Talking Volumes

Talking Volumes is a literary collaboration between the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio that brings high-profile authors to the Twin Cities for a live interview, later broadcast on MPR, accompanied by in-depth stories about the writers in the Star Tribune.

Naima Coster

Race and identity fuel Naima Coster's extraordinary stories of everyday lives

"Writing is the thing that gives my life the greatest joy," says Talking Volumes guest.
N. Scott Momaday

Attuned to the Earth's moods, revered Native writer N. Scott Momaday sounds an alarm

March 12
"The Earth is getting angry with us," says the Pulitzer winner, part of a special Talking Volumes series on race in America.

In his journey from jail to Yale Law, felon-turned-poet writes 'to remember who I am'

March 6
Felon-turned-lawyer/poet Reginald Dwayne Betts kicks off a Talking Volumes series about race.

Special spring Talking Volumes series to focus on race

February 12
Four writers of color will discuss their work in the context of race in America.

Americans shouldn't be afraid to inspect our collective 'basement,' says famed author Isabel Wilkerson

October 18, 2020
She discusses her new book about the structural roots of racism for a Talking Volumes audience.

Pandemic affected how author Sarah M. Broom feels about home

October 12, 2020
The bestselling writer of "The Yellow House" discusses her "obsession" in a Talking Volumes interview.

Isabel Wilkerson says her new book 'Caste' is 'an X-ray of our country,' exposing what divides us

October 12, 2020
Author says her book reveals the "bones" underlying our nation's divisions.

Author Sarah M. Broom made childhood home into something much bigger in 'The Yellow House'

October 3, 2020
Talking Volumes guest rebuilt "The Yellow House" as a metaphor of America.

Meet beloved nature writer Helen Macdonald – and her pet parrot

October 2, 2020
Interviewed via Zoom from her English cottage, the author introduced Talking Volumes guests to her housemate.

British nature writer Helen Macdonald soars with followup to 'H Is for Hawk'

October 2, 2020
As species disappear, "H Is for Hawk" author Helen Macdonald takes a bolder stance in her new book.

Famed author Claudia Rankine brings her conversation about race to Minnesotans via Zoom

October 2, 2020
Watch the writer's appearance as she opened our Talking Volumes book series.

In her new book 'Just Us,' Claudia Rankine invites us all to talk about white privilege

September 19, 2020
Silence on the issue equals "the constant death of Black people," says the first guest in this year's virtual Talking Volumes series,

21 years, 112 great authors: Talking Volumes guests, 2000-20

September 17, 2020
The complete lineup from the past 21 years.

Pulitzer-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson joins Talking Volumes lineup

September 17, 2020
The author of "Caste" will close out the virtual series of literary conversations Oct. 13.

With an all-woman lineup, this year's Talking Volumes book series goes virtual

September 17, 2020
The annual series will deliver authors Yaa Gyasi, Helen Macdonald, Claudia Rankine and Sarah Broom via Zoom.

Former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith rediscovered poetry's power while crisscrossing rural America

November 16, 2019
Smith, who might be poetry's most generous ambassador, will discuss that love Nov. 21 in St. Paul as the final guest of this year's Talking Volumes series.

Writer Lindy West tackles everything from abortion to Donald Trump

November 5, 2019
Fierce and funny writer Lindy West fights misogyny in the media, arguing that bad pop culture breeds bad politics.

Author and ex-nun Karen Armstrong on scripture: 'Religion ... is an art form'

October 26, 2019
Sacred writings lose their purpose when reduced to an arbiter to resolve feuds, exclude or oppress, argues Talking Volumes guest Karen Armstrong.

Minnesota novelist who thought he'd die in Vietnam wrestles with mortality once more

October 12, 2019
Tim O'Brien's memoir, "Dad's Maybe Book," is filled with advice and stories for his young sons to savor when he's gone.

Saeed Jones on coming-out memoir: 'I'm living a dream come true, but at what cost?'

October 4, 2019
In a new memoir, poet Saeed Jones relates his struggles as a young black gay man in Texas.

'Write my life': A stranger's plea inspired Alice Hoffman's new novel

September 21, 2019
An encounter years ago led to Alice Hoffman's new Holocaust-inspired novel.

Talking Volumes 2019 brings 6 celebrated writers, including Minnesota's own Tim O'Brien

July 22, 2019
The literary series includes four nonfiction books and a collection by former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith.

Novelist Alexander McCall Smith comes to Minnesota: 'I love writing people's conversations'

November 2, 2018
The prolific author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series doesn't need "a high body count."

Sally Field comes to Minn. with new memoir: 'It became my confidante'

October 30, 2018
As Sally Field pieced together her storied life, a new memoir "became my confidante, my best friend, my companion."

'Lovely, forbidding' Lake Superior inspires Minnesota novelist Leif Enger

October 4, 2018
Leif Enger's lifelong loves gave wings to his third novel, but it almost never saw the light of day.

Minnesota hip-hop star Dessa breaks into NYC publishing with new memoir

September 19, 2018
Known primarily as a hip-hop artist, Dessa's latest release comes from a New York City book publisher.

Sally Field & Dessa anchor an eclectic lineup of authors for Talking Volumes at Fitzgerald Theater

August 2, 2018
Oscar winner and local hip-hop star join Rebecca Traister, Leif Enger and Alexander McCall Smith.

'Da Vinci Code' author Dan Brown's code for thriller novel success

August 2, 2018
In the bestselling novelist's latest thriller, "Origin," science threatens to kill off God.
August 2, 2018
Ron Chernow at his home in Brooklyn.

'Hamilton' biographer comes to St. Paul with another poignant portrait

"Hamilton" biographer sets his sights on another U.S. icon, but don't expect a Broadway musical.
October 30, 2017
Amy Tan: "My parents kept secrets."

Amy Tan on new memoir: 'I want to know why I got damaged and why I'm glad'

While writing her new memoir, the author uncovered dark family secrets. She also found the source of her need to write.
October 30, 2017
Jacqueline Woodson

Talking Volumes guest Jacqueline Woodson grew up in 'Another Brooklyn'

To fill a "yawning gap" in books about black girlhood, Jacqueline Woodson turned to the Brooklyn of her youth.
October 30, 2017
In his memoir "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me," Sherman Alexie examines his complicated relationship with his late mother, Lillian.

Writer Sherman Alexie is back on the road: 'I averted a crisis'

Haunted by his mother's memory, the author halted his book tour this summer. Now he's back on the road — still outspoken, still funny, but a little more careful.
July 17, 2017
Sherman Alexie

Talking Volumes' fall lineup includes Sherman Alexie and Amy Tan

Memoir, history, fiction and spies: There's something for everyone at this book club.