RECORDED 10/4/16: You really don’t want to miss this! I interview the talented and best-selling author Mat Johnson about his latest novel, Loving Day, now out in paperback. Listen to the show here or download the episode from itunes.-Heidi Durrow
This is what people are saying about Mat Johnson and his book Loving Day:
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK | NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY MIAMI HERALD AND ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY San Francisco Chronicle • NPR • Men’s Journal • The Denver Post • Slate • The Kansas City Star • Time Out New York | From the author of the critically beloved Pym (“Imagine Kurt Vonnegut having a beer with Ralph Ellison and Jules Verne.”—Vanity Fair) comes a ruthlessly comic and moving tale of a man discovering a lost daughter, confronting an elusive ghost, and stumbling onto the possibility of utopia.
“Exceptional . . . To say that Loving Day is a book about race is like saying Moby-Dick is a book about whales. . . . [Mat Johnson’s] unrelenting examination of blackness, whiteness and everything in between is handled with ruthless candor and riotous humor. . . . Even when the novel’s family strife and racial politics are at peak intensity, Johnson’s comic timing is impeccable.”—Los Angeles Times
RECORDED 10/3/16: Don’t miss my conversation with award-winning writer Lori Tharps about her latest non-fiction book Same Family Different Colors. Lori has been a leading voice in conversations about racial and cultural connection and difference. Listen to her talk about this much-needed book and the much-needed conversations it is sure to spark! Listen here or download the episode on itunes.-Heidi Durrow
Originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she left the Midwest in search of an authentic life experience beginning with four years at Smith College. (Technically, one of those years was spent studying abroad in Salamanca, Spain.). After graduating from Smith, with a B.A. in comparative education and Spanish, Tharps spent two years working on Madison Avenue at one of New York City’s top-ten public relations agencies. While there she worked tirelessly writing press releases and organizing press events for a certain candy company, powdered soup distributor and a well-known maker of dry toast. After realizing she’d never succeed as a PR executive, Tharps entered Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and has been writing her way through the world ever since.
After graduation from Columbia, Tharps was a staff reporter at Vibe magazine and then a correspondent for Entertainment Weekly. She has written for Ms., Glamour, Suede, Vogue Black, Caribbean Life, Grid Philadelphia,and Essence magazines. She has also written for The Columbia Journalism Review, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The New York Times, The and . Her work can also be read in the anthologies, Young Wives Tales: Stories of Love and Partnership (Seal Press), Naked: Black Women Bare All About their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips and Other Parts (Perigee), Bitchfest: Ten Years of Cultural Criticism from the Pages of Bitch Magazine (FSG) and Women: Images & Realities. A Multicultural Anthology (Avalon). Tharps is the author of two works of nonfiction – Hair Story:Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America (St. Martin’s Press) and Kinky Gazpacho: Life, Love & Spain (Atria) – and the novel, Substitute Me(Atria).
Currently Tharps lives in Philadelphia with her husband and three children and she is working on a new book exploring the role of skin color politics in American families. Tharps doesn’t have a dog, but if she did, his name would be Otis. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. Tharps is (almost) fluent in Spanish and can say I love you in seven languages.
RECORDED 9/30/16: For this episode I was so excited to speak with the founders of the McBride Sisters Wine. The sisters grew up a world apart but when they were united after their father’s death, the discovered a shared passion for wine-making. Thus, McBride Sisters Wine was born. The sisters are blazing new paths in the wine business and have an inspiring story to share. You can listen to the episode here or download it from itunes.-Heidi Durrow
Though continents apart, Robin & Andréa were both raised around vineyards in newly developing wine regions (Monterey, California, and Marlborough, New Zealand)—each independently fostering their own appreciation for the craft of winemaking and each unaware of the other for nearly half their lives.
Despite the 7,000 miles that separated them, they would eventually find their way to each other in 1999. Their story, proof of the bond that can form over a bottle of wine and is a story their now telling with all McBride Sisters creations.
As entrepreneurs with over 11 years in the wine business, they have been involved in every facet of the industry from grape growing, winemaking, importation, distribution, sales, marketing and are advanced WSET level 3. Their passion lies in making wine, wine education seminars, inspirational speaking and connecting with their wine drinkers around the world.
As Vintners the sisters have two wine brands under the McBride Sisters Wine Company: the first is eco.love Wines from New Zealand, the second is the newly unveiled Truvée Wines from the Central Coast of California. The McBride Sisters Wine Company sells over 1.2 Million bottles of wine per year.
