Episode 24: Adam Johnson on Finding the Light in the Darkness

This week we were greatly humbled by our guest the Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Adam Johnson, who generously regaled us with stories of his time in North Korea, his unusual childhood, and family matters close to the heart.

Just a few days after recording with us, his most recent story collection Fortune Smiles was nominated for the National Book Award!  Here, in one of our most thrilling conversations to date, we discuss this poignant and witty book, and, we delve into the many themes touched upon in his masterpiece The Orphan Master’s Son.

This is one of those rare interviews that makes us so thankful we are doing this podcast. We hope you enjoy it too.


Adam Johnson is also the author of The Orphan Master’s Son, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the California Book Award, and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. It was named one of the best books of the year by more than a dozen publications, including The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, and Entertainment Weekly. Johnson’s other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers’ Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship; he was also a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. His previous books are Emporium, a short story collection, and the novel Parasites Like Us. Johnson teaches creative writing at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.

Fortune Smiles Adam J

Buy Fortune Smiles at your local independent bookstore, on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Buy The Orphan Master’s Son on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or at your favorite independent bookstore.

Related Posts

Episode 25: Lauren Groff on Sex, Marriage, and Feminism

This week Emily and I were lucky enough to chat with Lauren Groff about her most recent novel Fates and Furies. Just days before, the book was long listed for The National Book Award for Fiction, so of course we needed to celebrate. We apologize […]

Episode 23: The Wit & Wisdom of Margo Jefferson

Our guest this week is the Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson author (most recently) of her controversial and revealing memoir, Negroland. The touching and piercing book speaks to her experience of growing up in the black elite of Chicago in the 60s and 70s. […]