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.

October 18, 2020
Isabel Wilkerson during her Oct. 13 Talking Volumes interview.

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

She discusses her new book about the structural roots of racism for a Talking Volumes audience.
October 12, 2020
Sarah M. Broom during her Talking Volumes interview Oct. 6.

Pandemic affected how author Sarah M. Broom feels about home

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

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

Author says her book reveals the "bones" underlying our nation's divisions.
October 3, 2020
Sarah M. Broom photo by Adam Shemper

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

Talking Volumes guest rebuilt "The Yellow House" as a metaphor of America.
October 2, 2020
Claudia Rankine during her Talking Volumes appearance Sept. 22, 2020.

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

Watch the writer's appearance as she opened our Talking Volumes book series.
September 19, 2020
Claudia Rankine

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

Silence on the issue equals "the constant death of Black people," says the first guest in this year's virtual Talking Volumes series,
September 17, 2020
Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer-winning writer Isabel Wilkerson joins Talking Volumes lineup

The author of "Caste" will close out the virtual series of literary conversations Oct. 13.
September 17, 2020
Virtually speaking: (Clockwise, from top) Yaa Gyasi, Claudia Rankine, Helen Macdonald and Sarah Broom are this year’s featured authors.

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

The annual series will deliver authors Yaa Gyasi, Helen Macdonald, Claudia Rankine and Sarah Broom via Zoom.
November 16, 2019
Tracy K. Smith will appear Nov. 21 in St. Paul as the final guest in this year’s Talking Volumes series.

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

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.
November 5, 2019
Lindy West

Writer Lindy West tackles everything from abortion to Donald Trump

Fierce and funny writer Lindy West fights misogyny in the media, arguing that bad pop culture breeds bad politics.
October 26, 2019
Karen Armstrong

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

Sacred writings lose their purpose when reduced to an arbiter to resolve feuds, exclude or oppress, argues Talking Volumes guest Karen Armstrong.
October 12, 2019
Tim O’Brien, author of the 1990 Pulitzer Prize finalist “The Things They Carried,” has written a new memoir “Dad’s Maybe Book,” which impa

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

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.
October 4, 2019
Saeed Jones

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

In a new memoir, poet Saeed Jones relates his struggles as a young black gay man in Texas.
September 21, 2019
Novelist Alice Hoffman is part of Talking Volumes, with her WWII-set “The World That We Knew.” She opens the series Sept. 25 at the Fitzgerald The

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

An encounter years ago led to Alice Hoffman's new Holocaust-inspired novel.
July 22, 2019
Tim O'Brien will discuss his first book in more than 10 years — a memoir, not a novel.

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

The literary series includes four nonfiction books and a collection by former poet laureate Tracy K. Smith.
November 2, 2018
Alexander McCall Smith

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

The prolific author of the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series doesn't need "a high body count."
Stage & Arts
October 30, 2018
Sally Field is curious to find out what attendees will be curious about at Talking Volumes. “I’m looking forward to it,” she said.

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

As Sally Field pieced together her storied life, a new memoir "became my confidante, my best friend, my companion."
October 5, 2018
Rebecca Traister uncovers the hidden history of female fury in “Good and Mad,” which brings her to St. Paul’s Fitzgerald Theater Oct. 17.

Feminist author Rebecca Traister talks 'female rage' ahead of St. Paul appearance

Her new book praises the revolutionary force of female anger.
October 4, 2018
Author Leif Enger at Park Point in Duluth.

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

Leif Enger's lifelong loves gave wings to his third novel, but it almost never saw the light of day.
September 19, 2018
Dessa's debut memoir is called "My Own Devices."

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

Known primarily as a hip-hop artist, Dessa's latest release comes from a New York City book publisher.
August 2, 2018
Sally Field has written a memoir, "In Pieces."

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

Oscar winner and local hip-hop star join Rebecca Traister, Leif Enger and Alexander McCall Smith.
August 2, 2018
Dan Brown, the author of “The Da Vinci Code” and “Origins,” at home in Rye Beach, N.H.

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

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.