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Free Library Podcast


The Free Library Podcast is an easy way to participate in the author events and lectures that take place at the Parkway Central Library. Visit Author Events to find upcoming events.

The Free Library Podcast is an easy way to participate in the author events and lectures that take place at the Parkway Central Library. Visit Author Events to find upcoming events.


Philadelphia, PA


The Free Library Podcast is an easy way to participate in the author events and lectures that take place at the Parkway Central Library. Visit Author Events to find upcoming events.




Brontez Purnell | 100 Boyfriends

In conversation with Kaitlyn Greenidge Brontez Purnell is the author of Since I Laid My Burden Down, a debut novel about growing up gay in 1980s Alabama that ''not only holds its own as queer literature, but also expands upon it'' (San Francisco Chronicle). The winner of a 2018 Whiting Award for Fiction, he is also the author of a graphic novel, a children's book, and a novella. The multi-talented Purnell is also the creator of a cult zine, the frontman for a punk band, the founder of the...


Amelia Pang | Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter, and the Hidden Cost of America's Cheap Goods

In conversation with Tracey Matisak, award-winning broadcaster and journalist In 2017, Amelia Pang earned the first place award in investigative journalism from the LA Press Club for her undercover exposé on the exploitation of immigrants smuggled into America to work in Chinese restaurants. Covering topics such as sexual violence on Native American reservations, economic hardships for immigrant Americans, and organic import fraud, her writing has appeared in publications such as The New...


Michael Eric Dyson | Long Time Coming: Reckoning with Race in America

In conversation with Jon Meacham Meelya Gordon Memorial Lecture Michael Eric Dyson is the author of Tears We Cannot Stop, an ''eloquent, righteous, and inspired'' (Philadelphia Inquirer) call for racial change that was named one of the best books of 2017 by multitudes of publications. His many books address Barack Obama's presidency, Hurricane Katrina, Jay-Z, and the effects of MLK's assassination, among other wide-ranging topics. A frequent New York Times opinion writer, MSNBC political...


Maria Kefalas | Harnessing Grief: A Mother's Quest for Meaning and Miracles

In conversation with Ashley Fox, Writer. Speaker. Entrepreneur. Athlete. Mom. ESPN alumna. In 2012, Maria Kefalas's daughter, Calliope, was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative, and incurable genetic disease called metachromatic leukodystrophy. Rather than succumbing to grief, Kefalas and her husband harnessed this powerful emotion in order to save other children and, ultimately, themselves. What followed was an incredible odyssey that included a fundraising bake sale of more than 50,000...


Melissa Broder | Milk Fed

In conversation with Nomi Eve, author of Henna House and The Family Orchard, Director of the Creative Writing MFA program, Drexel University. Melissa Broder is the author of The Pisces, a darkly erotic yet tender tale of academia, break-ups, and compulsive merman love. She is also the author of an essay collection, So Sad Today, and four collections of poetry. Her poems have appeared in a multitude of publications, including Tin House and Guernica, and she is the recipient of a Pushcart...


Elizabeth Kolbert | Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future

Barbara Gohn Day Memorial Lecture In conversation with Tracey Matisak, award-winning broadcaster and journalist ''An astute observer, excellent explainer, and superb synthesizer'' (Seattle Times), Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. An amalgam of field reporting, scientific discovery, and natural history, it follows the ongoing legacy of the manmade global cataclysm that threatens the very existence of life on earth....


Victor Wooten | The Spirit of Music: The Lesson Continues

In conversation with novelist and musician Wesley Stace A founding member of jazz fusion super group Béla Fleck and the Flecktones, bass guitarist Victor Wooten is a five-time Grammy winner and has been called ''the Michael Jordan of the bass.'' A producer, songwriter, and solo touring artist, he is the only person to thrice be voted Bassist of the Year in Bass Player Magazine's readers' poll and was named one of the top ten bassists of all time by Rolling Stone. He is also the author of the...


John Ghazvinian | America and Iran: A History, 1720 to the Present

In conversation with Ambassador John Limbert, US Deputy Secretary of State for Iran (2009-10); former hostage in the US Embassy in Tehran (1979-81) An author, historian, and former journalist, John Ghazvinian is the Executive Director of the Middle East Center at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil, a ''riveting account and superb analysis'' (Boston Globe) of the competition between world powers for the emerging market of crude oil from...


Nadia Owusu | Aftershocks: A Memoir

In conversation with writer and librarian Maisy Card, author of These Ghosts Are Family Nadia Owusu won a 2019 Whiting Award for her work on Aftershocks. ''A memoir that broods on lost identity and statelessness'' (Elle), this debut book tells the story of the nomadic childhood she spent following her Ghanaian diplomat father across Africa and Europe and her arrival in New York in the wake of his death. Her other writing has appeared or is forthcoming in the New York Times, Literary Review,...


