LitUp Podcast

Episode 111: Zinzi Clemmons on Identity, Race & Making Sense of Grief

Episode 111: Zinzi Clemmons on Identity, Race & Making Sense of Grief

Listen to Zinzi Clemmons on the podcast here. This week I talk to debut author Zinzi Clemmons about her book “What We Lose: A Novel.” This novel signals the launch of an important new voice who we’ll be turning to to make sense of our […]

Episode 110: Rachel Khong on Food & Family Matters

Episode 110: Rachel Khong on Food & Family Matters

Listen to Rachel Khong on the pod here. Beloved food writer Rachel Khong joins us this week to talk about her debut novel Goodbye, Vitamin. Our very relaxed conversation ranges from how Rachel met her husband, the science of alzheimer’s, and more. Buy Goodbye, Vitamin here.

Episode 109: Katja Meier on Running a Refugee Home in a Tuscan Village

Episode 109: Katja Meier on Running a Refugee Home in a Tuscan Village

Listen to Katja Meier here. Without doubt this episode with Katja Meier stands out as one of the very special ones. Katja and I become “Instagram friends” (follow Katja on @anythingtuscan), meaning, we liked each other’s posts and commented on each other’s pics. When Katja told me about her […]

Episode 108: Christopher Bollen on Crafting a Thriller & the Summer Antics of the Ultra-Rich

Episode 108: Christopher Bollen on Crafting a Thriller & the Summer Antics of the Ultra-Rich

Listen to Christopher Bollen on the pod here. I’m so excited for this week because I’ve wanted to interview Chris Bollen ever since her was my boss at Interview Magazine where her was editor-in-chief for many years. This is how I described his new book in Esquire… Ever wanted […]

Episode 107: Affinity Konar on the Stories That Haunt Us

Episode 107: Affinity Konar on the Stories That Haunt Us

Listen to Affinity Konar HERE. This week Affinity Konar and I discuss her harrowing debut novel Mischling, drawn from the tragedy of Auschwitz and Josef Mengele’s experiments on identical twins during World War II. The twins Stasha and Pearl are part of the experimental population of twins […]

Episode 106: J. Courtney Sullivan on Sisters, Secrets & Irish American Families

Episode 106: J. Courtney Sullivan on Sisters, Secrets & Irish American Families

Listen to Courtney Sullivan HERE. I’ve been waiting years to have Courtney on the show and her new book finally gave me the chance! We discuss J. Courtney Sullivan’s fourth novel “Saints for All Occasions” about two sisters who leave their small Irish village to make a new life […]

Episode 105: Samantha Irby on Intentional Dating, Sexual Mishaps and Redefining Family

Episode 105: Samantha Irby on Intentional Dating, Sexual Mishaps and Redefining Family

Listen to Samantha Irby HERE. Samantha Irby amassed a cult following with her Bitches Gotta Eat blog and then she wowed her fans with her hilarious and brutally honest memoir, Meaty, which is in TV development by Jessi Klein, head writer for Inside Amy Schumer, and Broad […]

Episode 104: Lidia Yuknavitch on the Future of Our Planet, the Mythology of Joan of Arc & Smashing the Patriarchy

Episode 104: Lidia Yuknavitch on the Future of Our Planet, the Mythology of Joan of Arc & Smashing the Patriarchy

Listen to Lidia Yuknavitch HERE. I’ve been waiting two years for Lidia Yuknavitch to return to the pod. We had one of the most illuminating conversations about her novel The Small Backs of Children and her memoir the Chronology of Water, and again we waste no time […]

Episode 103: Dani Shapiro on Memory, Time & Marriage

Episode 103: Dani Shapiro on Memory, Time & Marriage

Listen to Dani Shapiro HERE. This week writer Dani Shapiro joined me to talk about her recent memoir Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, an exquisite and intimate interrogation of her 18-year marriage to “M.” The conversation ranges from the wonderful advice given by her aunt to […]

Episode 102: Jo Piazza on How to be Married

Episode 102: Jo Piazza on How to be Married

Listen to Jo Piazza HERE. In Jo Piazza’s new book “How to be Married” she travels the globe in search of answers because she’s been married a year and seems to be getting it (just a little bit) wrong. So why not ask people who’ve […]

