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The National Writers Series Podcast

The National Writers Series Podcast

Welcome to America’s year-round book festival, now in audio form! Funny, surprising, and provocative, these up-close and personal conversations were recorded at National Writers Series events (live and virtual) in Traverse City, Michigan, featuring voices and stories from across America and around the world. Hosted by NWS co-founder and #1 New York Times bestselling author Doug Stanton.
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An Evening with Diane Rehm (2021)
One of the most beloved NPR hosts of all time, Diane Rehm, joined the National Writers Series in February 2021 to discuss her book, When My Time Comes. The book sprang out of the interviews she conducted for her documentary film about Medical Aid in Dying of the same name. Our event was an illuminating talk that opens up a subject that no one really wants to talk about: death. As her documentary is coming out on PBS this month, we thought it was a great time to revisit this extensive conversation about the controversial topic, expertly guest hosted by Cynthia Canty. From how to have an uncomfortable conversation about end-of-life issues, to death cafes, to what states are working towards legalizing the practice, to how the last two decades have been for states where it's allowed, we cover as much as we can about this important topic. 
April 13, 2021
An Evening with Mitch Albom (2011)
For this week's podcast, we're looking back to one of our first National Writers Series conversations ever, featuring author and Detroit Free Press columnist Mitch Albom. This conversation took place in April 2011 - exactly one decade ago - and iit's the first of three conversations Albom has held with the NWS over the years.  In this conversation, NWS co-founder Doug Stanton talks with Albom a few days after the paperback release of his fourth (non-sports) book, Have A Little Faith. They talked about Albom's experiences writing the autobiography of Bo Schembechler, the genesis of his hugely-successful Tuesdays With Morrie, and the feeling of victory when you make a reader cry...
April 6, 2021
An Evening With Michael Connelly (2012)
Michael Connelly is a famed New York Times #1 bestselling author who has written dozens of books in the crime, mystery, and legal genres. His debut book, "The Black Echo," was published in 1992 and introduced the world to his famous detective: Harry Bosch. Connelly joined the National Writers Series for this conversation back in November 2012 following the release of his then-latest Bosch novel, "The Black Box." How did his work as an investigative journalist help inform the details that went into his many crime novels? Why would he only write in a walk-in closet? And what about the responsibility that comes with writing 18 novels about the life of his most famous character? While we await the final season of Amazon's "Bosch" TV adaptation—and since a new Bosch spinoff series was just announced a few weeks ago—we thought we'd take the opportunity to look back on this wonderful examination of his writing process. We open with guest host and fellow crime novelist Bryan Gruley who asked Connely to describe his perfect writing environment…
March 30, 2021
An Evening with Karl Marlantes
Karl Marlantes was one of the first guests to ever appear at the National Writers Series. He first joined us in 2010 when he came to discuss his debut book, “Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War.” That book - released in March of that year - drew on Karl’s experiences as a Marine in Vietnam.  This discussion comes from 2019, when Karl returned to discuss his latest novel, “Deep River.” It was inspired by the history of his ancestors, who immigrated to Washington from Finland in the early 20th century. Karl talks this hour with fellow author and military veteran, Benjamin Busch. Benjamin started the discussion by asking Karl to talk about the difficult process of getting his first book published...
March 23, 2021
An Evening with Harlan Coben
Harlan Coben has published over 30 novels, and his book "Tell No One" was recently into a film of the same name. In the past few years, Harlan’s created three TV shows available on Netflix: No Second Chance, The Five, and Safe. His latest thriller, "Win," just came out this week - so we thought that was a great reason to look back to our NWS conversation with this amazingly prolific writer. NWS co-founder Doug Stanton spoke with Harlan on the stage of the Traverse City Opera House back in July 2015, and at that time, his book “The Stranger” had just come out. Doug asked Harlan to tell him about how he balances his work with his family life...
March 16, 2021
An Evening with Diana Gabaldon
Diana Gabaldon’s bestselling Outlander series of novels begins by telling the story of a young nurse during World War II who travels back in time to 18th century Scotland. Diana has published eight Outlander books, and is working on her ninth, called Go Tell the Bees That I Have Gone.  The books have been developed into a hugely popular TV show on Starz, which had yet to premiere when this conversation took place in July 2014. Diana talks this hour with Deb Leonard, a member of the board of directors for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, and a bookseller at Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor. Their conversation was recorded at the Traverse City Opera House, where Deb asked Diana if she could describe her books to someone who’s never read them...
