Literature

Person at the Institute for American Indian Arts.

A wide range of writers — now celebrated with commercial and critical success — work to celebrate an evolving literary canon without limiting it. 

Writing the future
Air Dates:
  • January 26, 2019

Every so often, a new literary movement coalesces. A new generation of writers finds a voice. This time they’re young, gifted, and Native American.

A powwow in 2015 at the Institute for American Indian Arts.

Tommy Orange's debut novel “There There” was one of the big breakout books of 2018. He told Steve that with his novel, he hoped to better represent modern Native Americans that have grown up living in cities.

Heart Wall

Writer Alice Walker has been thinking about how anger co-exists with peace. She spoke with Shannon Henry Kleiber about her new book of poems, “Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart,” and how she works on healing herself when she’s been hurt by others.

"Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson

Human rights attorney Bryan Stevenson works to challenge excessive punishment and mass incarceration, and wrote a book about his experiences called "Just Mercy." He recommends a novel that reminds us of the importance of compassion, mercy, and connection with others in our lives — values that he feels we lack when it comes to considering our criminal justice system.
 

"Winter World" by Bernd Heinrich

How does a hummingbird survive in subzero winter temperatures? Why endure them at all? Author T.C. Boyle couldn’t understand why the small bird would be anywhere near his mountain writing retreat, but he found the answer in Bernd Heinrich’s “Winter World.”

Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgaard has published six volumes of intensely personal descriptions of his daily life. But his “honesty” cost him some of his closest relationships, including his marriage.

"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.
 

Terese Marie Mailhot

Terese Marie Mailhot's brave and beautiful memoir about life on a Pacific Northwest reservation is making waves. She originally intended to tell her story as fiction, but ultimately made the difficult decision to write the whole, painful truth.
 

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