Episode 101: Kristen Radtke on Writing From the Heart

Episode 101: Kristen Radtke on Writing From the Heart

Listen to Kristen Radtke HERE. Kristen Radtke masters a mode of storytelling that’s uniquely her own in her graphic memoir, “Imagine Wanting Only This.” Eerily-haunting, her book explores how certain special people touch and shape our lives, and why we’re sometimes attracted to places (and […]

Episode 100: Kelly Oxford on #NotOkay, Activism & Her New Book of Essays

Episode 100: Kelly Oxford on #NotOkay, Activism & Her New Book of Essays

Listen to Kelly Oxford HERE. This weeks guest, Kelly Oxford, tells it like it is — and she inspires millions of other women to speak their minds and share their experiences too. Her first book of essays “Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar” was an […]

Episode 99: Viet Thanh Nguyen on the Vietnamese-American Refugee Experience

Episode 99: Viet Thanh Nguyen on the Vietnamese-American Refugee Experience

Listen to Viet Thanh Nguyen HERE. The multi-talented Nguyen knows what it means to inhabit a life radically shaped by history. In 1975, he and his family came to The United States as refugees in the wake of the Vietnam War. His debut novel, The […]

Episode 98: Julie Buntin on the Childhood Friends That Shape Us

Episode 98: Julie Buntin on the Childhood Friends That Shape Us

Listen to Julie Buntin HERE. My brilliant and dear friend Julie Buntin joins me to dive beyond the pages of her remarkable novel, Marlena. She tells the story of two girls, Cat & Marlena, and the wild year that will cost one her life, and […]

Episode 97: Alyssa Mastromonaco on her Heady Years as President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff

Episode 97: Alyssa Mastromonaco on her Heady Years as President Obama’s Deputy Chief of Staff

Listen to Alyssa Mastromonaco HERE. Subscribe on iTunes HERE. How does a fastidious IGA check-out chick and public school kid from upstate New York, with no connections and no Ivy League education, end up a few feet from the Oval Office, working as the youngest-ever […]

Episode 96: Mohsin Hamid on Immigration, Life in Pakistan & Donald Trump

Episode 96: Mohsin Hamid on Immigration, Life in Pakistan & Donald Trump

Listen to Mohsin Hamid HERE. Sure to win a swath of awards this year, Mohsin Hamid‘s timely and important novel Exit West is about young lovers Nadia and Saeed, whose relationship is pressurized and contorted by war. In this unnamed city, suspended somewhere between the […]

Episode 95: Ariel Levy on Life Before and After “Thanksgiving in Mongolia”

Episode 95: Ariel Levy on Life Before and After “Thanksgiving in Mongolia”

Listen to Ariel Levy on the podcast HERE. This week’s guest is Ariel Levy, a self-described professional explorer. She’s crisscrossed the globe in search of these unique experiences as a staff writer for The New Yorker since 2008, and now turns her interrogative eye on […]

Episode 94: Jami Attenberg On Being your Own Kind of Grown Up

Episode 94: Jami Attenberg On Being your Own Kind of Grown Up

Listen to Jami Attenberg HERE. Jami Attenberg is the best! I’ve been waiting to have her back on the show ever since Emily and I interviewed her about her last book Saint Mazie. As you will hear, All Grown Up, knocked me about and triggered […]

Episode 93: On the Korean Immigrant Experience in Japan

Episode 93: On the Korean Immigrant Experience in Japan

Listen to Jin Min Lee HERE.  I’m excited to celebrate International Women’s Day with my convo with writer Min Jin Lee, whose latest novel Pachinko is a stellar example of female resilience through the ages. Pachinko illuminates a period of history unknown to many of us – early […]

Episode 92: Daphne Merkin on Reckoning with Depression

Episode 92: Daphne Merkin on Reckoning with Depression

Listen to Daphne’s episode HERE. Daphne Merkin is one of my favorite people and she is hands down one of the best writers I’ve ever come across. This is one of my favorite episodes. Daphne is a former staff writer for The New Yorker and […]

Episode 91: Alana Massey on the Cult of Celebrity & Being a Winona Vs a Gwyneth

Episode 91: Alana Massey on the Cult of Celebrity & Being a Winona Vs a Gwyneth

Listen to Alana Massey and Payton Costell Turner HERE. This week we bring you writer and cultural critic Alana Massey whose book of essays All The Lives I Want: Essays About My Best Friends Who Happen to be Strangers examines celebrity womanhood and how it shapes our […]

