SAL on Air Icon

SAL/on air

SAL/on air is a literary podcast featuring the best author talks from over thirty years of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ programming.

Season Three

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Recorded May 21, 2018

Have you ever had a slice of cake that had been soaked in a sort of syrup? Maybe rose-syrup? Maybe lemon? Dense and rich at the same time—soaked in joy—it’s almost not cake anymore. Every one of Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poems, read at SAL’s May 2018 Poetry Series reading, was like that for us. Dense and […]

Ijeoma Oluo

Recorded January 25, 2018

As our annual reading program, Summer Book Bingo wrapped up, we asked readers to reflect on their favorite reading experience of the summer. One of you wrote: “My favorite reading experience was reading So You Want to Talk About Race. It forced me to explore my white privilege and challenged me to really examine the […]

Season Two

Jericho Brown

Recorded May 21, 2019

Almost exactly a year ago, on May 21, 2019, we closed our Poetry Series with a reading by Jericho Brown, followed by a conversation with Copper Canyon editor and poet Elaina Ellis. It was a riveting and joy-filled evening in celebration of Jericho’s third book, The Tradition. That book went on to win the Pulitzer […]

Eavan Boland

Recorded March 3, 2008

Four weeks after her passing in her hometown of Dublin, we want to celebrate the ways Eavan Boland drew up a new science of cartography for Irish poetry: one that included women in their everyday lives—one that depicted children, the routines of the suburbs, marriage—and then that radically laid this map over received ideas about Irish […]

Ross Gay holds a book with left hand and reaches towards audience with right hand

Ross Gay

Recorded February 7, 2017

In a time like this, where do you look to for joy? In a recent episode of Krista Tippett’s podcast, On Being, poet Ross Gay said, “It is joy by which the labor that will make the life that I want, possible. It is not at all puzzling to me that joy is possible in […]

Valeria Luiselli, in a floral blazer, holds a stack of her books in her right hand, and points at someone off screen with her right.

Valeria Luiselli

Recorded April 17, 2019

What drives storytelling? What is the story—who gets to tell it—and how? In a twist on the American road trip genre, Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive explores these tensions. As an artist couple and their children embark on trip from New York to Arizona, wrestling with their family’s crisis, a bigger one comes to them […]

Adam Davidson

Recorded January 22, 2020

What the 20th century economy typically required of Americans who wanted success was to step away from their passions and embrace sameness. Now, in this new century—amidst concerns about our jobs being stolen by computers, about the middle class vanishing, and about the super-rich getting richer, Adam Davidson sees another narrative. Davidson, who is the […]

Rachel Maddow, in a blue blazer, stands at a lucite lectern, as the front rows of a crowd listen to her speak.

Rachel Maddow

Recorded October 11, 2019

When Rachel Maddow, host of the Emmy Award-winning Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, set out to research her latest book, Blowout, she wasn’t necessarily looking to write about the oil and gas industry. Instead, the question she was asking was this: At a time when democracy is falling and authoritarianism is rising globally, what do we do? […]

Wendell Berry

Recorded May 24, 2011

Port Royal in Henry County, Kentucky has a population of less than a hundred. And it’s there that farmer, novelist, poet, and cultural critic Wendell Berry—whose family farmed Kentucky land for 7 generations—has been writing for much of his life. With work like The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture, Wendell has functioned as both […]

Barbara Kingsolver

Recorded October 25, 2018

What happens when your world shifts, and you have to come to terms with a whole new reality? Barbara Kingsolver – the bestselling author of The Poisonwood Bible, The Lacuna, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and more – has some idea. In October 2018, SAL’s Executive Director, Ruth Dickey, sat down with Kingsolver to discuss her latest […]

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Recorded October 20, 2019

Why write about slavery in 2019? And when you write about, how do you defy the popular conceptions about slavery that readers have in their heads? How do you make the subject new? It took Ta-Nehisi Coates – author of the bestselling nonfiction works The Beautiful Struggle, We Were Eight Years in Power, and Between The World And […]

Season One

Madhur Jaffrey

Recorded November 19, 2013

In this episode, we hear from Indian-born food and travel writer Madhur Jaffrey, who joined us in November 2013 for a talk on how we become who we are. At the time of her visit, Jaffrey, who is recognized for helping to bring Indian cuisine to the western hemisphere, had written nearly 30 cookbooks and […]

