The New York Public Library Podcast

The New York Public Library Podcast


Join The New York Public Library and your favorite writers, artists, and thinkers for smart talks and provocative conversations from the nation’s cultural capital.


Margaret Atwood on Shakespeare in the 21st Century and on YouTube  

Four hundred years after William Shakespeare’s death, Margaret Atwood retells one of his most beloved plays, The Tempest, with a dark and fantastical interpretation in her new book, Hag-Seed. This week on the podcast, Atwood is joined in conversation by celebrated actress Fiona Shaw for a discussion of the Bard and his influence on their work.

Mona Eltahawy and Yasmine El Rashidi on White Feminism and the Privilege to Protest  

The original Antigone may be from antiquity, but our current era abounds with women fighting unabashedly for what they believe. This week on the podcast, we welcome journalist, feminist, and author of Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution, Mony Eltahawy. As you’ll hear is a force to be reckoned with and an embodiment of this spirit. She is joined by yet another fierce and powerful author and journalist, Yasmine El Rashidi.

Sally Mann on Cy Twombly and the Babushkas Who Saved Russian Art  

Perhaps the most permanent - and essential - character in Sally Mann’s work is that of place: the American South. Her home of Lexington, VA is not just the set for her most powerful work; it is also the place where she met fellow artist and friend, Cy Twombly. The photographs from her new book, Remembered Light: Cy Twombly in Lexington, are featured in an exhibition at Gagosian Gallery; and she had many stories to tell when she sat down for a conversation NYPL’s Paul Holdengräber.

Yanis Varoufakis and Noam Chomsky on Money and The Sickest Joke in the History of Humankind  

Yanis Varoufakis considers himself a politician by necessity, not by choice. An economist and academic by training, he became Greece’s finance minister amidst the country's financial crisis, creating an image for himself both beloved and reviled. He came to the Library last April to discuss this complicated role and his recent book, And the Weak Suffer What They Must?: Europe's Crisis and America's Economic Future. He was joined in conversation by renowned academic and theorist Noam Chomsky.

Alan Cumming on Memory, Gore Vidal, and Monica Lewinsky  

He enthralls audiences with his colorful roles, but Alan Cumming’s real-life adventures pack just as much punch. This week we’re bringing you the first event from our Fall LIVE series as Paul Holdengräber and the award-winning actor in a conversation as whimsical and mischievous as Cumming’s new book of photographs and essays, You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams: My Life in Stories and Pictures.

Edwidge Danticat on Silence, Bridging Audiences, and Participating in Stories  

This week, we’re going back into the archives to bring you a conversation with Hatian-American novelist and short story writer Edwidge Danticat. When she came the Library in 2010, she discussed her book CREATE DANGEROUSLY: The Immigrant Artist at Work with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber. Their conversation covered central questions of her book including what it means to be an immigrant and an artist, and to bo be working out of one’s homeland.

Werner Herzog on Death, Executioners, and Advice for Filmmakers  

This week, we celebrate legendary film director Werner Herzog’s birthday with a thrilling conversation from the archives. In 2012, Herzog came to the Library to discuss his most recent film, “Into the Abyss,” as well as his four-part television series, “Death Row.” In this conversation with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber, Herzog talks about crime, human nature, and why he stands so firmly against capital punishment.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Walter Mosley on Empire, English, and Beethoven  

On this week’s podcast, we welcome basketball legend, activist, and bestselling author Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who came to the Library this summer for a conversation with his hero, critically acclaimed author Walter Mosley. In this thought-provoking conversation, Abdul-Jabbar and Mosley talk about fiction, racial injustice, and the nature of truth.

Maggie Nelson & Wayne Koestenbaum on Clarity & Cruelty  

Bestselling author Maggie Nelson's latest book, “The Argonauts,” received the 2016 National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism. In this conversation with poet and critic Wayne Koestenbaum, Nelson talks about justice, empathy, and the nature of grief.

Colson Whitehead on "The Underground Railroad" & Poker  

Macarthur Award-winning author Colson Whitehead's latest book, “The Underground Railroad,” was released August 2nd to widespread critical acclaim and recently named an Oprah’s Book Club Pick. The author, a former fellow at NYPL’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, came to the Library in 2015 to discuss his book “The Noble Hustle: Poker, Beef Jerky & Death,” which chronicles his experience as an amateur card player trying his hand at the World Series of Poker. In this conversation with NYPL’s Jessica Strand, Whitehead talks about what he learned about the human condition in Las Vegas—and discusses the early stages of writing what would become this year’s hit, “The Underground Railroad.”