Episode 90: Jennifer Wright on How Understanding Plagues Can Help Humanity

Episode 90: Jennifer Wright on How Understanding Plagues Can Help Humanity

Listen to JENNIFER WRIGHT HERE. I’ve wanted to have Jennifer Wright on the pod ever since I read her first book, It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History. Jennifer has a rare ability to make history funny, titivating, and relevant, in way I’ve not […]

Episode 89: Ayelet Waldman on how Microdosing with LSD Changed Her Life

Episode 89: Ayelet Waldman on how Microdosing with LSD Changed Her Life

Listen to AYELET WALDMAN’S EPISODE HERE. This episode is sure to have you rethinking all you know about LSD and drugs in general. In her memoir, A Really Good Day – How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life, Ayelet […]

Episode 88: Patricia Bosworth on The Men in Her Life, Her Time at The Actors Studio & Tea with Audrey Hepburn & Givenchy

Episode 88: Patricia Bosworth on The Men in Her Life, Her Time at The Actors Studio & Tea with Audrey Hepburn & Givenchy

LISTEN TO PATRICIA’S EPIDOSE HERE. Patricia Bosworth has written biographies about Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda and Diane Arbus, and now she applies her talents to her own fascinating life in her second memoir, The Men in My Life. The book chronicles Bosworth’s adolescence and sexual awakening, her […]

Episode 87: Rachel Hulin on her Instagram novel “Hey Harry, Hey Matilda”

Episode 87: Rachel Hulin on her Instagram novel “Hey Harry, Hey Matilda”

LISTEN TO RACHEL HULIN’S EPISODE HERE. This week’s episode with writer and photographer Rachel Hulin is the perfect antidote to these politically uncertain times–sometimes you simply need to sit down with a smart and lovely person and have a conversation that snaps you into the […]

Episode 86: Roxane Gay on “Difficult Women”

Episode 86: Roxane Gay on “Difficult Women”

LISTEN TO ROXANE GAY HERE. I’ve read Roxane Gay’s work ever since I discovered her writing in grad school in 2010. Whenever there’s a huge cultural moment–a political catastrophe, an attack on Feminism, or breaking Channing Tatum news—I’m eager to see what she has to […]

Episode 85: Lucinda Rosenfeld on the Liberal Bubble, Education, and Class

Episode 85: Lucinda Rosenfeld on the Liberal Bubble, Education, and Class

Hello 2017! We are back with an exciting lineup for the year that will hopefully inspire, challenge, and provoke. LISTEN TO LUCINDA ROSENFELD HERE. This week Lucinda Rosenfeld talks about her most recent novel “Class.” The novel is as provocative as the title suggests. It’s […]

Episode 84: Julia Baird on the Real Queen Victoria

Episode 84: Julia Baird on the Real Queen Victoria

Listen to Julia Baird HERE. I’ve been following author, broadcaster, journalist, and fellow Australian Julia Baird for more than a decade. In fact, I’ve been lurking around waiting for an opportunity to speak with her because I admire her work so much. Now she’s written the […]

Episode 83: Siri Hustvedt on Art, Feminism, Psychology & the Mind/Body Conundrum

Episode 83: Siri Hustvedt on Art, Feminism, Psychology & the Mind/Body Conundrum

LISTEN to Siri Hustvedt on the pod HERE. For many years I’ve read Siri Hustvedt’s work and marveled at her intelligence. The breadth of her knowledge–of the sciences, arts and literature– is mind boggling. Now, she shares another example of her genius with the world; […]

Episode 82: David Szalay on “All That Man Is”

Episode 82: David Szalay on “All That Man Is”

Listen to David Szalay HERE. I often talk to women, but this week I reversed the trend and spoke to a man about the experience of being a man. A truly original idea! The man is David Szalay. His book, All That Man Is, shortlisted for the […]

Episode 81: Jade Chang on Times of Social Upheaval and the American Dream

Episode 81: Jade Chang on Times of Social Upheaval and the American Dream

LISTEN TO JADE CHANG HERE. There may not have been a more positive presence in the Lit Up studio than that of Jade Chang. It’s little wonder that she’s the author of the astute, funny, and sharp novel, The Wangs vs. the World, a road trip romp […]

