Interviews By Topic

Circe

Circe, the all-powerful goddess from Homer’s “The Odyssey,” is known for turning men into swine, and for her mastery of potions. The artwork “Circe,” imagined by Romare Bearden, is a black woman surrounded by mystical animals and a skull, wearing West African garb with a calm but defiant look on her face.More

Women Who Rule

It's common in literary and historical accounts of powerful women to make them out to be villains — witches, demons, succubi, changelings — or erase them entirely. Historian Kara Cooney, author Madeline Miller, Religious scholar Serenity Young, and classics scholar Emily Wilson talk about why that might be.More

Teens on stage

Charles Monroe-Kane recently sat down to talk with the founder of the "Louder Than A Bomb" youth poetry — poet Kevin Coval — as well as two high school poets — Luis Carranza and Kee Stein — to hear more about how poetry is empowering teens.More

Angie Thomas

The hit young adult author on how she channeled feelings in the wake of a tragedy into her debut novel, "The Hate U Give."More

Teen brain

If teens have trouble remembering where they put their homework, how are they going to marshall a legislative agenda? On the other hand, maybe teens have mental advantages adults don’t. Steve Paulson asked neuroscientist Frances Jensen to weigh in.More

British writer Martin Amis is 68 years old. He’s written 14 novels, hundreds of essays, memoirs, even a screen play. But he has strong feelings about writers who work past their prime. So he feels the clock ticking — is it time to pack it in? When will he know?More

A serious backbar

Prohibition gave us speakeasies, jazz clubs and bathtub gin. But a new revisionist history uncovers a more disturbing legacy: campaigns against immigrants, the War on Drugs, and the rise of America's "incarceration nation," says historian Lisa McGirr.More

Ma Dukes and J Dilla

James Dewitt Yancey – also known as J Dilla — was a hip hop super-producer and pioneering beat-maker. J Dilla died at just 32 years old, and worked right up until the end, making music and creating beats from his hospital bed. His mother was there for every bit of it.More

Tie

Anthropologist Ilana Gershon argues that if you want to have a successful career in the US today, you have to be a job quitter.More

A push of the clock

Dan Pink has written several books about motivation, work and behavior. His most recent, called “When,” is all about timing. He says people facing an ending seems to push people in new directions.More

Starling

Elena Passarello’s latest book, “Animals Strike Curious Poses,” is a journey through stories of the wild ones: the mammoths, spiders, birds and primates that have left their marks on our society. To the Best of Our Knowledge host Anne Strainchamps talked with Passarello about the “animal gaze” and the legacy of Mozart’s starling, among other animal tales.More

broken heart

Every week, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond host the popular "Dear Sugars" podcast, where they read listener letters and give relationship advice. Sometimes, they have to parse the questions people think they're asking from the ones simmering beneath the surface.More

A flower at the end of life

Author and professor Simon Critchley offers a dangerous idea that concerns time. And death.More

Choose something from 2018 and leave it behind.

Anne shares a yearly ritual for leaving behind something you regret, and moving into the new year a little bit lighter. More

David Giffels and his dad

A few years ago, David Giffels took on an unusual woodworking project — he started building his own coffin. With his 80-year-old father. But after losing his mother and best friend suddenly, his woodworking project took on a whole new meaning.
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Data streams

Yuval Noah Harari is the big-thinking historian who warns that whoever owns the data owns the future. He told Steve Paulson that it’s become the most important resource in the world.More

Goshawk in flight

Shattered by her father's sudden death, writer Helen Macdonald began dreaming of wild hawks.  In an effort to move beyond her grief, she bought and trained a wild goshawk — one of the world's fiercest birds of prey.   But between the bird and her grief, she became, in her words "more hawk than human."More

"The Dark Is Rising" by Susan Cooper

Wizarding fiction didn't start with "Harry Potter," says the author of "H is for Hawk." Every year, MacDonald reads this tale of a boy who finds out he's one of the "old ones," part of a series from author Susan Cooper. She says it reconnects her with a sense of wonder inspired by what might lurk beneath the surface of the seen world.More

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