James Oakes | The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution

In conversation with Eric Foner, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery and Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, winner of the Bancroft, Parkman, and Los Angeles Times Book prizes. James Oakes won the 2008 and 2013 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize for his scholarly work on the 16th President and the politics of abolition. His many books include Slavery and Freedom: An Interpretation of the Old South, The Radical and the Republican:...


Paul Farmer | Haiti After the Earthquake

Due to a technical issue, the first 15 minutes of the recording were inaudible. The podcast joins Dr. Farmer a little later in his presentation. A recipient of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Genius Award, Dr. Paul Farmer is the U.N. Deputy Special Envoy for Haiti and Chair of the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also the co-founder of Partners In Health, a nonprofit organization that addresses the healthcare needs of the...


Charles Kenny | The Plague Cycle: The Unending War Between Humanity and Infectious Disease

A senior fellow and the director of technology and development at the Center for Global Development, Charles Kenny has extensively contributed to policy reforms in global health, UN peacekeeping, and international financial corruption, among many other urgent issues. A contributing editor at Foreign Policy magazine and a contributor to Business Week, he is the author of Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding and How We Can Improve the World Even More and The Upside of Down: Why...


Stephanie Schriock | Run to Win: Lessons in Leadership for Women Changing the World

In conversation with Yvette Nicole Brown, star of screens big and small and known to audiences for her roles in Community, The Mayor, Supermansion, The Odd Couple, and many other films and TV shows. The president of EMILY's List since 2010, Stephanie Schriock has helped steer the five-million-member organization to some of the greatest victories seen in its 35-year history. These victories included the election of many pro-choice women Democratic U.S. senators, U.S. representatives,...


Salamishah Tillet | In Search of The Color Purple: The Story of an American Masterpiece

In conversation with Errin Haines, founding member and editor at large at The 19th, a new, nonprofit newsroom focused on the intersection of women, politics and policy. Salamishah Tillet is the author of Sites of Slavery, an examination of how contemporary African American intellectuals utilize the subject of slavery to challenge African American exclusion from the narratives of American history. She is a contributing critic-at-large for the New York Times, the Henry Rutgers Professor of...


VIRTUAL - Sadeqa Johnson | Yellow Wife

In conversation with Jennifer Weiner, bestselling author of numerous books including In Her Shoes and most recently Big Summer Yellow Wife tells the harrowing story of an enslaved woman forced to barter love and freedom while living in the most infamous slave jail in Richmond, Virginia. Sadeqa Johnson is the award-winning author of four novels, each exploring themes of marital fidelity, friendship, and the difficulties of connecting in modern life. Her accolades include being the recipient...


Gabriel Byrne | Walking with Ghosts

In conversation with musician and novelist Wesley Stace, author of Misfortune, By George, Wonder Kid and most recently Out Loud with dancer and choreographer Mark Morris An actor renowned as much for his versatility as his depth, Gabriel Byrne has portrayed King Arthur, Satan, Pope Gregory X, Lord Byron, a heartless Irish-American gangster, a Viking chieftain, D'Artagnan the Musketeer, and an ersatz Keyser Söze, among hundreds of other screen and stage roles. He earned a Golden Globe Award...


Ijeoma Oluo | Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

In conversation with Tracey Matisak, award-winning broadcaster and journalist ''A nuanced analysis of White male America'' that ''deftly combines history and sociological study with personal narrative'' (Washington Post), Ijeoma Oluo's So You Want to Talk About Race took a frank look at America's institutionally racist political, economic, and social systems. A New York Times bestseller, it garnered wide critical acclaim and was named to a plethora of 2018's best-of-the-year lists. Named one...


George Saunders | A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Masterclass on Writing, Reading, and Life

In conversation with Daniel Torday, Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College, author of The Last Flight of Poxl West, Boomer1, and The Sensualist, and two-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award. ''One of the most gifted, wickedly entertaining story writers around'' (New York Times Book Review), George Saunders won the Man Booker Prize for Lincoln in the Bardo, a kaleidoscopic tale of the 16th President's son's death and purgatorial afterlife. His surreal short story...


Tommy Lasorda | I Live for This: Baseball's Last True Believer

In conversation with author, journalist, and editor Larry Platt After 20 years of managing and 57 years with one franchise, Tommy Lasorda still suits up in Dodger Blue every day. The embodiment of the American dream, Lasorda went from a scrawny, overlooked Italian kid of average ability to become one of the most successful managers in baseball history--a Hall of Famer who led the Dodgers to eight division titles and two world championships in his storied seasons as manager. (recorded...


Katherine May | Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times

In conversation with Tracey Matisak, award-winning broadcaster and journalist Katherine May's fiction and memoirs include The Electricity of Every Living Thing, Burning Out, and No-Stress Meditation. She was also the editor of The Best, Most Awful Job, an anthology of essays about motherhood. Her latest book is Wintering, a paean to how we muddle through life's inevitable fallow seasons and embrace the opportunities these moments offer. Melding lessons from literature, the natural world, and...