Remembering authors in their own words

On this day in 1809, physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. was born in Cambridge MA. Famous for being a Fireside Poet and the author of “Old Ironsides” (and, later, the father of Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.), he was a huge influence on the 19th century literary world. Today, we commemorate three other influential authors by revisiting conversations with them about their work from the archives.

Tom Wolfe auf der Frankfurter Buchmesse 1988

Tom Wolfe talks with Studs Terkel — Studs Terkel Archive

Tom Wolfe is the author of “The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby,” his first book of of essays that came out in 1965. The titular story in the collected was originally published in Esquire Magazine, and is often cited as an example of New Journalism. Tom Wolfe talked to Studs Terkel about his book the same year it was released. Listen.

Alice Walker on “Possessing the Secret of Joy” — Pacifica Radio Archives

Alice Walker is most famous for writing “The Color Purple,” which won a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize. “Possessing the Secret of Joy” was published about 10 years later, and features characters and descendant from that original work. KPFA journalist Larry Bensky interviewed author Alice Walker about “Possessing the Secret of Joy” in 2013. Listen.

Langston Hughes reading from his work — Illinois Public Media

Langston Hughes published over 50 collections of poetry, novels, short stories, children’s books, plays, and nonfiction over the course of his life. In 1956, he visited the University of Illinois where he talked about his career, recited a poem called ‘Merry-Go-Round’ that deals with race in a democracy, and discussed how bebop music influenced his poetry. Listen.


See you in the archive,

The Pop Up Archive team