Cover To Cover is the anchor program for GPB’s literary coverage. Cover To Cover features a collection of distinctive Southern voices interviewing Georgia writers, Southern writers, and writers dealing with the South. The GPB Southern Lit Cadre will provide you with a varied, weekly glimpse at fiction, non-fiction, history, poetry, and even the occasional ‘old school’ nod to Flannery O’Connor or William Faulkner.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Poet Ralph Tejeda Wilson talks about The Black Bridge, and the Georgia Writer Of The Year Competition Sunday at 8pm On Cover To Cover

Join Southern Lit Cadre member Melissa Stiers for a conversation with Ralph Tejeda Wilson about poetry and the Georgia Writer of The Year competition. Tejeda will also talk about his 2002 poetry collection, A Black Bridge. Sunday at 8pm right after This American Life on your local GPB radio station.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Happy Holidays!

This week, we take a break from Cover to Cover this week to bring you some holiday cheer:

Hanukkah Lights 2008 – Sunday, 12/21, 6 to 7pm
A perennial NPR favorite, now well into its second decade. Acclaimed authors explore Hanukkah traditions in original stories written expressly for “Hanukkah Lights.” Hosted by Murray Horwitz and Susan Stamberg. (pre-empts “Big Band Jump”)

Happy Joyous Hannukah – Sunday, 12/21, 7 to 8pm
Features a concert from New York City-based Grammy-award-winning band, the Klezmatics. Hosted by Murray Horwitz. (pre-empts “This American Life”)

Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice Concert– Sunday, 12/21, 8 to 10pm
The holiday tradition continues with Paul Winter’s Winter Solstice Celebration. The extraordinary acoustics of New York’s Cathedral of St. John the Divine highlight the music of the Winter Consort with Eugene Friesen, Paul Sullivan and Brazlian percussionist Café leading us through the longest night of the year, with singer/guitarist Renato Braz and “Icarus” double-reed man Paul McCandless. This year’s celebration debuts Apache singer John-Carolos Perea and musical performances from the 2008 Grammy winning CD Crestone. John Schaefer hosts.

Tune in to GPB throughout the month of December for our special holiday programming. Click here for the full holiday programming lineup.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Lincoln: President Elect

This week on Cover to Cover, Dr. Stan Deaton sits down with Harold Holzer, author of Lincoln: President Elect. Holzer, one of the most eminent Lincoln scholars, winner of a Lincoln Prize for his Lincoln at Cooper Union, examines the four months between Lincoln’s election and Inauguration when the president-elect made the most important decision of his coming presidency—there would be no compromise on slavery or secession of the slaveholding states even at the cost of an inevitable Civil War.

Stan & Harold discuss the book and connections to our current president elect. All this on Cover to Cover; broadcasting on your favorite GPB station.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sarah Vowell's Wordy Shipmates On Cover To Cover Thanksgiving Weekend

Frank Reiss interviews Sarah Vowell about her new book about the Puritans, The Wordy Shipmates. Here are Franks thoughts about Sarah and the interview. The show airs Sunday night at 8pm, the following Thursday night at 11:30pm and is available online for on demand listening at
While the so-called “Republican base” gets a charge out of the feisty Sarah Palin, for the public radio crowd, there’s an equal and opposite excitement generated by another sassy Sarah, “This American Life” contributor Sarah Vowell. Vowell is a public radio star in part because of the incongruity of her little girl voice talking about very serious subjects with a striking intelligence and obvious depth of knowledge. What can go unnoticed in her most famous role is what a uniquely gifted writer she is. Reading her books leaves no doubt about these gifts. They combine an enthusiasm more often associated with the young rock critic she once was with a profundity that can only come from the kind of focused study that usually results in deadening history books people read only when forced to. And there’s also her post-modern wit that makes her a favorite guest of David Letterman and Jon Stewart. All of which add up to some of the most enjoyable books being written by the distinctive generation of writers that include Dave Eggers, Nick Hornby and the rest of the McSweeney’s/Believer set. Vowell’s latest book, The Wordy Shipmates, is also her most ambitious. Its subject is the Puritans who settled the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630 under the leadership of John Winthrop. Winthrop’s most famous sermon included the image of “The City on the Hill” which was so effectively used by President Ronald Reagan. It is this connection that fuels Vowell’s research, examining this image as the origin of American exceptionalism, and the irony of how this sermon on “Christian Charity” came to inspire quite uncharitable political policies. In conversation, Vowell is just as one would hope: funny, self-deprecating, and tending to let conversation go off into unpredictable, though always entertaining, directions.-Frank Reiss