Kevin Young & Gabrielle Hamilton on Food & Poetry  

Award-winning poet Kevin Young will be joining the NYPL family this fall as the new director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He came to the Library last November for a talk with chef and writer Gabrielle Hamilton, owner of the acclaimed New York City restaurant Prune and author of the memoir “Blood, Bones, & Butter.” In this wide-ranging conversation, co-presented by The Academy of American Poets, Young and Hamilton talk about food, verse, and the links between sense and memory.

Siddhartha Mukherjee on Genetics & Storytelling  

Renowned cancer physician and researcher Siddhartha Mukherjee came to the Library this spring to discuss his new book “The Gene: An Intimate History,” a fascinating examination of our understanding of human heredity and its influence on our personalities, fates, and choices. In this conversation with “The New Yorker” editor David Remnick, Mukherjee talks about medicine, writing, and the links between biology and personal narrative.

Laurie Anderson on Melville, Opera, and Mystery  

Writer, artist and vocalist Laurie Anderson, one of America’s most renowned and daring creative pioneers, came to the Library this spring to discuss her life and work. In this conversation with NYPL’s Paul Holdengraber, Anderson talks about art, inspiration, and trusting the physical.

Derek Walcott on Hemingway, the Caribbean, & First Love  

We’re celebrating Ernest Hemingway’s birthday with an event from the archives. Nobel Prize winning poet Derek Walcott gives us a new appreciation of Hemingway as a great and influential Caribbean writer, discussing Hemingway's influence on his writing, and paying tribute to him with readings of his own poems.

John Lithgow & James Shapiro on Guy Fawkes & Falling for Shakespeare  

This week, we’re thrilled to welcome acclaimed author and Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro in a talk with Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe Award-winning actor John Lithgow. In a conversation that covers drama, language, and the relationship between history and art, the two discuss Shapiro’s latest book, “The Year of Lear: Shakespeare in 1606”—which examines how tumultuous events in England in 1606 affected Shakespeare and shaped the three great tragedies he wrote that year: "King Lear," "Macbeth," and "Antony & Cleopatra."

The World in Words Presents: From Ainu to Zaza  

This week, we’re bringing you a very special episode produced in partnership with Public Radio International. Along with a panel of speakers including NYPL’s Denise Hibay, the World in Words’ hosts Patrick Cox and Nina Porzucki examine the state of endangered languages around the world: Why do languages become endangered, and how have some speakers worked to ensure a future for their native tongues? In this special live podcast taping, we explore what’s happening to endangered languages from Ainu to Zaza.

Geoff Dyer on Class in America  

Award-winning English author Geoff Dyer came to the Library this spring to discuss his latest book, “White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World.” In this conversation with NYPL’s Jessica Strand, Dyer talks about travel, unexpected awareness, and looking for meaning in the world around you.

Bruce Davidson & Matt Dillon on Lasting Impressions  

Award-winning photographer Bruce Davidson's prolific body of work includes documentations of the 1960s Civil Rights movement and the gritty underbelly of New York City in the late 70s. He came to the Library this spring for a conversation with Academy Award-winning actor Matt Dillon, who is a great admirer and collector of Davidson’s work. In this riveting discussion between the two great artists, Davidson and Dillon talk about images, storytelling, and the joy of working in silence.

Padma Lakshmi on NYC & the Greatest Gift  

Padma Lakshmi, author and Emmy-nominated host of “Top Chef,” came to the Library to mark the release of her debut memoir, “Love, Loss, and What We Ate.” In this conversation with NYPL’s Jessica Strand, Lakshmi talks about food, family, and the importance of being raised by strong women.

Jill Leovy on Murder in America  

This week, we bring you a conversation with the 2016 winner of The Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. Each year the award is given to journalists whose books have brought clarity and public attention to important issues, events, or policies. This year’s winner, Jill Leovy, explores the country’s murder epidemic and the long-standing plague of black homicide in her bestselling book, “Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America.” In this conversation with NYPL’s Jessica Strand, Leovy talks about race, violence, and the search for justice in the face of tragedy.

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