Susan Davis

Producer, The State of Things

Starting today, film-makers and film lovers descend on Durham, North Carolina for the annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. Participants can feast their eyes on over 100 films, listen to panel discussions and partake of Durham’s abundant Southern hospitality. Full Frame is one of the only festivals in the world dedicated to nonfiction films. It started in Durham 14 years ago and has grown to international prominence. Deirdre Haj, the festival’s executive director, and Sadie Tillery, director of Full Frame’s programming, join host Frank Stasio in the studio.

The media are all over today’s 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, but a group of journalism students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have been spending time studying how reporters covered the war during the four years of conflict. Frank Fee, associate professor of journalism and mass communications at UNC, and UNC students Caitie Forde-Smith and Jessica Hayes join host Frank Stasio to share what they found out about media production and usage during the Civil War.

KidzNotes

Apr 8, 2011

KidzNotes provides under-served children free classical, orchestral music training to combat poverty and build character. It operates in Durham and is based on the El Sistema model from Venezuela, which has been transforming the lives of Venezuelan school children through classical music since 1974.

Anne Lamott is famous for her revealing, poetic, funny books about motherhood, faith and America. Nearly everything she writes is autobiographical, including her newest book, “Imperfect Birds” (Riverhead Books/2010), which is out in paperback and features a teen named Rosie who goes from being a likable, model student-athlete to lying, stealing and using drugs.

Meet Jeff Polish

Mar 28, 2011
www.themonti.org

Jeff Polish had a lonely childhood. He moved around a lot and had to dodge his mother's overbearing anger. Jeff learned early to say little and have an active inner life. When he left home for college, Jeff discovered that friends came easily when he told stories. The inner narratives he had been constructing for years paid off socially. He went on to earn a PhD in genetics and has happily taught high school for years.

Anna Jean Mayhew was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina where she also lived, worked, raised a family and enjoyed civic life. It wasn't until she moved to the Triangle region of the state that she understood how much she wanted to write about Charlotte. Mayhew had always written, but she had no formal education as a writer. Yet with the help of a dedicated writing group and many years of perseverance, she finished "The Dry Grass of August" (Kensington Books/2011), which was recently released.

One Big Table

Mar 23, 2011

Molly O'Neill is a celebrated chef, cookbook author and restaurant reviewer. She spent years writing about food and the culture of food for the New York Times. Her new book, "One Big Table" (Simon and Schuster 2010) investigates the allegations that Americans no longer cook. She traveled all over the country and can happily report that Americans do, in fact cook, but even more importantly, Americans still love to eat.

www.harpercollins.co.uk

Growing up in Egypt, Samia Serageldin didn't think about becoming a writer. She was more worried about the fate of her family whose political activity set them against the ruling parties under Nasser, then Sadat. She married and moved to London at age 20 with her husband. Except for two brief years of hopeful return to Egypt in the late 1970s, Serageldin has been an expatriate, living in Michigan, Massachusetts and North Carolina. Her autobiographical first novel, “The Cairo House,” was published in 2000 and chronicles the rise and fall of a class of Egyptians caught between Western and traditional influences. Her subsequent books, “The Naqib’s Daughter” and “Love is Like Water,” also focus on Egypt.

Raleigh writer Angela Davis-Gardner loves Japan. She went there to teach when she was a young woman fresh from her undergraduate studies at Duke University. The landscape and the people stayed in her imagination so profoundly that she has visited several times and set her most recent books there. “Plum Wine” examines the aftermath of World War II in Japan. And her new book, “Butterfly’s Child” (The Dial Press/2011) moves between Japan and America at the end of the 19th century.

http://englishcomplit.unc.edu/morgan

Amy Hempel is among America's most beloved short story writers. She's also a famous writing teacher – at Harvard University, Bennington College and the Sewanee Writer's Conference, to name a few placeAmy Hempel is among America's most beloved short story writers. She's also a famous writing teacher – at Harvard University, Bennington College and the Sewanee Writer's Conference, to name a few places where students have benefited from her tutelage.

Scott Huler
piedmontlaureate.com

Writer Scott Huler's nonfiction books, investigative journalism, commentary and humor have made him a fixture on the local literary scene. Now he adds the title Piedmont Laureate to his already impressive resume. Huler joins host Frank Stasio to talk about his program as Piedmont Laureate -- story telling events and conversations among writers -- and his upcoming book projects about the South and Southerners

John Marc Diptych
Photograph by Jeff Whetstone

Late last month Jeff Whetstone premiered his newest artwork. It's a video depicting a turkey hunt. But it's not a documentary. The hunter uses the female turkey's call to lure a male turkey. Then, the hunter translates the call into English. None of what the female turkey says to the male turkey is suitable for public radio. But to hear a confident American man – muscle-bound, tough, armed and dressed for hunting – talk dirty in the voice of a female turkey is to have your sense of gender, species, nature and wildness ultimately confounded.

