TPR's Literary Moments injects writing and literature into the TPR experience, on-air, online and in-person. Lifelong learning, arts and culture are fundamental to TPR’s community.
Whether international or locally-based, participants will be writers of non-fiction, novels, short stories, poetry and all genres of written-word expression.
- Marcelo Hernandez Castillo is the author of Cenzontle, winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. prize, winner of the 2019 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award in poetry, a finalist for the Norther California Book Award, and named a best book of 2018 by NPR and the New York Public Library. As one of the founders of the Undocupoets campaign, he is a recipient of the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award. He holds a B.A. from Sacramento State University and was the first undocumented student to graduate from the Helen Zell Writers Program at the University of Michigan. His work has appeared or is featured in the New York Times, the Paris Review, People Magazine, and PBS Newshour, among others. He lives in Marysville, California where he teaches poetry to incarcerated youth and also teaches at the Ashland University Low-Res MFA program. His latest book is Children of the Land: A Memoir.
- Deborah Paredez is a poet and interdisciplinary performance scholar whose lectures and publications examine Black and Latina/o popular culture, poetry of war and witness, feminist elegy, cultural memory, and the role of divas in American culture. She is the author of the poetry collection, This Side of Skin and the award-winning critical study, Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory. She also serves as co-editor of the CantoMundo Poetry Series published by the University of Arkansas Press. Her poetry and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, Boston Review, Poetry, Callaloo, Feminist Studies, and elsewhere. Born and raised in San Antonio, she has lived on both coasts, endured a handful of Chicago winters, and taught American poetry in Paris, while remaining rooted in her Tejana love of Selena and the Spurs. She currently lives with her husband, historian Frank Guridy, and their daughter in New York City where she is a professor of creative writing and ethnic studies at Columbia University and the co-founder and co-director of CantoMundo, a national organization for Latina/o poets. Her latest poetry collection is Year of the Dog.
- Téa Obreht is the author of The Tiger’s Wife, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the 2011 Orange Prize for Fiction. An international bestseller, it has sold over a million copies worldwide, with rights sold in 37 countries. Obreht was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and was named by the New Yorker as one of the 20 best American fiction writers under 40. She was the 2013 Rona Jaffe Foundation fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers and was a recipient of the 2016 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. She was born in Belgrade, in the former Yugoslavia, in 1985 and has lived in the United States since the age of twelve. She currently lives in New York City and teaches at Hunter College. Her latest novel is Inland.
- Stephen Harrigan has devoted much of his life to exploring and explaining Texas, ever since his family crossed the Red River from Oklahoma in 1953. He is the author of numerous works of nonfiction and fiction, including the critically acclaimed novels A Friend of Mr. Lincoln, Remember Ben Clayton, and the New York Times bestseller The Gates of the Alamo. He is a longtime writer for Texas Monthly and an award-winning screenwriter who has written many movies for television. His latest book is Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas.
- Ada Calhoun is the author of the memoir Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give, named an Amazon Book of the Month and one of the top ten memoirs of 2017 by W Magazine; and the history St. Marks Is Dead, one of the best books of 2015, according to Kirkus Reviews and the Boston Globe. She has collaborated on several New York Times bestsellers, and written for the New York Times, New York, and the New Republic. Calhoun will be talking about her new book, Why We Can’t Sleep: Women’s New Midlife Crisis, at this year’s Festival.
- Marcia Chatelain is a professor of history and African American studies at Georgetown University, and is a leading public voice on the history of race, education, and food culture. The author of South Side Girls, Chatelain lives in Washington, DC. Her latest book is Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America.
- Joe Holley, a columnist for the Houston Chronicle and a retired editorial writer, was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize finalist for a series of editorials on gun control and Texas gun culture. A former editor of the Texas Observer and a staff writer for the Washington Post, he’s the author of six books, including Hometown Texas, a collection of his weekly “Native Texan” columns, and Hurricane Season: The Unforgettable Story of the Houston Astros and the Resilience of a City. A native Texan, he and his wife Laura live in Austin. His most recent work is Sutherland Springs: God, Guns, and Hope in a Texas Town.
- Peniel E. Joseph is the Barbara Jordan Chair in Ethics and Political Values at the LBJ School of Public Affairs and professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin. He has written several previous books on African American history, including Stokely: A Life. Joseph’s latest book is The Sword and the Shield: The Revolutionary Lives of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. He lives in Austin.
- Attica Locke is the author of Pleasantville, which won the 2016 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was long-listed for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction; Black Water Rising, which was nominated for an Edgar Award; The Cutting Season, a national bestseller and winner of the Ernest Gaines Award for Literary Excellence; and Bluebird, Bluebird: A Highway 59 Mystery, which received the 2018 Edgar Award for Best Novel. She was a writer and producer on the Fox drama Empire. A native of Houston, Attica lives in Los Angeles, California, with her husband and daughter. Locke’s latest book is Heaven, My Home: A Highway 59 Mystery.
- Elizabeth Wetmore is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her fiction has appeared in Epoch, Kenyon Review, Colorado Review, Baltimore Review, Crab Orchard Review, Iowa Review, and other literary journals. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council, as well as a grant from the Barbara Deming Foundation. She was also a Rona Jaffe Scholar in Fiction at Bread Loaf, a Fellow at the MacDowell Colony, and one of six Writers in Residence at Hedgebrook. Her debut novel is titled Valentine. A native of West Texas, she lives and works in Chicago.
- Jaquira Díaz was born in Puerto Rico. Her work has been published in Rolling Stone, the Guardian, Longreads, the Fader, and T: the New York Times Style Magazine, and included in The Best American Essays 2016. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, an Elizabeth George Foundation grant, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Kenyon Review, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Her latest book is Ordinary Girls. She lives in Miami Beach with her partner, the writer Lars Horn.
- Yvette D. Benavides is a professor of English and creative writing at Our Lady of the Lake University. She writes for Texas Public Radio, the San Antonio Express-News, and other media. She is currently editing an anthology series, EQ: Creative Nonfiction on Social Equity, from Trinity University Press. Her latest work can be seen in San Antonio 365: On This Day in History, co-written with her husband, David Martin Davies.
- David Martin Davies is a veteran journalist with more than thirty years’ experience covering Texas, the border, and Mexico. He hosts Texas Public Radio’s The Source and Texas Matters. His reporting has been featured on National Public Radio, American Public Media’s Marketplace, and the BBC, and he has written for the San Antonio Express-News, the Texas Observer, and other publications. In 2019, Davies was honored with a National Edward R. Murrow Award and a First Amendment Award by the Fort Worth Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. His latest work is San Antonio 365: On This Day in History, co-written with his wife, Yvette D. Benavides.
On April 30 and May 1, TPR and the San Antonio Book Festival partnered on a virtual book festival that brought presentations from 13 authors to TPR listeners and followers. With this year’s event canceled, writers who were scheduled to participate provided short readings and contemplations about their writings.
Literary Moments were aired during Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and throughout the day. Also, during the two days, brief on-air spots voiced by the Book Festival’s Lilly Gonzales and Clay Smith, invited listeners to learn more about the San Antonio Book Festival, stay tuned for dates of future events and to support the San Antonio Library Foundation.
In addition to on-air spots from authors, TPR shared the readings across social media accounts and cross-promoted with the San Antonio Public Library, the Library Foundation and the Book Festival. Building upon a longtime alliance between TPR and the book festival, during stay-at-home orders, this project helped keep the book festival top-of-mind with the audience.