It's our second show from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC; and this installment features two of the Festival's award winners, as hosts Eric Newman, Medaya Ocher, and Kate Wolf speak with Nafissa Thompson-Spires and Carl Phillips. Nafissa won the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction for her short story collection Heads of the Colored People; while Carl took home the LA Times Book Prize in Poetry for Wild is the Wind.
In the first of a series of shows from the Los Angles Festival of Books, Eric, Medaya, and Kate, catch up with two friends of the show: Hanif Abdurraqib and Claire Vaye Watkins. First up, Hanif talks about his new book, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest, an epistolary appreciation of one of the most influential groups in Hip Hop history. As always, Hanif astounds with instant recall of, and insights about, all things pop cultural and their social resonance. Then, Claire joins the team to discuss her heralded first novel, Gold Fame Citrus: a terrifying, and all-too-possible, representation of Southern California's near future, in which love blooms in a landscape ravaged by drought.
Co-hosts Kate Wolf and Medaya Ocher talk to writer Laila Lalami about her most recent novel, The Other Americans, a story about a Moroccan immigrant family in the Mojave Desert. In the second half of the episode, Kate, Medaya, and Eric come together to talk about the lessons they've learned from their mothers with Jo Giese, author of Never Sit If You Can Dance, a recent memoir about the lessons her mother has taught her.
Co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf talk with filmmaker Werner Herzog about his new documentary Meeting Gorbachev, which he co-directed with Andre Singer. They discuss the legacy of the last Soviet leader, the era of Glasnost and Perestroika, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and how Herzog understands the history of Russia. The centerpiece of the film is a dialogue between Gorbachev and Herzog, which Gorbachev agreed to do because he recognized the great German filmmaker as more poet than journalist. Indeed, in this show, Herzog's reflections flow seamlessly across an array of subjects, from politics, culture, and history to the resilience of the human spirit.
Also, Sally Rooney, author of Normal People, returns to recommend both The Kingdom by Emmanuel Carrere and the book that inspired it, the Gospel of Luke.
Co-hosts Medaya Ocher and Kate Wolf speak with Sally Rooney about her two novels Conversations with Friends and Normal People. Dubbed the "Jane Austin of the Precariat" and called "the first great millennial novelist" Sally addresses the acclaim she’s received; and how she’s grown into the person and writer she is today.
Also, William E. Jones returns to recommend The Imposter byJavier Cercas, which tells the story of Spaniard Enric Marco, who was a national hero until he was exposed as a fraud in 2005.