The New Yorker Radio Hour


Profiles, storytelling and insightful conversations, hosted by David Remnick.


New York, NY


Profiles, storytelling and insightful conversations, hosted by David Remnick.




Salman Rushdie on Surviving the Fatwa

Thirty-four years ago, the Ayatollah Khomeini, the Supreme Leader of Iran, issued a fatwa calling for the assassination of the novelist Salman Rushdie, whose book “The Satanic Verses” Khomeini declared blasphemous. It caused a worldwide uproar. Rushdie lived in hiding in London for a decade before moving to New York, where he began to let his guard down. “I had come to feel that it was a very long time ago and, and that the world moves on,” he tells David Remnick. “That’s what I had agreed...


Bonnie Raitt Talks with David Remnick

You couldn’t write a history of American music without a solid chapter on Bonnie Raitt. From her roots as a blues guitarist, she’s created a gorgeous melange of rock, R. & B., blues, folk, and country—helping to establish a new category now known as Americana. But she’s far from resting on her laurels; her latest album, “Just Like That . . . ,” is nominated for four Grammy Awards this year, including Song of the Year—a category in which her competition includes Beyoncé and Adele, stars a...


The Custody Battles Awaiting Mothers of Children Conceived in Rape

Exceptions in the case of rape used to be considered a necessity in abortion legislation, even within the pro-life movement. But today ten states have no rape exception in their abortion laws, and more will likely consider moving in that direction this year. “I think few people understand how common this scenario actually is,” the contributing writer Eren Orbey, who has reported on the issue, says; according to C.D.C. statistics, nearly three million women have become pregnant as a result of...


What Exactly Does “Woke” Mean, and How Did It Become so Powerful?

Many on the right blame “wokeness” for all of America’s ills—everything from deadly mass shootings to lower military recruitment. Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, recently signed a so-called Stop WOKE Act into law, and made the issue the center of his midterm victory speech. In Washington, there has been talk in the House of forming an “anti-woke caucus.” “I think ‘woke’ is a very interesting term right now, because I think it’s an unusable word—although it is used all the time—because it...


Michael Schulman on Oscars History, and a Visit with “Annie” Composer Charles Strouse

Despite years of controversy, the Academy Awards and the other awards shows remain must-watch television for many Americans. The awards may be “unreliable as a pure measure of cinematic worth,” Schulman tells David Remnick. “But I would argue that the Oscars are sort of a decoder ring for cultural conflict and where the industry is headed,” Schulman says. “They are a way to understand where pop culture is.” With theatre attendance in continuing decline, the Academy is looking for solutions,...


A Local Paper First Sounded the Alarm on George Santos. Nobody Listened.

George Santos is hardly the first scammer elected to office—but his lies, David Remnick says, are “extra.” Most Americans learned of Santos’s extraordinary fabrications from a New York Times report published after the midterm election, but a local newspaper called the North Shore Leader was sounding the alarm months before. The New Yorker staff writer Clare Malone took a trip to Long Island to speak with the Leader’s publisher, Grant Lally, and its managing editor, Maureen Daly, to find out...


Deepti Kapoor Discusses “Age of Vice” with Parul Sehgal

Deepti Kapoor describes New Delhi, the setting of her novel “Age of Vice” as “extremely beautiful, but also violent. . . . It’s a place where you think you’re gonna get cheated and robbed until someone does something incredibly kind and breaks your heart.” The highly anticipated book, published simultaneously in twenty countries this month, is part crime thriller, part family saga centered on a reckless playboy who wants to break away from his mob family; a young man working as a servant to...


In Politics, How Old Is Too Old?

It wasn’t so long ago that Ronald Reagan was considered over the hill, too old to govern. Now a sitting President has turned eighty in office, and a Presidential contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump would put two near-eighty-year-olds against each other. (Trump—while denying President Biden’s fitness—commented, “Life begins at eighty.”) Yet the question of age has not disappeared; even some of Biden’s ardent supporters have expressed concerns about him starting a second term. David...


The Photographer Who Documented a Long-Forgotten Pan-African Festival

Forty-six years ago, a young photographer named Marilyn Nance got the opportunity of a lifetime. A student at the Pratt Institute, an art school in Brooklyn, Nance had never left the country. But she became one of the official photographers documenting a festival in Lagos, Nigeria, called FESTAC ’77. The monthlong festival featured artists from across Africa and the diaspora, and has been described as the most important Black cultural event of the twentieth century. But, on returning from...


Bob Woodward on His Trump Tapes

Bob Woodward is not one to editorialize. But, during his interviews with Donald Trump at the time of the COVID-19 crisis, Woodward found himself shouting at the President—explaining how to make a decision and trying to browbeat him into listening to public-health experts. Woodward has released audio recordings of some of their interviews in a new audiobook called “The Trump Tapes,” which documents details of Trump’s state of mind, and also of Woodward’s process and craft. “I could call him...


