013

  Kansas City native Evan S. Connell died Thursday at the age of 88. His fiction and non-fiction works were wide-ranging, but he was probably best known locally for his two novels, "Mrs. Bridge" and "Mr. Bridge," about a fictional well-to-do Kansas City family.

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.

In honor of the start of her second year as the 16th U.S. Poet Laureate, we present this encore interview with Kay Ryan. Sometimes seen as a poetry outsider, the California poet has spent her life teaching remedial English in Marin County, rather than making her living in the academic world of creative writing.

A Sunday in God-Years, a new collection of poetry by Michelle Boisseau, takes its title from the notion that within geologic time, human history happens in the blink of God's eye.

Kansas playwright James Still hasn't lived in this area in years, but his plays make regular appearances here and throughout the U.S. He has a new one about Abraham Lincoln, opening at the Ford Theatre in D.C. in February for the 200th birthday anniversary; but tonight (Friday, January 30), another play, The Velvet Rut, receives its world premiere right here in Kansas City at the Unicorn Theatre.

Poet Marilyn Kallet reads from her book, One for Each Night: Chanukah Tales and Recipes, that she wrote for families to share in lean times.

You may know John Mark Eberhart from The Kansas City Star, where he's the Book Editor, or as one of the Book Doctors on The Walt Bodine Show. What you may not know is that Eberhart is also a poet.

New Letters, the quarterly literary magazine based at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has garnered another prestigious literary award.

Kansas City, MO – The story "Progressive Dinner" by fiction writer John Barth, published in New Letters (winter 2007), has been selected for a Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. The Pushcart honors the best poetry, short fiction, and essays published in small presses over the previous year.

Kansas City poet Stanley Banks talks about his life and work.

Denise Low, second poet laureate of Kansas, recognizes the work of the first poet laureate, Jonathan Holden. Lowe also discusses her plans for the office with New Letters on the Air host Angela Elam.

Kansas City, MO – To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the New Letters on the Air Podcast.