Bob Sheldon moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina from Colorado in the late 1970s and by 1981 he had opened The Internationalist Reading Room. By 1991, the Internationalist was a bookstore and Bob Sheldon was dead. His murder remains unsolved. But because of his politics, speculation as to who wanted to harm Bob Sheldon runs rampant. The Internationalist is now a thriving nonprofit and community flashpoint on Franklin Street in the heart of Chapel Hill. The store's journey from reading room to business mirrors Chapel Hills journey from a progressive, affordable college town, to a well-off, sophisticated southern city.

Radio Shangri-La

Feb 22, 2011

Journalist Lisa Napoli was burnt out. She was tired of living in Los Angeles, tired of working the overnight shift for Marketplace Radio and tired of feeling like she didn't have enough of what she wanted in life. Then she met a handsome stranger at a party who pointed her in the direction of Bhutan, the tiny Himalayan hamlet famous for being remote and blissful. There, success is measured, not in Gross National Product, but in Gross National Happiness. Napoli arrived in Bhutan to help set up the first non-government owned radio station when the king peacefully abdicated the throne and the country transitioned into a constitutional monarchy. Her new book, "Radio Shangri-La" (Crown/2011) documents her journey to Bhutan and happiness, Bhutan's journey to democracy and the journey of a friend who left Bhutan for America only to find out that happiness was back at home. Napoli joins host Frank Stasio to talk about her travels and being a reporter in a place with no bad news.

Archie Randolph Ammons, known as "A.R." to his legions of devoted readers, was an award-winning poet who would have celebrated his 85th birthday today. He was born in Whiteville, North Carolina to a large family who farmed for their subsistence, sang in church and took in oddballs and strays. Ammons went on to serve in the Navy, attend Wake Forest University, and teach elementary school before joining the faculty of Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. As a poet, he was honored for his work with two National Book Awards, a Library of Congress Prize for Poetry, a Frost Medal and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, among many other prizes.

His poetic journey is actually many journeys from poems about rural North Carolina life to poems about science and engineering. And his story is actually many stories, from his early days on the farm to his later days in the rarefied world of poetic distinction.

As part of the occasional series, “North Carolina Literary Lights,” host Frank Stasio examines the life and work of A.R. Ammons with Alex Albright, a poet and an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at East Carolina University and the editor of several volumes of poetry including "The North Carolina Poems" by A.R. Ammons (Broadstone Press/2010). Also joining the conversation is Roger Gilbert, a professor of English at Cornell University who is currently working on a critical biography of Ammons.

Chris Hondros - http://www.bagnewsnotes.com

Last week's toppling of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has drawn the attentions of the world to the unrest in the Middle East. As we wonder what will happen in the wake of the 30-year Mubarak regime, host Frank Stasio talks with experts, expatriates and observers about the possibilities.

Book Cover: The Story of Forgetting
www.stefanmerrillblock.com

More than five million Americans have Alzheimer's disease. By mid-century, that number is expected to double, if not quadruple. Researchers are learning more about the progressive neurological disorder that affects memory and other functions of the brain, but there is still no treatment or cure. Writers have begun documenting the epidemic, creating fiction and nonfiction that renders the mysterious disease and how it uniquely changes the lives of patients and caregivers alike. The New York Times declared this writing a new genre, calling it "Alzheimer's Literature."

Voices of SNCC

Apr 13, 2010

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded at Shaw University in April of 1960. Hoping to harness the enthusiasm and willpower of young people to end segregation, founders Ella Baker, James Lawson and Julian Bond organized protests and actions across the south. SNCC was vital to the impact of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

Jewish-American Identity & Food

Mar 26, 2009

A lot of what we cook defines us. Say "barbecue and sweet tea" and people hear, "the South." The same is true for immigrants. As hyphenated Americans we are what we eat. This will be the subject of an upcoming lecture by Nora Rubel, an assistant professor of religion and classics at the University of Rochester in New York. Rubel earned her graduate degree at UNC-Chapel Hill and returns next week talk about "The Settlement Cookbook and the Transformation of Jewish-American Identity." But first she joins guest host Laura Leslie with a preview.

Smithfield Foods and the United Food and Commercial Workers settled a federal racketeering lawsuit this week. Now the nearly five thousand workers at the plant in Tar Heel will have another chance to vote on union representation.

Church of Living God2,  2007 photograph by John Rosenthal
John Rosenthal

John Rosenthal is renowned for his black and white photographs of New York City in the 1970s. The photos archived parts of the city that were vanishing and eventually disappeared: a dusty model of a ship in a bottle in the window of a social club in Little Italy, for example, or seltzer bottles stacked in wood crates.

NC Voices: Gene Testing

Oct 15, 2007

Since experts mapped the human genome, the continuous flow of new information has affected decisions people are making about their health. As part of our series, "North Carolina Voices: Diagnosing Health Care," producer Susan Davis considers what people learn from genetic testing and if it’s always helpful. When Susan’s father died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1992 experts were not sure if there was a genetic link to the disease. But now they’re sure. And there’s a test she could take to find out if she has it.

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