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Jonathan Franzen, National Book Award-winning author of "The Corrections," whose sprawling new family saga is set in Minnesota, will be the first guest of the 11th season of Talking Volumes, on Sept. 21.
Also appearing this fall on the series, which presents well-known writers to audiences, both live and on the radio:
• Nicole Krauss, author of "The History of Love," will discuss her new novel, "Great House" Oct. 28.
• Nora Ephron, novelist, humorist and Oscar-nominated screenwriter/director, has a new essay collection, "I Remember Nothing," that follows on her 2006 bestseller, "I Feel Bad About My Neck." (Nov. 17)
• Anita Shreve, author of such best-selling novels as "The Weight of Water" and "The Pilot's Wife," talks about her new novel, "Rescue" on Dec. 8.
Franzen's novel, "Freedom," is one of the most buzzed-about books due out this fall. At the center of the story are Patty and Walter Berglund. She was a basketball star at the University of Minnesota. He grew up in Hibbing and went to Macalester College.
They marry, settle in a crumbling Victorian in St. Paul and raise two kids. The story expands as the family moves to Washington, D.C., and traces Patty's increasing mental problems and Walter's bizarre take on a career as an environmentalist. It combines stinging contemporary satire with rich characterizations. The novel's first two chapters have appeared in The New Yorker.
Krauss, whose "History of Love" was an international bestseller, recently was named one of The New Yorker's "20 Under 40" list of notable young writers. Her new novel loosely weaves separate stories around a mysterious inherited desk where a New York novelist worked for 25 years. Settings include New York, South America, London, Jerusalem and Budapest.
Ephron is well known for her films ("Sleepless in Seattle," "Julie & Julia"), novels ("Heartburn") and essays ("Crazy Salad"). Subjects she addresses in her new collection of essays range from e-mail to inheritance, journalism to dating -- and breaking up.
Shreve began writing as a magazine journalist, switching to fiction full-time after the 1989 publication of her first novel "Eden Close." Her novel "The Weight of Water" was made into a movie directed by Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow. "Rescue" looks at the effect on a father and daughter of the long absence of the girl's mother.
Talking Volumes is co-sponsored by the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio, in collaboration with the Loft Literary Center. All shows are at 7 p.m. at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, and they are broadcast later on MPR. Season tickets -- $60 for all four shows -- go on sale July 27. Single tickets ($20) will be available Aug. 10. Call 651-290-1221 for information.
Claude Peck • 612-673-7977