Episode 80: Trevor Noah on Being Born a Crime

Episode 80: Trevor Noah on Being Born a Crime

LISTEN TO TREVOR NOAH HERE. Riveting. Humble. Inspiring. This is how I would describe comedian, writer, and host of The Daily Show, Trevor Noah. This week he joined me at NeueHouse, in New York, for an intimate conversation about his memoir Born a Crime, which should be required reading […]

Episode 79: Chloe Caldwell & Estelle Tang on Election WTF, Your 20s, and Hungry Ghosts

Episode 79: Chloe Caldwell & Estelle Tang on Election WTF, Your 20s, and Hungry Ghosts

LISTEN HERE. It’s been a brutal week post election, however I hope the dream-team combo of essayist and author Chloe Caldwell and Estelle Tang, the culture editor at Elle.com, will brighten your day. After spending an hour in the company of these two women I […]

Episode 78: Megan Abbott & Marcy Dermansky on the Female Psyche, Hinge Moments, and Breaking Free

Episode 78: Megan Abbott & Marcy Dermansky on the Female Psyche, Hinge Moments, and Breaking Free

LISTEN HERE. Two of my favorite writers, Marcy Dermansky and Megan Abbott, bring their grace and infectious energy the pod this week. It was such a treat to witness them engaging over each other’s work. We recorded live from Soho House in New York and […]

Episode 77: Brit Bennett On Secrets & The Decisions That Shape Us

Episode 77: Brit Bennett On Secrets & The Decisions That Shape Us

Listen HERE. It’s not often that a book gets as much buzz as Brit Bennett’s, The Mothers, and wholeheartedly delivers. Brit’s breakout novel eloquently dives head-on into taboo topics like religion and black motherhood, and explores how we’re shaped by certain pivotal decisions more than others. […]

Episode 76: Jessica Grose & Teddy Wayne on gender politics, infatuation and belonging

Episode 76: Jessica Grose & Teddy Wayne on gender politics, infatuation and belonging

Listen to the episode here. This week I was lucky enough to have two fab writers in the studio, Jessica Grose and Teddy Wayne. I have admired Jessica Grose from afar for as long as I’ve lived in the US, I’ve always connected with her work–her relentless […]

Episode 75: Maria Semple on her Witchy Powers, 90201, and Adapting to Seattle

Episode 75: Maria Semple on her Witchy Powers, 90201, and Adapting to Seattle

Listen here!  “Today will be different,” Maria Semple‘s latest novel, begins the way we might hope to begin a new day, with the words: “Today I will be present. Today, anyone I’m speaking to, I will look them in the eye and listen deeply. . . . […]

Episode 74: Anuradha Roy on Womanhood in India

Episode 74: Anuradha Roy on Womanhood in India

  Immerse yourself in the life of a young documentarian searching for her roots in a seaside Indian pilgrim town in Sleeping on Jupiter, Anuradha Roy’s most recent novel about the legacy of war and the state of womanhood in India. One of the pleasures of […]

Episode 73: Emma Donoghue on Fasting, Fairies, and More

Episode 73: Emma Donoghue on Fasting, Fairies, and More

  This week we have Emma Donoghue on the show to talk about her latest novel, The Wonder. She’s the author of five story collections and eight other novels, including Room (2010), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker prize and adapted, with a screenplay by Donoghue, […]

Episode 72: Jessica Bennett & Aminatou Sow on Fighting Sexism & the Patriarchy at Work

Episode 72: Jessica Bennett & Aminatou Sow on Fighting Sexism & the Patriarchy at Work

  This week we recorded live from NeueHouse Madison Square with award-winning journalist and critic Jessica Bennett, and consultant and co-host of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, Aminatou Sow. We gathered to talk about Jessica’s new book Feminist Fight Club, an incisive guide to navigating subtle sexism at […]

Episode 71: Ann Patchett on Step Families, and Lasting Bonds

Episode 71: Ann Patchett on Step Families, and Lasting Bonds

Bestselling author—winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize—Ann Patchett delights us with stories from her childhood, the inspiration for her new novel Commonwealth. Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how a chance encounter at a Sunday afternoon, gin-fueled party, reverberates through the lives of […]

Episode 70: Revisting Mary-Louise Parker on Men and Motherhood

Episode 70: Revisting Mary-Louise Parker on Men and Motherhood

  We’re republishing one of our favorite interviews, with actress and writer Mary-Louise Parker. If you missed it the first time, I hope you’ll take a listen now. As many of you know, Mary-Louise is the Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe award-winning actress and writer […]

