Marginalia

Marginalia is an on-air commentary and podcast hosted by KMUW's Beth Golay. Each episode features author interviews, editorial commentary and other marginalia to enhance the reading experience.

The Marginalia podcast is also available through iTunes and through Google Play.

 

This episode features a conversation I had recently with David Olimpio, an essayist whose prose is so lyrical he’s often labeled a poet. We spoke about his new book, This is Not a Confession. In it, David tackles some pretty intense themes: the sexual abuse inflicted by his babysitter; the death of his mother; his open marriage.

Essays in general are revealing…. exposing... divulging. But--as the title implies--David’s are not confessional. He’s not asking for pity. He doesn’t want forgiveness. If he’s looking for anything from the reader, perhaps it’s an attempt at understanding.

I think readers will agree that these essays are beautifully written. And I think David will agree, that he wrote these essays for himself.

Here’s our conversation.


    

This episode features a conversation I had recently with Dr. Frans de Waal, a Dutch primatologist and ethologist. You might recognize him as one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. Or maybe you’ve watched one of his TED Talks. I caught up with him in Atlanta, where he’s the C.H. Candler Professor in Emory University’s Psychology Department and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. We visited about his most recent book--Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?--which explores methods, experiments, and tests used to measure animal intelligence. 

Here’s our conversation.  

And if you're looking for the on-air commentary, here it is:

  

This episode features a conversation I had recently with Carlo Rovelli, an Italian theoretical physicist and writer who has worked in Italy, the United States, and France. His work is mainly in the field of quantum gravity, where he is among the founders of the loop quantum gravity theory.

If your eyes started to glaze over at that last statement, stick around.

This episode of Marginalia features a nice chat I had recently with Laura Barnett about her first novel, The Versions of Us. The book actually features three stories that focus on one couple, Eva and Jim. The stories vary quite differently because at some random point during each story, a seemingly harmless decision was made which altered the characters’s course.

On this episode on Marginalia, I speak with Kristopher Jansma about his new novel, Why We Came to the City. The story focuses on five friends--an editor, an astronomer, a poet, an investment banker, and an artist--who have remained friends since their college graduation five years prior, and help each other navigate through life and dreams in New York City. When a seemingly innocuous lump below an eye turns into an delayed cancer diagnosis, the five must reexamine and redefine their hopes and dreams to accommodate tragedy and loss.

Marginalia: Idra Novey

May 13, 2016

Idra Novey is a poet. She also translates works from Spanish and Portuguese, and now, with a new novel, she’s writing fiction.

Ways to Disappear is a novel about a celebrated Brazilian writer who climbs up an almond tree holding a suitcase and a cigar to escape a growing gambling debt. This climb occurs in the opening pages of the book, and what follows is the search for the author conducted by her translator and her grown children.

I recently spoke with Novey about the book, her various genres, poetry…and climbing trees. Here’s our conversation.

    

Marginalia: Diane Rehm

May 11, 2016

This episode of Marginalia is a bit of a departure from our other episodes. Normally I feature a 2-way conversation between myself and an author. But because our listeners at KMUW hear this specific author 2 hours a day every Monday through Friday, this 2-way was turned into a news feature which was broadcast on air. Who was this special author? Public radio talk show host, Diane Rehm.

 

Marginalia: Carrie Brown

Mar 10, 2016
© Aaron Mahler

Sir William Herschel was an astronomer who is best known for discovering Uranus and several moons while compiling a catalog of more than 2,500 celestial objects that is still in use today.

He was assisted for decades by his younger sister and fellow astronomer, Caroline Herschel. When he collected her from the family home in Germany to assist him in England, he liberated her from an awful existence , and she was forever grateful--and indebted--to him.

Randi Baird

Although she has written three books of nonfiction, Geraldine Brooks is best known as an author of historical fiction. But her brand of historical fiction has a way of enriching stories that are already familiar to readers, taking us along as she traces the spread of the bubonic plague to a small English village, or discovers the history of a 15th century Haggadah through the eyes of a book conservator, or as she follows the absent father in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women to the battlefields of the Civil War. (She won a Pulitzer for that one.)

 

Welcome to Marginalia… a look beyond the pages of a book.

Our first episode features an interview with Hannah Rothschild… a Renaissance woman of sorts. She is a documentary filmmaker, a nonfiction author… and she’s the chairwoman for the National Gallery in London. I caught up with her recently to talk about her latest project, her first work of fiction .

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