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.

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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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4:52 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

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

  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.

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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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11:13 am
Wed October 21, 2009

New Letters on the Air: U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan

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.

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9:09 am
Mon April 6, 2009

Poet Michelle Boisseau Explores Time and Family History in New Work

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.

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1:36 pm
Fri January 30, 2009

Playwright James Still Shaped by Years at KU

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.

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12:35 pm
Thu December 18, 2008

New Letters on the Air: Chanukah Tales

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.

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2:08 pm
Fri June 6, 2008

Book Critic Mixes Poetry and Music

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.

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10:33 am
Tue May 13, 2008

New Letters Wins Pushcart Prize for Fiction

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.

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9:52 am
Mon April 28, 2008

New Letters on the Air: Poet Stanley E. Banks

Poet Stanley E. Banks

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

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2:57 pm
Mon July 9, 2007

New Letters on the Air: Denise Low Starts as Kansas Poet Laureate

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.

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