Arts and Culture

Ngugi wa Thiong’o

Ngugi wa Thiong’o — the renowned Kenyan author — believes African writers should write in their native language, not the colonial language of English or French. He says the best way to decolonize the mind is to reclaim native languages.More

 Practice dummy, Cryonics UK standby team training | Tim’s house, Sheffield, UK 2010

Photographer Murray Ballard says he expected a cryonics facility to look like something out of a sci-fi movie scene. But in visiting one, Ballard says he was intrigued by the contrast between such an ambitious endeavor and the somewhat unremarkable architecture and equipment.More

 Social gathering and sharing a meal during Russian Easter honoring the dead, Spring Valley, New Jersey, 1997

Between 1996 and 1998, Bastienne Schmidt and her husband Philippe Cheng traveled throughout the United States photographing the diverse services and ceremonies Americans use to mark the death of family members and friends. According to Cheng, one of the goals was to "show some of the poetry of death and dying in America."More

elderly woman

Nicholas Nixon has devoted a significant amount of his long career — which stretches back to the 1970s — to taking portraits of people who are sick and dying. He continues to work with people coming to the end of their lives, including those in palliative care and hospice.More

Children in Addis Ababa.

Dagmawi Woubshet and Julie Mehretu were both born in Addis Ababa and then moved to America. They wonder what the city's explosive growth will mean for its unique character — one rooted in Ethiopia's history as the only African nation never colonized.More

Prairie Fires of the Great West

Laura Ingalls Wilder insisted that every detail in her beloved "Little House" books was true. But Caroline Fraser, her biographer, says Wilder heavily edited the story of her family's life on the Great Plains. And in the process, created an American myth based on a lie or two.
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"Junebug"

Nathaniel Mary Quinn was abandoned as a child. Today, he’s a celebrated painter, exhibiting around the world. He tells Charles his remarkable story about talent and perseverance in the face of enormous odds.More

The creative mind

Novelist Siri Hustvedt knows how the creative process feels. Neuroscientist Heather Berlin knows what it looks like in the brain. Together with Steve, they explore the emerging science of creativity.More

The Sandman. Writer Neil Gaiman on the set of The Sandman.

Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" graphic novel is now a Netflix series. Gaiman has made a career out of tapping into our unconscious dreams and fears. In 2003, Steve Paulson traveled to Gaiman's home in Wisconsin to talk about where his story ideas come from.More

Fire man

TTBOOK producer Charles Monroe-Kane is a great storyteller who's led an adventurous life. Here's a wild story from his memoir "Lithium Jesus" about smuggling mob money when he lived in Prague in the 1990s.More

"The Days Of Abandonment" by Elena Ferrante

Alissa Quart recommends Elena Ferrante's "Days of Abandonment" and Elizabeth Hardwick's "Sleepless Nights."More

reading a story

Can a better life story make you happier? Psychologist Tim Wilson thinks so, and he describes a technique he calls "story-editing" to create a more hopeful and meaningful life narrative.More

Patti Smith

Legendary poet and singer Patti Smith has two selves. On stage, she revels in collaborating with the people around her and creating a memorable performance. But she reveals a very different self in her memoir "M Train." More

hiding in yellow mist

Storytelling is all the rage these days — and everyone seems to have a life narrative. But not philosopher Galen Strawson. He says life stories often create an inauthentic version of ourselves.More

Tree

Richard Powers’ “The Overstory” has overturned a lot of conventional thinking. Though human characters shape the plot of this 500-page epic, the real heroes are trees.More

Torrey Peters

One of the most eyebrow-raising books of 2021 was Torrey Peters’ debut novel, "Detransition, Baby.” Rolling Stone called it “the most subversive book of the year." It’s a story about three women – transgender and cisgender – and an unexpected pregnancy.More

Akwaeke Emezi

Nigerian writer Akweake Emezi identifies as trans, non-binary and also an Ogbanje. In Emezi’s native Igbo culture, an Ogbanje is a spirit that can be born into a human — a spirit with a plural identity.More

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