Author

Carl Van Vechten / Wikipedia

In his latest novel "West of Sunset," author Stewart O’Nan chronicles F. Scott Fitzgerald’s final years as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Pittsburgh author Stewart O’Nan joins us in Studio A to discuss his work.

O'Nan says that, despite Fitzgerald's fame and the spectacle of Hollywood in the 1930s, we don't know very much about the author's time as a screenwriter.

"He's a legendary character and he's in a legendary time and place," O'Nan says. "We don't really know a whole lot about it."

O'Nan uses the real facts and timeline of Fitzgerald's life in Hollywood as a frame for the story, filling in the scenes himself. He says that adapting Fitzgerald's sensibility provided a greater opportunity to understand what it was like to be the famed writer.

"The biographies can't take you close enough," O'Nan says. "Only fiction can take you close enough."

Jennifer Schatten

As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back on our favorite Essential Pittsburgh stories and guests from 2014. Today we’re highlighting some of our favorite author interviews from the year.

To hear the full-length audio for this story, please refer to the original post.

Before Elizabeth Gilbert wrote her best-selling memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” she was known for novels about travel, adventure, and characters that defy convention. Elizabeth came to town for the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures Monday Night Speaker Series in November to talk about her latest novel, “The Signature of All Things,” and her return to fictional storytelling.

After the success of “Eat, Pray, Love” and “Committed,” she talked about what prompted her to return to writing novels and this one in particular.

“It had been twelve years since I wrote a novel, and I think part of me was a bit afraid that maybe I’d forgotten how to do it, and I wanted to aim high. I felt like I kind of have nothing to lose, so I wanted to write the kind of novel that I love to read.”

Jacket Design by Eric Fuentecilla
Eric Fuentecilla / Penguin Books

As the year comes to a close, we’re looking back on our favorite Essential Pittsburgh stories and guests from 2014. Today we’re highlighting some of our favorite author interviews from the year.

To hear the full-length audio for this story, please refer to the original post.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow” is a science fiction novel set in Pittsburgh, or rather a full-scale computer simulation of Pittsburgh, created in the aftermath of a terrorist attack that has destroyed the city. The book came out this summer and received good early reviews.

By the time this segment aired, the movie rights had been optioned by Sony Pictures -- an auspicious start to the literary career of cyberpunk author Thomas Sweterlitsch, a long-time Pittsburgher.

Among other things, WESA Morning Edition host Josh Raulerson asked Thomas when he started writing stories.

“I started writing when I was seven -- that’s my earliest notebook I still have. I remember very clearly writing stories about G.I. Joe. I think I was obsessed with the movie “Red Dawn.” So, all my stories were G.I. Joe/”Red Dawn” mashups. So, it’s kind of fun for me to go back because my mom had saved all of these notebooks that I’d filled up over the years, and they were just full of little horror stories that I was writing when I was nine and ten years old.”

Jennifer Schatten

Before Elizabeth Gilbert wrote her bestselling memoir "Eat Pray Love," she was known for critically acclaimed novels about travel, adventure and characters who defy convention. 

Gilbert comes to town for the Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures’ Monday Night Speakers Series at the Carnegie Music Hall in Oakland. But first she joins us in studio to talk about her latest book, “The Signature of All Things” and her return to novels.

Jacket Design by Eric Fuentecilla
Eric Fuentecilla / Penguin Books

There aren’t too many writers whose first attempt at a novel gets published- and even fewer have the movie right to their debut scooped up immediately by a major film company.

If Thomas Sweterlitsch's experience in literature has been anything but ordinary, that’s because his first novel, Tomorrow And Tomorrow, has been too.

The book tells the story of John Dominic Blaxton, an investigator living in the future who explores a digital recreation of Pittsburgh, in order to explore the city a decade after it was reduced to dust by a nuclear detonation.

Lisa Kirchner

Lisa Kirchner’s book Hello American Lady Creature: What I Learned as a Woman in Qatar has been compared to Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestseller Eat, Pray, Love. Kirchner doesn’t mind the comparison, after all both books deal with a woman’s journey of self-discovery. Although guest host Josh Raulerson thinks Kirchner's book has a little more humor than Gilbert's bestseller.

Kirchner made her trip to Qatar to help out with Carnegie Mellon University's new campus and she had some very challenging times while over there. The hardest change for Kirchner was the heat.

Arthur Goldwag / Facebook

Arthur Goldwag, writer of The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right speaks at the Penn State New Kensington campus this Thursday. 

The talk will focus on "conspiracy theory as the canary in the mine shaft of the Democratic Party."

The New Hate discusses racism and paranoid speculations about money that have long thrived on the American fringe as possible conspiracy theories. 

It also links the hysteria about the Illuminati of the new American Republic of the 1790s and the McCarthyism of the 1950s, and considers the similarities between the anti-New Deal sentiments of the 1930s and the modern day Tea Party movement.

When Goldwag originally began his book he said he focused on the older conspiracy theories and then something changed.

MayaAngelou.com

My Mother asked me, “Do you know who the Father is?”

I said “Of course, I only had sex with him once”

She said “And do you love him?”

I said “No”

She asked “Does he love you?”

I said “No.”

So she said “Then we’re not going to ruin three lives. We’re going to have a fine baby. That’s all there is to it.”

And she never once made me feel I had brought shame on the family.

Dr. Maya Angelou, has an impressive body of work. From singing in the opera Porgy and Bess, and dancing with the Alvin Ailey dance troupe, to the iconic 1993 Inauguration Day poem On the Pulse of Morning, and her years of activism, Angelou typifies a renaissance woman.