Ada Limón

Recorded October 5, 2016

In this episode, we hear from poet Ada Limón, who joined us in October 2016 at McCaw Hall for a reading from her collection Bright Dead Things. Named a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry and the National Book Critics Circle, Bright Dead Things follows a female speaker’s experiences of love and […]

Tom Hanks

Recorded December 6, 2017

In our latest episode of SAL/on air, we hear from actor and filmmaker Tom Hanks, who joined us at McCaw Hall in December of 2017 as part of our 2017/18 SAL Presents Series. Seattle’s beloved librarian, Nancy Pearl, was in conversation with Hanks, who shared with us how he came to write his first book, […]

Azar Nafisi

Recorded February 28, 2006

In 2003, Azar Nafisi electrified readers worldwide with Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, which went on to become a long-running #1 New York Times bestseller. A modest professor of English literature, Nafisi taught at the University of Tehran as the Islamic Revolution raged around her, until she was fired in 1981 for […]

Jane Hirshfield

Recorded March 12, 2009

In this episode, we hear from poet Jane Hirshfield, who joined us in March 2009 at Benaroya Hall for a reading spanning across her career, and for a discussion on the importance of inviting the intimacies of poetry and finding ways to say “yes” to the difficult. Described by The New Yorker as “radiant and […]

Viet Thanh Nguyen

Recorded May 7, 2018

In this special Thanksgiving episode, we hear from Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer and The Refugees, who joined us at Benaroya Hall in May 2018. He is introduced by Ruth Dickey, SAL Executive Director, and is interviewed after his talk by Jamie Ford, the celebrated author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. In […]

Frank McCourt

Recorded November 21, 2006

In this episode, we hear from Frank McCourt, who joined us in November 2006 for a lively talk about committing his youth to paper in his phenomenally popular memoir series, beginning with Angela’s Ashes. At the conclusion of McCourt’s talk, Margit Rankin, then-Executive Director of Seattle Arts & Lectures, joins him in an interview. McCourt, […]

Lucie Brock-Broido

Recorded April 23, 2015

When Lucie Brock-Broido, poet of the witching hour, sadly passed away in March 2018, we released audio of her reading “Infinite Riches in the Smallest Room,” a title that’s an apt description of her entire body of work. In our latest episode of SAL/on air, we are delighted to share her SAL reading in its entirety, which took […]

Madeleine Albright

Recorded April 24, 2018

Madeleine Albright was America’s first-ever female Secretary of State, from 1997 to 2001. Her distinguished career of public service includes positions in the National Security Council, as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, and on Capitol Hill. In her latest book, Fascism: A Warning, Albright gives us an urgent examination of fascism in the 20th century and how its legacy […]

Philip Roth

Recorded October 21, 1992

In our latest episode of SAL/on air, we hear from one of the pre-eminent authors of the 20th century—Philip Roth. He joined us back in October 1992 for a reading from his National Book Award-winning memoir, Patrimony: A True Story. Written with great intimacy at the height of his literary powers, Patrimony is Roth’s elegy to […]

Isabel Allende, Part Two

Recorded November 28, 2017

This episode is Part Two of our double-feature with Chilean writer Isabel Allende, who joined us for the second time for Seattle Arts & Lectures’ 2017/18 Season. On November 28, SAL had the pleasure of welcoming Allende back to our Literary Arts Series after her last visit thirty years ago, which we shared in our previous […]

Isabel Allende, Part One

Recorded March 14, 1989

One of the world’s most widely-read Spanish language authors, Chilean writer Isabel Allende is a master of the magical realism form and a colorful storyteller. At the time of Allende’s first visit to the SAL stage, she had authored her astonishing debut, “The House of the Spirits,” “Of Love and Shadows,” and “Eva Luna.” This […]

Ruth Ozeki

Recorded November 20, 2014

Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker and Zen Buddhist priest, whose award-winning novels have been described as “witty, intelligent and passionate” by the Independent, and as possessing “shrewd and playful humor, luscious sexiness and kinetic pizzazz” by the Chicago Tribune. At the time of her visit, Ozeki had written three novels, most recently A Tale for Time-Being (2013), shortlisted […]

Elizabeth Strout

Recorded January 24, 2011

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge, the bestsellers Abide With Me, The Burgess Boys, My Name is Lucy Barton, and the award-winning Amy and Isabelle, all set in New England, all exploring the twists and turns of family dynamics, small-town gossip, and experiences of love, loss, and grief. “The pleasure in reading Strout,” writes Louisa Thomas for […]

Follow SAL/on air