literature | KCUR

literature

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Streetcar authority chief says, "we're trying everything we can" to fund a lengthening of streetcar corridor.

Segment 1: Memories of the wild west are kept alive in Johnson County park.

For many kids who grew up near Antioch Park, 'Dodge Town' has been a place to relive the wild west. As the playground prepares to re-open after being remodeled, we take a nostalgic look back.

  • Scott Wilson, writer and editor

Segment 2, beginning at 11:51: Mary Shelley's classic novel celebrates bicentennial anniversary.

Center for Youth Wellness

Segment 1: How trauma and abuse in childhood can mean a lifetime of illness.

Dr. Nadine Burke Harris had already established herself as a provider of care to vulnerable children when she met a patient named Diego, but the boy changed her way of thinking about the effects of toxic stress. We spoke with the doctor about Diego's story, and about the connections between childhood trauma and lifelong illness.

Matt Grobe / KCUR 89.3

Do you devour 'think pieces' online? Or perhaps you read essays the old-fashioned way: in books. Either way, you're participating in the timeless art of making sense of the world through words. Today, the Bibliofiles discuss the latest trends of long-form literary journalism and recommend their favorite works in the genre.

Jeffrey Ann Goudie, freelance journalist and book critic:

NASA

Segment 1: How 4,000 years of writing shaped history, people and civilization.

From the "Epic of Gilgamesh" and the clay tablets it was written on in 2000 B.C. to the downloadable content of today, literature and the writing technologies that go along with it have allowed humans to make sense of the world, says Martin Puchner, general editor of "The Norton Anthology of World Literature." Today, he explained how written stories are the foundation of our modern world.

Daniel X. O'Neil / Flickr-CC

Segment 1: Is The Cat in the Hat's design inspired by blackface? 

Have you ever revisited a favorite book from your childhood ... to find that it is actually racist? As our society's perspective on race evolves, we look at racial undertones within children literature.

Drag Queen Storytime; Why Birds Matter

Feb 6, 2018
Mary Nemecek / Burroughs Audubon Society of Greater Kansas City

According to the Chinese zodiac calendar, this is the year of the dog. But National Geographic says otherwise, naming 2018 as 'year of the bird' in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.

Today, we speak with a photographer who captured moments of bird migration across the world and with local bird watchers right here in Kansas City.

Meg Kumin

Over the past several months, Kansas novelist Laura Moriarty has found herself in a firestorm.

Her fifth novel, "American Heart," is scheduled to be released on January 30. But readers who received advance copies, and those who only read a synopsis, have already expressed fury over the fictional world this white, non-Muslim writer imagined; her status as a white non-Muslim was one point of contention.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Author Whitney Terrell told the story of a female soldier in his novel, The Good Lieutenant. His consultant for that book, Angela Fitle, lived it in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom II. They share their thoughts on the female experience of war. Then children's author Brian Selznick reveals what it was like to condense his novel Wonderstruck​ into the screenplay for the just-released film version.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

John Grisham's career has taken him from attorney, to Mississippi state representative, to best-selling author. Today, we speak with the acclaimed writer about his latest legal thriller, The Rooster Bar, which explores the underbelly tactics of for-profit law schools.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

This is the final season for the popular Netflix series Longmire, but not for the books that inspired it. Today, their author, Craig Johnson, reveals the inspiration for his latest novel about the fictional sheriff of Wyoming's Absaroka County, and relates what it felt like when his character came to life on screen. Then, learn what a Prairie Village husband and wife team did when their passion for amassing memorabilia about Kansas City left them with a collection too big to fit under one roof.

Have you ever revisited a favorite book from your childhood . . . to find that it is actually racist? As our society's thoughts on race continue to evolve, we'll consult the author of the new book Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children's Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books.

Courtesy Tom Shawver

Some people contend that James Joyce's Ulysses is the best novel of the 20th century. I'm not jumping into that debate. But as the annual worldwide literary holiday known as Bloomsday celebrating Ulysses rolls around again, I've made one more attempt to understand the book.

Not by reading it, but by speaking to some local experts.

Danie Alexander / KCUR 89.3

Summer break is here, and for students that means sunshine, fresh air and months away from school. For youths looking to keep the heat from melting their minds, there's nothing like a good book. Today, our panel of librarians have reading recommendations that are sure to divert young eyes from the television, and keep young brains active and engaged.

