Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A new year brings two related anniversaries


Happy New Year! I hope 2019 holds blessings for all. I have expressed my personal wishes elsewhere. This is my professional greeting.

The year just started brings two related anniversaries.

The first is the 30th anniversary of the publication of my first book, the horror novel “Thunder Rise” (horror/sci-fi/mystery is another of my writing lives) God willing and the creek don’t rise (you Irish folks can appreciate that), I’ll post more about the book that began my author career come September, 30 years (gasp) after “Thunder Rise”  landed on shelves.

The second is far more recent: the two-year anniversary of the debut of Story in the Public Square, the weekly and since September 2018 the national PBS and SiriusXM Satellite Radio show that I co-host and co-host with my good friend Jim Ludes.

The maiden Story broadcast, on January 14, 2017, featured Tom Nichols, of the Naval War College. Tom was the first of more than 40 authors who have appeared on our weekly show (with many more lined up for 2019). Many of these individuals wear other hats, but they are authors and they know that entering the authorial world is a milestone made possible only by means of dedication, discipline and old-fashioned elbow grease that anyone who has worked hard to achieve in any field understands.


Having myself passed that milestone 30 years ago and having never stopped writing books – it becomes a nagging part of your DNA – you fellow authors know whereof I speak! -- I began to support and encourage others who aspired to be published, or already were.

I did my best to park my ego at the door and mentor, applaud or listen to others I knew or who sought my counsel. Except for the readings and appearances, writing books is a lonely and frequently fruitless passion (think: trunk novel). It helps to have someone in your corner who has experienced the allure and frustration of the blank page -- and the magic of the filled.

So we have made a home for authors on Story in the Public Square. They come to us from Rhode Island and around the country, and from houses including Simon & Schuster, PublicAffairs, Penguin Random House and Harper Collins, and many university and niche presses.

Some are friends and former Providence Journal colleagues: Dan Barry and C.J. Chivers of The New York Times, and Kevin Sullivan, who co-authors with his wife and fellow Washington Post writer Mary Jordan. But most are people I had never met, except on the page, until they journeyed to our flagship station, Rhode Island PBS, to go before the camera.

In random order, these authors (in addition to Barry, Jordan, Sullivan and Chivers) have appeared on episodes of Story in the Public Square:

Alan Lightman, John Kerry, Mark Blyth, Padma Venkatraman, Sandeep Jauhar, Ross Douthat, Daniela Lamas, Larry Tye, Martin Puchner, Timothy Edgar, Omer Bartov, Margalit Fox, Eve Ewing, Tara Copp, Chris Brown, John Farrell, Tricia Rose, Julian Chambliss, Jeffrey Lewis, Sister Helen Prejean and Jed Shugerman.

Also, Heather Ann Thompson, Kenneth R. Miller, Teja Arboleda, David Jones, Paul Gionfriddo, Jason Healey, Allan A. Ryan, Oona A. Hathaway, Scott Shapiro, Michael D. Kennedy, Christopher Vials, Daniel W. Drezner, Robert B. Hackey, Adam Segal, Charles Dorn, Edward Luce and Gregg Easterbrook.

Thanks to our Story authors, and may 2019 bring more wonderful words from all of you!
You can learn more about Story authors – and the full list of all of our guests and links to their appearances -- at https://pellcenter.org/story-in-the-public-square/episodes/https://pellcenter.org/story-in-the-public-square/episodes/

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