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prophetizing from the Front Porch

This week on Cover to Cover, Jesse Freeman sits down with Rome, Georgia writer Raymond Atkins about his book The Front Porch Prophet.

What do a trigger-happy bootlegger with pancreatic cancer, an alcoholic helicopter pilot who is afraid to fly, and a dead guy with his feet in a camp stove have in common? What are the similarities between a fire department that cannot put out fires, a policeman who has a historic cabin fall on him from out of the sky, and an entire family dedicated to a variety of deceased authors? Where can you find a war hero named Termite with a long knife stuck in his liver, a cook named Hoghead who makes the world’s worst coffee, and a supervisor named Pillsbury who nearly gets hung by his employees?

Find out the answers to these questions and how the small town of Sequoyah, GA helped shape the book, this week on Cover to Cover. Airing Sunday at 8PM on YOUR Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thomas Jefferson's Secret Family

Join Stan Deaton on Cover to Cover this week as he interviews African American Historian Annette Gordon-Reed about her new book The Hemingses of Monticello. Annette's latest work tells the story of the Hemingses, whose close blood ties to our third president had been systematically expunged from American history until very recently. It brings to life not only Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson but also their children and Hemings's siblings, who shared a father with Jefferson's wife, Martha. The Hemingses of Monticello sets the family's compelling saga against the backdrop of Revolutionary America, Paris on the eve of its own revolution, 1790s Philadelphia, and plantation life at Monticello.

Cover to Cover airs Sunday at 8:00PM. Tune in on your favorite GPB Station, or log on to listen here.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Cover To Cover, What's The Word Step Aside Sunday For Live Coverage of U.S. Senate Debate

Cover To Cover
and What's The Word will not air Sunday night, November 2 at 8pm so that GPB Radio listeners can hear the live Atlanta Press Club-U.S. Senate Debate between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin. Both shows will return next week. Cover To Cover will feature Jesse Freeman's interview with Tony Grooms with a look back at his revelatory collection of short stories, Trouble No More.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Georgia Odyssey

Jeff Calder interviews imminent UGA Historian James Cobb about his book Georgia Odyssey this week on Cover to Cover.

The reader will put the book down with a deeper understanding of Georgia in all its contradictions.... "Odyssey" is no dry academic history...[i]nstead, it's an engagingly written volume that sometimes reads more like an irreverent conversation than words on paper.
--Lee Shearer, Athens Banner-Herald

Cover to Cover airs Sunday at 8Pm on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ronda Rich Talks With Celia Rivenbark About Belle Weather Sunday on Cover To Cover

Sunday at 8pm on GPB Radio, Ronda Rich interviews Celia Rivenbark about her latest book
Belle Weather: Mostly Sunny With a Chance of Scattered Hissy Fits. Rivenbark is an award-winning newspaper columnist and freelance journalist whose work has been compared to a cross between Erma Bombeck and Hunter S. Thompson. Celia has won national and state press awards and is the author of four humor collections: Bless Your Heart, Tramp (2000, reprinted in 2006), We're Just Like You, Only Prettier (2004), and Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank (2006). Her latest book is filled with a compendium of provocative essays, including:
--The joys of remodeling Tara
--How Harry Potter bitch-slaps Nancy Drew
--Britney’s To-Do list: pick okra, cover that thang up
--How rugby-playing lesbians torpedoed beach day
--Why French women suck at competitive eating
--The truth about nature deficit disorder
--The difference between cockroaches and water bugs
--The beauty of Bedazzlers
And much, much more!
Join Dixie Diva Ronda Rich as she has a Southern Culture hen party with Celia Rivenbark Sunday, October 12 at 8pm on GPB's Cover To Cover.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Bob Schieffer's America