For preschool through 2nd grade

Howard Simmons / Courtesy Washburn University

Gwendolyn Brooks lived in Topeka for just a few weeks after she was born. But the iconic poet – Brooks was the first African-American writer to win the Pulitzer Prize — still has relatives in Kansas, and they’re ready to celebrate what would have been her 100th birthday.

“I’m very happy and proud when I hear so many people here in Topeka that really had a lot of respect for her and the gift God had given her,” says Carolyn Wims Campbell, Brooks’ first cousin once removed (Brooks and Campbell’s father were cousins).

A science fiction author at KU has written a genre-bending novella that's up for numerous awards, a researcher at MU is on the team investigating the oldest complete fossil of the human spine, and the band Soul Revival joins us to talk about a new EP.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Every city has that one bookstore, the irreverent corner shop where literary types plot revolutions. In Kansas City, that bookstore is Prospero's, owned by Will Leathem. Leathem took a surprising path to becoming a used book salesman.

 

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LitFestKC

Today, Jon Scieszka and Javaka Steptoe, heavy-hitters on the kid's lit scene, talk about promoting literacy and how the environment for fostering it has changed since they were little. They also reveal the creative processes behind some of their best-known works.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

In a tiny plane over the Amazon rainforest, Kansas City writer Candice Millard plummeted to what she was sure would be her death.

courtesy of the artists; photo of Daniel Coburn by Bruce Wagman

Applicants are warned, as Inside Philanthropy puts it: "Don't even think about attempting to apply for this fellowship unless you are at the absolute top of your game."

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

More than 100 literary nerds and public radio geeks packed recordBar Tuesday for reBOUND, an annual book exchange hosted by Generation Listen KC and the Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library

Missouri Auditor's Office

Today, bestselling author and political activist Francine Prose shares her thoughts on the importance of the written word. She says the First Amendment is under threat, and explains why what we write counts now more than ever. Then, we speak with Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway, who says certain executive payments the University of Missouri System awards break the law.

Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

On March 20, 1978, William Least Heat-Moon left Columbia, Missouri in a Ford van. The van, which he named Ghost Dancing, would be his home for the next three months.

He was 38 years old. His marriage was falling apart. He'd lost his teaching job due to staffing cutbacks. His decision to get behind the wheel in search of America's stories was part dream, part desperation.

Now that the van is a literary artifact, he has to visit it in a museum. And he's careful not to get behind the wheel. Sitting back in that driver's seat makes him misty eyed.

Courtesy of Sherie Randolph / sheriemrandolph.com

In the early 1900s, in a home near 18th and Vine, a young black mother made her daughter promise never to have children. That little girl became a radical feminist, who pried her way into Columbia Law School in a time when they weren't even admitting black men. Historian Sherie Randolph unearths the life and times of the late Flo Kennedy. 

Plus, an encore broadcast: One local academic on performing around the world as Zora Neale Hurston. 

Guests:

UMKC

Shooting off an email has largely supplanted the practice of hand-writing letters, but certain Letters of Note remind us of their allure. Then, we explore the 83-year history of the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a university staffer who's known to give lunchtime historical tours of the Midtown campus.

Penguin Random House

Are you looking for a special book for the young people in your life? If so, our panel of Johnson County Librarians have their holiday gift recommendations ready for you — and just in time!

From the story of a boy who finally connects with his distant father through the unlikely language of music, to a tale of some ragtag kids, and a loyal greyhound, escaping 13th-century France, these titles are sure to get your children through what could otherwise be a long winter break. 

For preschool through 2nd grade

First, we look at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art's latest plans for expansion that's raising a few questions with some of its neighbors.

On this Election Day, we hear from listeners about their experiences at the polls. Then, learn how Electionland is bringing together a team of media outlets, including KCUR, in a collaborative effort to inform you on the latest voting issues and problems.

In the early 1690s, Massachusetts got swept up in the madness of witch hunts, which culminated in the Salem witch trials and the execution of 20 people. On this edition of Up To Date, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff talks about the 1692 tragedy that still fascinates us today, and how it compares to modern times.

In a dimly lit room in Madrid in the late 1700s, a theologian reads aloud to his friend the priest. It's not such a surprising scene, except that just outside, peasants and artisans have pressed their ears up against the door, enraptured by what turned out to be the 18th Century version of . . . pornography.

One KU history professor joins us to share how she discovered this literature, and what it tells us about what ordinary people read during the time.

Guest: 

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