Curtain Call: No Return

If you still don’t have tickets to see our latest Seriously Entertaining show, No Return, you’re reaching the point thereof, as it’s tonight! Join us at City Winery in New York City for an evening taking in music, poetry, comedy, horror, and a little papal politics as we lay on a mega-selling, award-winning, genius-laden line-up for your intellectual pleasure.

Ian Caldwell‘s first novel, The Rule of Four (Random House, 2004), spent forty-nine weeks on The New York Times best seller list, and was a huge hit around the world. Now he’s back, with The Fifth Gospel (Simon & Schuster, 2015), “a suspenseful, trust-no-one journey through the Vatican’s libraries, courts, and parking garages all the way to the Pope’s private rooms” (read our review). In this interview, Ian reveals some of the amazing stories he discovered during his decade-long research for The Fifth Gospel. The Vatican, for example, is “even smaller than a golf course… it would fit in just one corner of Central Park;” and yet “it has the highest crime rate in the world…”

Meredith Scardino: “I don’t believe comedy has limits. My personal rule when it comes to touchier subject matter is: never attack the victim. As many comedy writers say, punch up not down.” Read our interview with Meredith in full here. As a writer on The Colbert Report, Meredith won four Emmys. Her latest show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which debuted on Netflix on Friday, is bringing her a whole new world of acclaim. In this hilarious panel interview, her appearance on Cash Cab becomes a metaphor for her singularity in the world of late-night comedy: “I don’t necessarily feel like the only woman…” Follow Meredith on Twitter.

A.E. Stallings has published three poetry collections to date: Archaic Smile (1999), Hapax (2006), and Olives (2012), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Read our review of Olives. Alicia has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation. In this interview, she discusses what made her a poet: “Very early on, I was attracted to the sounds of poetry, the mystery of poetry, I guess, as children are. Maybe I always had better luck with poetry, I guess, than prose. So somehow we attracted each other!”

R.L. Stine: “I think there’s a very close relationship between humor and horror. When you go near a rollercoaster, you hear people screaming — and laughing — at the same time.” Check out our interview with Bob Stine, whose horror books have sold over four hundred million copies, here. Bob’s most successful work includes the Goosebumps series, currently being made into a movie starring Jack Black as Stine, and the ongoing Fear Street series. In this interview, Bob reflects on twenty-one years of Goosebumps — “it’s about 115 books… usually when I say that number, I have to go take a nap” — and the “secret kids’ network” that sells his books. Visit Bob’s website and follow him on Twitter.

Ben Yagoda is the author of numerous books, including About Town: The New Yorker and the World it Made (2000); Memoir: A History (2009); and How to Not Write Bad: The Most Common Writing Problems and the Best Ways to Avoid Them (2013). His most recent book, The B-Side: The Death of Tin Pan Alley and the Rebirth of the Great American Song (Penguin Publishing Group, 2015), takes a look at the art of American songwriting, from 1920s Tin Pan Alley through the glory days of the Broadway musical to Pet Sounds, Burt Bacharach, and Lennon & McCartney. Read our review. In this playlist, listen to “a highly subjective introduction” to the Great American Songbook, courtesy of Ben. Visit Ben’s website and follow him on Twitter.

As always, please do carry on the conversation with us online!


Barnes & Noble
Hughes Hubbard & Reed
Joe's Pub
Citrin Cooperman