March 9, 2021
An Evening with Randall Sullivan
"The Curse of Oak Island" on the History Channel just completed its eighth season. It’s also a book by journalist Randall Sullivan, who first wrote about the island for Rolling Stone in 2004. In the book, Sullivan goes deeper into the long history of treasure hunting on the island and delves into the many theories about what’s buried there.  One of the creators and stars of the show is engineer, entrepreneur, and native Michigander Marty Lagina. In this conversation, recorded in October 2019, Randall and Marty spend an hour talking with Patrick Livingston, news director for WPBN and WGTU-TV in Traverse City. To start this week's episode, Patrick asked Randall why people are so interested in The Curse of Oak Island...
March 2, 2021
An Evening with Alice Walker
Alice Walker published her first book in 1968, making 2018 the 50th anniversary of her writing career. She’s authored dozens of works since then, including poetry, essays, short stories and novels. Alice won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel The Color Purple, becoming the first African American to receive that honor. Alice Walker is also known for her activism for human rights. Her latest book is a collection of poetry called Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart. Alice talks this hour with Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley. Rochelle asked Alice what her proudest moment has been so far.
February 23, 2021
An Evening with Lee Child
Author Lee Child is best known for his Jack Reacher thriller series. The series has been adapted into two films starring Tom Cruise as the title character. Lee’s 24th book in the series, Blue Moon, came out in 2019.  Lee visited Traverse City in 2012 and spoke with NWS co-founder Doug Stanton on the stage of the City Opera House. Doug started by asking Lee to take him through a typical day of writing...
February 16, 2021
An Evening with Joe Hill
Joe Hill was born with the name Joseph King: he’s the son of legendary author Stephen King. But Joe writes under the last name “Hill” out of a desire to succeed on his own merits. Now he’s recognized as one of today’s best horror writers.   Hill is a New York Times #1 best-selling author whose novels include NOS4A2, Horns, Heart-Shaped Box and The Fireman. His latest book is Strange Weather, which is made up of four short novels. Joe talks this hour with fellow author (and native Michigander) Loren Estleman, who is best known for a series of crime novels featuring the investigator Amos Walker.  Joe started off talking about and reading from one of the stories from Strange Weather. This event took place at the City Opera House in downtown Traverse City in October 2018.
February 10, 2021
An Evening with Jodi Picoult
Critically acclaimed author Jodi Picoult spends this episode in conversation with Detroit News columnist Neal Rubin about her writing process and experience. The conversation starts with Neal asking her when she knew writing would work out as a career. Picoult also talks about what it's like to reach #1 on the bestseller list (more than once) compared to simply writing in her attic for many years. Picoult also discusses her works, one including a newer release, A Spark of Light. This conversation took place in October 2016. 
February 8, 2021
An Evening with Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is the author of over 40 books spanning many genres, including poetry, essays, and fiction. Her books include “Hag-Seed,” which is a retelling of Shakespeare’s play “The Tempest” and a graphic novel called “Angel Catbird” featuring a cat-bird superhero. Her most famous work is "The Handmaid's Tale," which was adapted into an award-winning TV series in 2016 by Hulu.   In this episode of the NWS Podcast, Margaret Atwood joins guest host Doug Stanton. She starts this evening's discussion by talking more about how she came to write “Angel Catbird.” This event was recorded at the Traverse City Opera House in October 2016.
February 8, 2021
An Evening with Chasten Buttigieg
On this episode of the NWS podcast, author and avid LGBTQ+ advocate Chasten Buttigieg talks with writer and acupuncturist Elon Cameron about his experience living in Traverse City, Michigan. Though he holds love for his hometown, he reflects on the many issues and fears he faced with being gay and growing up.  Now married to former presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, he has released his own memoir, "I Have Something to Tell You," where he discusses his personal life experiences and the journey of being on a political campaign with his husband.  During this virtual NWS event, Chasten reflects and discusses his intention with spreading mental health awareness along with many other subjects. The second half of the program features a conversation with Christopher Haugh and Jordan Blashek. This event took place on  September 10, 2020.
January 27, 2021