Episode 69: Steph Opitz and Rachel Fershleiser on Summer Reads

Episode 69: Steph Opitz and Rachel Fershleiser on Summer Reads

This week we decided to switch it up and have two of our favorite literary professionals share their favorite books of the season. Steph Opitz is the books reviewer for Marie Claire magazine and celebrates books via work with the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and the […]

Episode 68: Colson Whitehead on The Underground Railroad

Episode 68: Colson Whitehead on The Underground Railroad

Our guest this week is Colson Whitehead. His latest novel, The Underground Railroad, chronicles a young slave’s adventures, from the hellish Georgia plantation where she is born, through many treacherous Southern states with varying barbaric laws, towards freedom in the north. This is an extraordinary, brutal, and […]

Episode 67: Nadja Spiegleman on mother daughter relationships & family legacy

Episode 67: Nadja Spiegleman on mother daughter relationships & family legacy

  This week our guest Nadja Spiegleman takes us deep into her family history. Be warned; her revelations are sure to spark some of your own. Nadja’s memoir, “I’m Supposed To Protect You From All This” is a riveting examination of the interconnected nature and […]

Episode 66: Jessi Klein on Facing Fear, Speaking Up & Modern Femininity

Episode 66: Jessi Klein on Facing Fear, Speaking Up & Modern Femininity

Jessi Klein has been making us laugh and challenging our ideas about womanhood, feminism, and issues like age-ism, gun control, and online harassment as the head writer and executive producer of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer for years.  Now, you can get 100% pure Klein in […]

Episode 65: Jay McInerney on his Heady Early NY Years & “Bright, Precious Days”

Episode 65: Jay McInerney on his Heady Early NY Years & “Bright, Precious Days”

For those of us who ever dreamed of living in New York City, Jay McInerney’s cult sensation “Bright Lights, Big City” fueled and formed our impressions of the city. Particularly the possibility of bumping into our literary heroes and partying with them until the wee […]

Episode 64: Nicole Dennis-Benn and BuzzFeed’s Annie Daly on the Real Jamaica

Episode 64: Nicole Dennis-Benn and BuzzFeed’s Annie Daly on the Real Jamaica

Our guests this week are novelist Nicole Dennis-Benn and BuzzFeed Travel Editor Annie Daly. Together, we talk about Nicole’s debut novel “Here Comes the Sun,” a riveting look at the Jamaica beyond the pristine beaches and resorts that cater to foreigners. The novel closely examines […]

Episode 63: Stephanie Danler on coming of age in NYC, food culture, and lessons learned

Episode 63: Stephanie Danler on coming of age in NYC, food culture, and lessons learned

Not since Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential” and Gabrielle Hamilton’s “Blood, Bones and Butter” has there been a more hotly anticipated book set in the restaurant world than Stephanie Danler‘s debut novel, “Sweetbitter.” And, boy, does it deliver. The story swirls and crashes around its central […]

Episode 62: English Philosopher Alain de Botton on Keeping Love Alive

Episode 62: English Philosopher Alain de Botton on Keeping Love Alive

If you’ve ever been in love, had your heart broken, been in had a relationship, or yearned for one, this week’s episode is for you — in other words, if you’re a human, you’ll benefit from listening to the wise words of world-renowned philosopher and writer Alain […]

Episode 61: Revisiting the Genius of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Through Irin Carmon

Episode 61: Revisiting the Genius of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Through Irin Carmon

With all the controversy surrounding the Supreme Court and the upcoming election and the landmark opinion written by Justice Stephen Breyer last week that struck down a Texas law that would have closed all but nine abortion clinics in the state–supported by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg–it seemed […]

Episode 60: Arianna Huffington on the Science of Sleep

Episode 60: Arianna Huffington on the Science of Sleep

This week Arianna Huffington brings her warmth, wit and wisdom to the show. It was an honor hear about her life–from growing up in Athens, to Cambridge at sixteen, to moving to New York and founding one of the most powerful media companies in the […]

Episode 59: Max Porter on the Realities of Grief

Episode 59: Max Porter on the Realities of Grief

Sometimes a book comes along and knocks you off kilter–revealing your fears and longings–reminding you how to love and live better. Grief Is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter is one such book. This astonishing, rowdy, rude, and brilliant novel dramatizes one family’s experience of mourning with […]