If you're looking for evidence of bias in the media, you'll have to look further than Bob Schieffer. The longtime host of CBS' "Face the Nation" talked to us while in Atlanta promoting his new book,Bob Schieffer's America and was the very embodiment of the impartial observer virtually all journalists claim to be.
As in his book, in our Cover to Cover interview, the veteran newsman in our interview was as folksy as he was informative as we covered a wide range of issues both historical and contemporary, including media bias. Through it all, and in Bob Schieffer's America, the legendary broadcaster was careful to avoid partisanship, expressing his personal thoughts but never in a way to provide fodder for conservatives or liberals. Schieffer shared his insights on the many presidents he has covered (every one since Nixon) and acknowledged that the current financial crisis is the most challenging story he has ever had to report on, owing to its complex nature. In the midst of this crisis--and an historic presidential election (Schieffer will moderate the final debate between John McCain and Barack Obama)--Schieffer's interview provides a tremendous opportunity to hear the thoughts of one of the most clear-headed voices anywhere on some of the most crucial issues that face our nation.
-Frank Reiss

Frank's interview with Bob Schieffer airs this Sunday at 8PM on GPB's Cover to Cover.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Olympics That Changed the World

This week on Cover to Cover, Frank Reiss interviews David Maraniss about Maraniss's latest book Rome 1960. Here's a quick rundown from their conversation:

At the recently-ended Summer Olympics in China, the haul of gold medals by Michael Phelps, the otherworldly speed of the Jamaican sprinters and the fierce competition between American and Chinese gymnasts filled the airwaves for two solid weeks. As did talk of political propaganda, accusations of rule-breaking and other controversies large and small.

While it seems that the Olympics have forever been dominated in such a way, bestselling author David Maraniss argues in his most recent book, Rome, 1960: The Olympics That Changed the World, that it was at these particular summer games that the Olympics as we now know them first came into being.

That was the year when the world first became familiar with a clownish fighter from Louisville, Kentucky named Cassius Clay, who used the games as a springboard to become the most famous athlete the world has ever known: Muhammad Ali. But Maraniss goes to some lengths to restore Clay's proper place at the time: a definite second or third banana to the true heroes of that year, African-American track stars Wilma Rudolph and Rafer Johnson.

1960 was also the first Olympics for which an American television network purchased broadcast rights, and an unknown reporter named Jim McKay, working under the most primitive conditions imaginable, debuted in the role that made him as familiar as any Olympic performer.

And the Cold War politics of the day foreshadowed the political propaganda that continues to be inescapable in this quadrennial event that supposedly transcends politics.

But to Marannis--who has won the Pulitzer Prize and authored a string of bestsellers about both sports and politics--these political overtones and social developments don't detract from the games, they give them historical context and make for a fascinating read and a stimulating conversation.

Marannis' writing is unmistakably influenced by his friend and long-time mentor, the late David Halberstam. Interestingly, though, Marannis contrasts his attitude toward sportswriting and historical/political writing. Halberstam, Maraniss says in his Cover to Cover interview, wrote about sports to relax between his more "serious" books. Marannis on the other hand thinks sports can be every bit as significant as politics, and politics can be as trivial as sports. -Frank Reiss

Catch Frank Reiss's interview with David Maraniss Sunday night at 8:00PM, rebroadcast Thursday night at 11:30p on GPB Radio. You can also listen to Cover To Cover on demand at

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Tony Earley on Cover to Cover

Jesse Freeman weighs on in his interview with Tony Earley, which airs Sunday night at 8pm on Cover To Cover--

The Blue Star
is a sequel you can enjoy without having read its predecessor. However, if you consider yourself a lover of great contemporary fiction, you’ve probably already read Jim the Boy. Book two in this presumed trilogy places Jim in his senior year of high school in the Western North Carolina town of Aliceville. More to the point, it places our wide-eyed protagonist on the precipice of love, war and tragedy.

