Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures

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.”

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.

Love and Treasure, a Novel of the Hungarian Gold Train

Jan 27, 2014
Ayelet Waldman / Facebook

“I read about the Holocaust, I wrote about the Holocaust, I studied it in college, and I never had heard this story before,” admits writer Ayelet Waldman, who is in town for the Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures series this evening to discuss her new novel Love and Treasure.

The book weaves a tale around the true World War II story of a Hungarian Gold Train. One of the main characters is an American lieutenant described as a "tough, smart New York Jew" who is charged with guarding this treasure, a responsibility that grows more complicated when he meets a beautiful Hungarian woman who has lost everything in the Holocaust.

Waldman has Jewish roots , attended Hebrew school as a child, has visited Israel,  but she says it was Google where she found the idea for this novel.

Heather McClain / 90.5WESA

Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures brings some of the world’s leading authors and speakers to Pittsburgh.

For the last 7 years, Executive Director Jayne Adair has grown the organization’s audience to be one of the largest attended literary series in the country.

Adair plans to retire later this year, so we wanted to speak with her about the experience of working with Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, the upcoming season of speakers, and what it takes to bring those big names to town.

Did Daniel Handler Kill Edward Gorey?

Oct 25, 2013
Wikipedia

Master of wit and noir author Daniel Handler pitched the story idea for his now-classic “Series of Unfortunate Events” series in a bar, for a reason.

According to Handler, he figured that the idea of “terrible things happening to orphans over and over again," would not go over well with the editor, and he might as well be in an establishment that served alcoholic beverages after she said no.

The Moth Mainstage: How to Tell a Compelling Story

Aug 21, 2013
The Moth

The Moth Mainstage returns to Pittsburgh tomorrow at the Byham Theater. Participants share a ten-minute story onstage centered on the theme “balancing acts.”

Producer Kate Tellers says The Moth StorySlams, Radio Hour and Mainstage have experienced huge success in Pittsburgh over the past few years.

She coaches storytellers before they perform and worked with Justin Strong, owner of Shadow Lounge and AVA, in crafting a story. Tellers says truly effective stories are able to reach to the lowest point in someone’s life and illustrate a turning point that defines them.

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Executive Director Jayne Adair's reading list is as rich and varied as her schedule of speakers. She shares some powerful book ideas this week with WESA host Josh Raulerson.

RZA's talking about how sometimes you just really do need to raise a ruckus!

-Jayne Adair on The Tao Wu

Josh Raulerson / 90.5 WESA

Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures executive director Jayne Adair's reading list is as rich and varied as her schedule of speakers.

Nathaniel Philbrick, Bunker Hill