The Novel

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a prize-less, month-long contest in which thousands around the world attempt to write their novel in one month. Thirty days, fifty thousand words minimum, and no prize at the end (save for their own satisfaction). On this week’s show we follow of National Novel Writing Month and learn a little about the novel while we’re at it. A class of Stanford students tries to finish their novels without flunking out, a San Francisco write-a-thon filled with wannabe novelists, and the elusive 150 thousand word woman. Plus interviews with a professor, a PhD, and a book critic on the history of the novel.

Host: Charlie Mintz
Producers: Lee Konstantinou, Charlie Mintz, Killeen Hanson, Dan Hirsch, Jonah Willihnganz
Featured: Emily Rials, Bianca Ceralvo, Mark McGurl, Emma Ziker, Chris Baty, Noam Cohen
Music: Max Citron
URLs: Chris Baty

Release Date: 29 December 2008

Listen to the Full Show:

Story 1: NaNoWriMo at Stanford

This story (which, if you listen to the show, will come in pieces throughout the hour) tracks the progress of a class-load of Stanford students writing their novels. Thirty days. Fifty-thousand words. Go.

Producer: Charlie Mintz

Story 2: Portrait of the Artist as a Young Novelist

Novels have always been important, but did they ever suddenly become self-important? We interview and author about the history of this monumental form of entertainment. Here is a clue: Henry James.

Producer: Lee Konstantinou

Featured: Chris Baty

image via wikipedia

Story 3: 150,000 Word Woman

Our narrator takes us into the heart of a write-a-thon, held in conjunction with NaNoWriMo. We hear plots, themes and ideas synthesized from every genre in the literary world, alongside the motivations behind the authors who take on the challenge, and some who exceed expectation.

Producer: Charlie Mintz

image via wikipedia

Story 4: The Novel Lives

In an interview with literary critic and founder of NaNoWriMo, we delve deeper than deeper into the question of the hour: exactly how dead is the novel?

Producer: Charlie Mintz

Featuring: Chris Baty

image via wikipedia

Story 5: The Death of the Death of the Novel

We interview a Stanford graduate student about his work in the story of stories. Does it ever end? He thinks so.

Producer: Lee Konstantinou

Featured: Noam Cohen

image via wikipedia

Serious Fun

We all do the things we do for fun a little bit seriously. Basketball, belly dancing, or playing in a band — these all take practice and hard work to be really fun. But some people take fun more seriously than the rest of us. Some of them are just more competitive. Some of them want to expand the arena of fine art. And some of them want to re-enchant the world. This episode has stories about a historical re-enactment society that has helped professors make new discoveries about medieval warfare, video games that are becoming professional sports, and the tragic tale of a fan club so obsessed with a character from a book that they got rid of the author. And finally, Ken Kesey reads the children’s story that he took seriously enough to say, “This was my best piece of work ever.”

Host/Producer: Rachel Hamburg
Featured: Tony Ricciardi, Patrick Thill, Joshua Landy, Michael Saler, Ken Kesey, Arthur Maddox, Michael Lawrence
Music: Kevin Macleod, The Yeltsin Collective, Arthur Maddox, William McGlaughlin, The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

Release Date: 29 January 2009

image via Wikipedia

Listen to the Full Show:


Story 1: Competitive Gaming

We explore the emerging world of competitive gaming, a not-so-distant reality where the gamers are superstars, on par with professional athletes for their prowess in the digital arena.

Producers: Tony Ricciardi and Patrick Thill
image via Wikipedia


Story 2: When Fiction is more Significant than Fact

Sherlock Holmes uses scientific reason to work through the mazes of mystical mystery. But he isn’t real. Right? For many of Arthur Conan Doyle’s readers, this truth isn’t so easy to accept.

Producer: Rachel Hamburg
Featuring: Michael Saler
image via Wikipedia


Story 3: Ken Kesey’s “Little Tricker The Squirrel Meets Big Double the Bear”

In a musically accompanied rendition of Ken Kesey’s self-acclaimed “best piece,” we find a seriously fun story of a crafty critter armed only with a good vantage point and a sly disposition.

Featuring: Ken Kesey, Arthur Maddox (composer/pianist), Steven Schuster (flute/clarinet/sax), and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center conducted by William McGlaughlin
Image via Wikipedia