Tony Earley joins us to talk about Jim and his other wonderful characters that bring to life the Greatest Generation. He talks about the importance of his influences (Wila Cather!) and his own experience as a child in Appalachia. You’ll find Tony as humble as the avuncular Glass brothers (Jim’s surrogate fathers) and as witty as Dennis Deane (Jim’s loose-lipped running partner). Tony approaches an interview thoughtfully and we think you’ll appreciate the contemplative way he looks back at his works just as you will enjoy the earnestness of the works themselves.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Jack Pendarvis Talks About Awesome

Jack Pendarvis left South Alabama about 15 years ago, settled in Atlanta, where he had a job for Turner Broadcasting, and where he wrote stories and received rejection notices for many years. A few years ago, he started having his often wacky stories accepted by such publications as McSweeney's, The Believer and The Oxford American. In short order, his work attracted the notice of the renowned author Barry Hannah, who was instrumental in Pendarvis' receiving the John Grisham Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, where Pendarvis now resides. Pendarvis is also a recipient of the prestigious Pushcart Prize, which honors the best work published by small presses.

Macadam Cage, a San Francisco literary publisher with a thing for Southern writers, has published two collections of Pendarvis' short fiction: The Mysteriouis Secret of the Valuable Treasure and Your Body is Changing. This summer, they published his first novel, Awesome, a bizarre, and somewhat grotesque, tale about a ridiculously self-absorbed giant named Awesome.

Pendarvis celebrated the novel's publication in his old hometown of Atlanta in mid-August, and the following morning sat down in the GPB studios with Cover to Cover's Frank Reiss. The giddiness from the previous evening had not yet subsided, and what ensued was a weaving, over-the-center-line conversation that threatened to roll off the side of the road and over an embankment at any moment. And, perhaps to the ears of some, did.

Which, appropriately enough, is a perfect introduction to the fiction of Jack Pendarvis.

-Frank Reiss
Frank's interview with Jack Pendarvis airs Sunday at 8pm, repeats Thursday at 11:30 and can be heard on demand at

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Winners Have Yet to be Announced

This Sunday's Cover To Cover will be a "best of" issue. GPB Southern Lit Cadre Member Jeff Calder talks with University of Georgia Professor Ed Pavlic. Pavlic's new book is entitled Winners Have Yet To Be Announced: A Song For Donny Hathaway.

The book is Pavlic's attempt to see inside the life, music and untimely death of this elemental soul music artist, a man remembered for efforts as diverse as "Where Is The Love" with Roberta Flack or the theme to Norman Lear's 1970's sitcom "Maude." But Hathaway was highly influential in his own way, known as "your favorite soul singer's favorite singer." Pavlic tries to inhabit Hathaway, who left little in the way of legitimate biography or history after his jump from the 10th floor window of his room at the Essex House in New York City in 1979.

Writer and musician Jeff Calder and Pavlic talk about Hathaway, and Pavlic's approach to poetry. Listen in and you will also hear portions of Hathaway's songs "Give It Up" and "The Ghetto." We hope you enjoy this week's show. All comments, bouquets and brickbats to

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Diehard Rebels

This week on Cover to Cover:

Jason Phillips persuasively answers a Civil War mystery: Why did so many Confederates doggedly keep fighting when any rational observer would have recognized looming defeat? Examining a most impressive array of sources, particularly soldiers' letters and diary entries from 1863 to 1865, Phillips explores how religious faith, cheerleading propaganda, admiration of the officer class, hatred of Yankees, military discipline, bonding in the ranks, and stubborn denial of the obvious were all factors. Phillips eloquently and poignantly recounts the deprivations and sacrifices that were endured by Confederate diehards in vain hope of eventual victory and the haunting legacy of that resistance for all Southerners, black and white, over the next 100 years. Interview is by Southern Lit Cadre member and Georgia Historical Society Major Domo Dr. Stan Deaton.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Art of Keeping Secrets

