Posts From Author: walt whitman

Writers and Storytelling: Rebecca Onion

Rebecca Onion lives in Athens, Ohio, and writes about culture, history, family, and (sometimes) food for magazines, newspapers, and the Internet. She is currently a staff writer for She has also written for Aeon Magazine, the Boston Globe’s Ideas section, the Virginia Quarterly Review, The Atlantic‘s website, Topic Magazine, the Austin-American Statesman, PBS’ American Experience website, and others. Rebecca holds a Ph.D and an MA in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin, and a BA in American Studies from Yale University. Her book, Innocent Experiments: Childhood and the Culture of Public Science in the United States, was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2016. She will be joining Mike Soto, Merrill Markoe, and Aaron Hutcherson on November 17 to tell stories tied to the theme “Up in Smoke.” Register here for the show! What are you reading right now for solace or escape? Doomsday Book, by Connie Willis – this is a Hugo-winning novel from 1992 that’s about time-traveling historians who mistakenly send a student back to the time of the Black Death. (Your definition of “solace or escape” may vary!) If you could live inside a fictional world, which one would you choose? […]
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Seriously Questioning…John Burnham Schwartz

John Burnham Schwartz is the author of five acclaimed novels, including The Commoner, Claire Marvel, Bicycle Days, Reservation Road, which was made into a motion picture based on his screenplay, and his new novel, The Red Daughter. His books have been translated into two dozen languages, and his writing has appeared in many publications, including The New Yorker and The New York Times. A winner of the Lyndhurst Foundation Award for mastery in the art of fiction, Schwartz has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Harvard University, and Sarah Lawrence College, and is currently literary director of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. On June 18, he will be speaking at House of SpeakEasy’s Seriously Entertaining show, The Song Sings Itself, alongside Michael Bronski, Trish Hall, and Darcey Steinke.  We spoke to John ahead of the show. What is your earliest memory involving reading or writing? There was a picture-book author who was a friend of my aunt’s.  When I was quite small, he generously promised me that he would put me in his next book – and then one day the book arrived, and there it was: my name, written into the drawing of a truck.  He had put me inside a story!  […]
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In Case of Emergency…

It was a well-travelled audience that left City Winery on Monday night after the House of SpeakEasy’s latest literary cabaret, In Case of Emergency. From Sierra Leone to Delhi via 1930s New York and a near-miss with the Mob went writer-performer-stars Daniel Bergner, Maggie Shipstead, Leonard Lopate, J.D. McClatchy and Amor Towles. It was Seriously Entertaining stuff. Daniel Bergner kicked off with a great tale of magic and medicine in Sierra Leone. Taking up the story of Michael Josiah, who appears in his 2003 book In the Land of Magic Soldiers, Bergner spoke about his “two lives, two minds”. Josiah was always determined to become a doctor, and studied (western) medicine so enthusiastically that he would continue to do so by candlelight long into the night. But when disrupted, as he often was, by the irruption of fighting in Sierra Leone’s civil war, he would join up with the Kamajors, a group of warriors purported to possess magical powers, the potential to cure cancer, and the ability to dodge bullets. Bergner described several occasions when he was invited to watch the Kamajors’ miracles in person. Slathered in a sacred liquid, the soldiers would become apparently impervious to injury. Indeed, Josiah encouraged him […]
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