“Giselle,” and What to Do with the Problematic Past – Part II

When the renowned choreographer Akram Khan was commissioned to update the classic “Giselle” for the English National Ballet, he couldn’t simply put new steps to a Romantic-era plot. Beautiful as it is, “Giselle” has a view of ideal womanhood that is insupportable in our century—and it didn’t reflect the women he knew. In Khan’s 2016 “Giselle,” the title character doesn’t chastely expire from a broken heart; she is a strong woman victimized by more powerful men. The story still culminates in...


What to Do with the Problematic Past, Part I

We draw meaning and comfort from traditions, but when the world changes, traditions can stop reflecting our values and cause us pain. This episode features three people struggling against traditions that have become problematic. The producer Ngofeen Mputubwele talks with Jeanna Kadlec, the author of “Heretic,” a memoir of leaving the evangelical church; and the actor Britton Smith, a leader of Broadway Advocacy Coalition, which seeks to make Broadway an equitable workplace for performers of...


As Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith Hit the Road

Tracy K. Smith was named Poet Laureate in 2017, at the beginning of the fierce partisan divide of the Trump era. She quickly turned to her craft to address the deep political divisions the election laid bare, putting together a collection called “American Journal: Fifty Poems for Our Time.” Then she hit the road, visiting community centers, senior centers, prisons, and colleges, and reading poems written by herself and others for groups small and large. “It was exhausting, and exhilarating,...


Kirk Douglas, the Guitarist for the Roots, Revamps the Holiday Classics

As the guitarist for the Roots, the band for “The Tonight Show,” Kirk Douglas plays anything and everything. So David Remnick put him to the test on some holiday classics. And two longtime New Yorker staffers, Patricia Marx and Roz Chast, divulge their celebrated history playing together in a ukulele band. As the Daily Pukuleles, they claim, they influenced some of the biggest names in music in the sixties and beyond. But they were always a little too far ahead of the curve for the...


An Audiobook Master on the Secrets of Her Craft

You’ve probably never heard of Robin Miles, but you may well have heard her—possibly at some length. Miles is an actor who’s cultivated a particular specialty in recording audiobooks, a booming segment of the publishing industry. She has lent her voice to more than 400 titles in all sorts of genres—from the classic “Charlotte’s Web” to Isabel Wilkerson’s “Caste,” a deep analysis of race in America. “Telling a story, fully, all of it—from all the aspects of it—and creating the kind of...


Ina Garten: Cooking Is Hard; Plus an Essay from Susan Orlean

With the Food Network program “Barefoot Contessa,” Ina Garten became a beloved household name. Although she is a gregarious teacher and presence on television, Garten prefers to do her actual cooking alone. “Cooking’s hard for me. I mean, I do it a lot, but it’s really hard and I just love having the space to concentrate on what I’'m doing, so I make sure it comes out well.” Garten joins David Remnick to reflect on her early days in the kitchen, and to answer listener questions about holiday...


The poet John Lee Clark Translates the DeafBlind Experience to the Page

Although many hearing and sighted people imagine DeafBlind life in tragic terms, as an experience of isolation and darkness, the poet John Lee Clark’s writing is full of joy. It’s funny and surprising, mapping the contours of a regular life marked by common pleasures and frustrations. Clark, who was born Deaf and lost his sight at a young age, has established himself not just as a writer and translator but as a scholar of Deaf and DeafBlind literature. His new collection, “How to...


Politico’s Mathias Döpfner, and Sam Knight Reports from Qatar

The staff writer Sam Knight was in Qatar recently, reporting on the World Cup, where, despite years of controversy, a familiar rhythm of upsets, triumphs, and defeats has taken hold. But he finds that the geographical shift toward an Arab nation may benefit the sport. Plus, David Remnick talks with Mathias Döpfner, the C.E.O. of the German news publisher Axel Springer, which acquired Politico for a billion dollars last year. Döpfner relishes taking provocative stances, but has been a vocal...


Is Our Democracy Safe?

This year’s midterm elections were widely seen as a victory for democracy in the United States. Election deniers were defeated in many closely watched races and voting proceeded smoothly, even in areas where the Big Lie has taken a firm hold. But the threat of authoritarianism remains strong. David Remnick talks with Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, authors of the best-seller “How Democracies Die” about recent political trends. “You can’t really live in a functioning democracy if you feel...


The Supreme Court Case That Could Upend Elections

J. Michael Luttig is a retired judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals and a prominent legal mind in conservative circles, close with figures including Clarence Thomas and William Barr. On January 5, 2020, he got a call from Vice-President Mike Pence’s then-lawyer asking Luttig to publicly back Pence’s decision not to attempt to overturn the election the next day. Luttig tweeted that the Vice-President had no constitutional authority to stop the election, and suddenly the judge was thrust into...