Southern writer Patti Callahan Henry takes her first dip into writing mystery in her new novel The Art of Keeping Secrets. Its the story of a widowed woman who uncovers a secret about her husband that turns everything she believes on its head. Callahan-Henry reveals the power secrets can have in our lives as her characters walk the gossamer line between betrayal and trust. Join Melissa Stiers on Cover to Cover this Sunday for a conversation with the author that delves into this mysterious tale and uncovers the idiosyncrasies of Callahan Henrys own writing life.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Georgia Encyclopedia

How does one put together an encyclopedia from scratch? John Inscoe, a professor of history at the University of Georgia, faced that tall order and succeeded admirably. Inscoe is the general editor of the New Georgia Encyclopedia, an online publication that is a treasure trove of information on all things Georgia-related, from history to politics to Nascar . The NGE is a project of the Georgia Humanities Council in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, the Office of the Governor, and the Technical College System of Georgia. In this interview, Inscoe talks about the challenges of riding herd on all the information, the wide array of subjects covered, what got in and what didn't, and the future of the printed book in the digital age.

Join Emory Mulling this Sunday at 8:00PM on Cover to Cover to learn more about this powerful new educational tool. Only on GPB Radio (and online too!).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

8,186,453 People

...within 57,906 sq. miles makes Georgia the 10th most populous state and 24th largest in land mass. These quick facts are among a smörgåsbord of knowledge found at The New Georgia Encyclopedia. This week on Cover to Cover, host Stan Deaton, speaks on this fantastic resource for history, georgraphical info, and simple trivia about our Peach State. Tune in this Sunday at 8:00PM on GPB. Click here to listen from the comfort of your computer.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Salman Rushdie and "The Enchantress of Florence"

Join host Rickey Bevington for a very special edition of GPB’s literary show, Cover To Cover on Sunday, August 3rd at 8PM for a conversation with Salman Rushdie about his latest novel, “The Enchantress of Florence,” as well as his recent work for Emory University and the housing of his archives there.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Confessions of "Crazy Cooter"

GPB Southern Lit Cadre member, Frank Reiss provides commentary on his interview with Congressman, Author, Actor, Entrepreneur Ben Jones, which airs Sunday at 8pm on Cover To Cover:

As I told former Congressman Ben Jones when I met him before our interview, he was my representative when I moved back to my hometown of Atlanta in 1989. "Surprise," he chuckled, at the thought of this famously crazy redneck being a congressman.

But having missed the entire run of The Dukes of Hazzard, the hit television show which made him famous, I hadn't appreciated what an unusual political figure he was at the time.

After reading his highly entertaining memoir, Redneck Boy in the Promised Land, and talking to him for "Cover to Cover," it's impossible not to recognize his many gifts. I half-jokingly asked him during the interview if he would consider being Barack Obama's running-mate to be the ticket balance the young liberal from Chicago might need: an older, more traditional Democrat with an authentic Southern twang. The truth is, it's a little too late in Jones' life to take such a suggestion seriously. And because he threw away so many years to alcoholism (which he details in his book) Jones' political career started too late for him to go as far as he might have. Plus, it came along right as the Republicans were about to make it a lot harder than it had ever been for a Democrat to get elected in the Deep South.

Jones is the real deal, though. A man who grew up in dire poverty, he understands and champions the plight of working people. A man who nearly drank himself to death by his mid-30s but who sobered up to have not just one, but two successful careers, he is intimately familiar with both ends of the American Dream. And a man who takes his craft of acting seriously enough to proudly embrace the easy-to-mock role and show that made his career. In fact, because of the show's ongoing popularity, Jones is now enjoying a third career as an entrepeneur, having created the wildly successful" Dukesfest" and also "Cooter's Place," a Dukes of Hazzard emporium in Nashville and Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

He's a great talker. Enjoy listening.

Frank Reiss' interview airs this Sunday on Cover to Cover at 8:00PM on GPB Radio.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Elizabeth Payne Rosen's Hallam's War, Sunday at 8pm on Cover To Cover

Elizabeth Payne Rosen joins Cover To Cover this week for a discussion about her debut novel Hallam's War. Hallam's War is the story of Hugh and Serena Hallam, who try to make a life for themselves running a cotton plantation in West Tennessee in the years leading up to the Civil War. The choices that they make, and the forces setting about the war is the grist for Rosen's long narrative about the dying days of the slave system and the difference between "good" Southerners and "bad" Southerners.