RECORDED 9/16/16: I had a fantastic conversation with Professor Arica Coleman, author of That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia. Tune in live or download the episode from itunes.-Heidi Durrow
Dr. Arica L. Coleman is an award-winning American historian whose research focuses on comparative ethnic studies and issues of racial formation and identity. Her additional research interests include indigeneity, immigration/migration, interracial relations, mixed race identity, race and gender intersections, sexuality, the politics of race and science, and popular culture.
Dr. Coleman is an evaluator of African American Programs for the Delaware Humanities Forum and a freelance contributor to Time Magazine’s History and Archives Division. She is also chair of the ALANA Committee for the Organization of American Historians which focuses on the status of African American, Latino/a American, Native American and Asian American histories and historians within the history profession. She is the 2015-2017 chairperson for ALANA’s Huggins/Quarles Award and ALANA’s committee chairperson for 2016-2018. In addition, she serves on the Critical Mixed Race Conference 2017 Planning Committee.
Dr. Coleman received her doctorate in American Studies with a concentration in African American-Native America relations in North America from the Union Institute and University in 2005. She completed a Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Scholarly Information Resources and Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University during the 2006-2007 academic year. In 2008, she was a summer Mellon Fellow for the Future of Minority Studies Consortium at Cornell University.
Dr. Coleman has held faculty appointments in Africana Studies at Widener University, the University of Delaware and Johns Hopkins University. In 2014, she was lead faculty facilitator for the UNCF/Mellon Faculty Fellows Domestic Summer Institute held at the University of New Mexico. The seminar titled In Search of Home: An Interdisciplinary Exploration of the Shared Experiences of Indigenous and Immigrant Populations in Colonized Spaces was developed in collaboration with UNM, The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and the Laguna Pueblo Nation.
Dr. Coleman has lectured and presented papers at academic and public venues including The Organization of American Historians, The American Historical Association, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, MIT’s Conference on Race and Science, The National Holocaust Museum, The Virginia Forum, The United Cherokee Nation of Virginia Annual Meeting, and the Hampton Public Library.
She has also lent her expertise on matters of race and ethnicity to the Washington Post,Indian Country Today, History News Network, L.A. Progressive, NPR’s Another View, The Female View Broadcast, Native Trailblazers Blog Radio, CTV (Canada News), and the Virginia General Assembly House Rules Committee.
Her first book, That the Blood Stay Pure: African Americans, Native Americans and the Predicament of Race and Identity in Virginia, a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2014, traces the history and legacy of Virginia’s effort to maintain racial purity and the consequences of this almost four hundred year effort on African American – Native American relations and kinship bonds in the Commonwealth.
RECORDED 9/13/16: I had a great talk with Robert Reece about his recently released study, “What Are You Mixed With?: An Analysis of Perceived Attractiveness, Skin Tone, and Mixed Raciality.” We have a wide-ranging discussion and touch on ideas about agency and racial strategy, facing the “What are you?” question without taking race into account, mixed race babies, and give a nod to Hey Arnold. Don’t miss this interview. You can listen to it here or download it on itunes.-Heidi Durrow
Robert Reece is a PhD candidate in sociology at Duke University where He takes an intersectional critical race approach to research on the American South, colorism, gender/sex/sexuality, and digital technology. Robert is a co-founder of Still Furious and Brave, a blogging collective of scholar-activists that focuses on issues that rest at the intersections of race, region, and feminism, and founder of Magnolia Fresh, a fashion blog that seeks to cater to black men in the South. He is also a member of the editorial board for Scalawag magazine, a quarterly magazine that focuses on southern politics and culture.
Robert is originally from Leland, MS, a small town in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, and obtained BA and MA degrees in sociology from The University of Mississippi. He has organized or co-organized forums about masculinity and sexual assault, blackness in the 21st century, Mississippi’s Personhood Act, and the contemporary social movements with co-founder Bobby Seale. Robert collects black art, Black Panther Party memorabilia, black superhero comics Legos, and consider herself to be a connoisseur of southern rap.
