literature | KCUR

literature

File photo by Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Classical music doesn’t have to be an intellectual exercise. For composer Ingrid Stölzel, it's an accomplishment when the audience feels goosebumps.

“It’s such an amazing thing we can experience when listening to music. It’s just a physical reaction to what we’re experiencing,” Stölzel told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. “It’s a phenomenal thing.”

The Before Columbus Foundation announced the winners of the 39th annual American Book Awards on Monday. And Bojan Louis's "Currents," a debut poetry collection published by BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is on the list. 

"I'm celebrating!" Ben Furnish, managing editor of BkMk Press, wrote to KCUR in an email.

Rachel Guthrie / Merryman4Jackson.com

Segment 1: Matthew Merryman wants to be the next Jackson County executive.

A former public defender and political newcomer from Kansas City is challenging incumbent Frank White for Jackson County executive. Today, he shared his reasons for running, and discussed his plans to address a crumbling county jail, keep guns out of schools and forge good relationships with county legislators.

Adib Khorram

Jul 26, 2018

Kansas City author Adib Khorram talks about his new buzz-generating novel for young adults, Darius The Great Is Not Okay. It turns out, Khorram has a lot in common with his teenage protagonist, from growing up half-Iranian in the United States to navigating life with depression to being obsessed with Star Trek and hot tea.

  • Adib Khorram, author, Darius The Great Is Not Okay

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

It's okay not to be okay. That's the essential message of a new book for young adult readers by Kansas City author Adib Khorram.

Darius The Great is Not Okay follows a boy with an Iranian mom and teutonic, white-guy dad through the cruelty and tenderness of adolescence. Darius lives in Portland. He struggles with depression. He's bullied at school, and he's unsure of his place at home. He doesn't speak Farsi, like his mom and sister, and he's convinced he's a disappointment to his dad. His only comforts come from hot tea and Star Trek

Bibliofiles: Suburbia

Jul 17, 2018

The 'dark side' of suburbia has been a running theme in American literature for at least a couple of decades. The theme has many forms: existential boringness, the soul-sucking blandness of conformity or as an evil secret lurking behind a too-pleasant veneer. On this episode, the Bibliofiles dive into a discussion about how suburban life is represented in literature and recommend new and noteworthy releases. 

Kaite Stover, Director of readers' Services, Kansas City Public Library

Kansas Historical Society

Segment 1: Former Kansas Democratic governor on the approaching midterm elections.

In 1979 John Carlin began the first of two terms as Kansas governor. He went on to work as the Eighth Archivist of  the United States by appointment of President Bill Clinton. Today, as a Kansas State University professor and leading figure in local civic engagement, he's still heavily involved in state and the state of politics. We got his take on the race for his former office.

Judge Garry Helm seated before a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Danie Alexander / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Missouri's 2015 reform bill means fewer defendants bother to appear in court for traffic violations.

In the wake of Ferguson, then-Missouri governor Jay Nixon signed a sweeping court reform bill to cut down on percieved predatory traffic stops that burdened the poor unduly. Today a judge and a criminal defense attorney questioned the bill's efficacy that has fewer Missourians showing up for their court dates and has created greater workloads for court clerks and support staff.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Local 15-year-old creates a space for teens and young adults to embrace their love of books.

Book festivals for adults are a dime a dozen. Now, a teenager from Prairie Village is looking to give young readers a chance to geek out over their favorite past-time, too. We met the organizer, and spoke with two writers who are taking part this weekend in the first ever LitUp Festival.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

"Not enough teenagers are reading."

Fifteen-year-old Emery Uhlig says this was her motivation to organize a youth literary festival. As the driving force behind the LitUp Festival, the Prairie Village resident wanted to create space for teenagers to celebrate their love of books.

"In a world where we can have things instantly," she says, "people are moving away from books and toward digital media."

Author Clare Vanderpool agrees.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Students in Kansas City and across the country stage a school walkout, 19 years after a mass shooting at Columbine High School.

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.

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