RECORDED 9/12/16: Don’t miss my conversation with Hasanthika Sirisena, author of The Other One, an award-winning short story collection. Hasie is one of my favorite writers and one of my most favorite people and we had a wonderful conversation about her writing and work, and how to keep yourself going when pursuing the writing life. Tune in here or download the episode from itunes.-Heidi Durrow
Hasanthika Sirisena’s essays and stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, WSQ, Narrative,The Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch,StoryQuarterly, Narrative and other magazines. Her work has been anthologized in Best New American Voices, and named a distinguished story by Best American Short Stories in 2011 and 2012. She is a recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. In 2008 she received a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. She is currently an associate fiction editor at West Branch magazine and is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Susquehanna University.
RECORDED 7/25/16: I loved taking with MariNaomi about her recently released book Turning Japanese! You can listen to the episode here or download it from itunes. Also, you can pre-order her forthcoming book I Thought You Hated Me on Amazon here.-Heidi Durrow
MariNaomi has been making memoir comics since 1997. She’s the author and illustrator of the SPACE Prize-winning Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22 (Harper Perennial, 2011), the Eisner-nominated Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories(2dcloud/Uncivilized Books, 2014), the recently released Turning Japanese (2dcloud, 2016) and I Thought You Hated Me (Retrofit Comics, 2016), and her self-published Estrus Comics (1998 to 2009). Her work has appeared in over sixty print publications, and has been featured on numerous websites, such as The Rumpus, The Weeklings, LA Review of Books, Midnight Breakfast, Truth-out, XOJane, Buzzfeed, PEN America and more. Mari’s work on the Rumpus won a SPACE Prize and an honorable mention in Houghton Mifflin’s Best American Comics 2013.
MariNaomi’s comics and paintings have been featured in such institutions as the De Young Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Cartoon Art Museum, San Francisco’s Asian American Museum, and the Japanese American Museums in Los Angeles and San Jose. In 2011, Mari toured with the literary roadshow Sister Spit. She is the creator and curator of the Cartoonists of Color Database and the Queer Cartoonists Database.
Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan is a New York-based journalist and author of “Sarong Party Girls” (William Morrow, 2016) as well as “A Tiger In The Kitchen: A Memoir of Food & Family“ (Hyperion, 2011). She is the editor of the fiction anthology “Singapore Noir“ (Akashic Books, 2014).
She was a staff writer at the Wall Street Journal, In Style magazine and the Baltimore Sun. Her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review, The Washington Post, Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, National Geographic, Foreign Policy, Marie Claire, Newsweek, Bloomberg Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, The (Portland) Oregonian, The (Topeka) Capital-Journal and The (Singapore) Straits Times among other places.
She has been an artist in residence at Yaddo, where she wrote “A Tiger in the Kitchen,” Hawthornden Castle, Le Moulin à Nef, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Headlands Center for the Arts, Ragdale Foundation, Ledig House and the Studios of Key West. In 2012, she was the recipient of a major arts creation grant from the National Arts Council of Singapore in support of her novel.
Born and raised in Singapore, she crossed the ocean at age 18 to go to Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. Unsure of whether she would remain in the U.S. after college, she interned in places as disparate as possible. She hung out with Harley Davidson enthusiasts in Topeka, Kan., interviewed gypsies about their burial rituals in Portland, Ore., covered July 4 in Washington, D.C., and chronicled the life and times of the Boomerang Pleasure Club, a group of Italian-American men that were getting together to cook, play cards and gab about women for decades in their storefront “clubhouse” in Chicago.
An active member of the Asian American Journalists Association, she served on its national board for seven years, ending in 2010.
“Scarlett O’Hara would have met her match in Jazeline Lim, the brazen, striving, yet ultimately vulnerable heroine of this bold debut novel. Tan paints a stark portrait, comic yet chilling, of a society in which a young woman who seeks a way out risks falling in too deep.” — Julia Glass
RECORDED 7/11/16: Please don’t miss my talk with Natashia Deon whose debut novel, Grace, has announced her as a major new novelist to watch! We talked about her book, but also the need for stories and the relevance of the stories of her novel still in this traumatic and difficult time. You can listen here or download it on itunes.-Heidi Durrow
An attorney, writer, law professor, and creator of the popular L.A.-based reading series Dirty Laundry Lit, Deón was recently named one of L.A.’s “Most Fascinating People” by L.A. Weekly.
Her writing has appeared in American Short Fiction, The Rumpus, The Feminist Wire, Asian American Lit Review, Rattling Wall, B O D Y and other places.
She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside–Palm Desert, has two perfect children, and a lovely husband whom she met while living and working in Kent, England.