Author Rosen grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and has lived in England and now Marin County, California, where she works as an Episcopal Chaplain in a hospital. She became fascinated by the Civil War relatively later in life, and has turned that fascination into a tightly focused look at a handful of characters as they transit from the ante-bellum era into a hellish war world that includes privation, runaway slaves, battles at Shiloh and South Mountain, and the awful confines of a makeshift Confederate hospital in Richmond during the dying days of the War Between The States. Characters intermingle with Civil War era figures including General Albert Sydney Johnston, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Mary Chesnut.

Elizabeth Payne Rosen creates realistic characters and plausible dialogue as she wrestles with the notion of Southerners who tried to come to terms with their slave economy and the coming of war. In our Cover To Cover interview she takes the topics of how challenging it is to write 'slave' dialogue, how many events to put into one novel and keep it plausible, and her fascinating research visit with distant cousin Shelby Foote.

We encourage you to consider Hallam's War for your nightstand, and we hope you'll listen to this week's Edition of Cover To Cover, Sunday night at 8pm.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rick Bragg's The Prince of Frogtown on Sunday's Cover To Cover

GPB Southern Lit Cadre mainstay Frank Reiss checks in with his thoughts about his interview with Rick Bragg, which airs Sunday at 8pm on Cover To Cover:

Rick Bragg won a Pulitzer Prize and earned the Nieman Fellowship from Harvard University for his reporting and writing for the New York Times. More recently, he has become one of the South's bestselling authors, beginning with 1998's All Over But the Shoutin' , his memoir of his impoverished upbringing in northern Alabama. That debut focused primarily on his long-suffering mother, abandoned by Bragg's alcoholic father when Rick and his brothers were young boys.

Bragg visited "Cover to Cover" to discuss his latest book, The Prince of Frogtown, in which he shares what he has learned over the years since All Over But the Shoutin' about the person his father had been before heavy drinking turned him into the man Bragg barely knew and mostly disregarded. One of the reasons the author had for pursuing a greater understanding of his father is that Bragg himself has recently become "the closest thing to a parent I'll ever be," sharing child-rearing duties with his new wife in Tuscaloosa, where Bragg now teaches writing at The University of Alabama.

Rick Bragg is a bear of a man and writes evocatively of his reckless youth, the dangers he has encountered in his work and the boulder-sized chip on his shoulder. But as you will hear in the interview, he is a gentle soul, full of humor and compassion, and motivated by finding the beauty and music in the language he uses to tell his stories.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference 2008 Preview

Join Southern Lit Cadre Fiction Specialist Jesse Freeman this Sunday at 8pm as Cover To Cover takes a look at Icon William Faulkner, as a preview of the upcoming 2008 Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference beginning July 20 at Ole Miss. Jesse is joined by Dr. Thomas McHaney, internationally-known Faulkner scholar and founder of the Georgia State University Creative Writing program.

Freeman and McHaney get into the nitty gritty of why and how Faulkner's work and life forever changed the world's view of the South, as well as the ways in which Faulkner's South is universal, resonating with post World War II Japanese students and French intellectuals alike. If you've always wanted to visit Faulkner's grave late at night and spill a shot of whiskey in the dirt in homage, tune in to Cover To Cover Sunday night at 8pm for a description of this traditional ritual and a discussion of how to read Faulkner as well as why.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Melissa Stiers Digs Into Her Story Sunday at 8pm on Cover To Cover

We hear from the Southern Lit Cadre's distaff side on this week's show. Here's what Melissa Stiers offers about her interview airing Sunday:

Millions of women have paved the way for the reality of media mogul Oprah Winfrey or even the possibility that Hillary Clinton could have been president. On this weekend's Cover To Cover we feature a new book called Her Story that gathers nearly a thousand of American women and puts them on an illustrative timeline. Host Melissa Stiers speaks to the authors Jill Tietjen and Charlotte Waisman to discuss how and who they decided to highlight for the contributions American women have made to the country and to the world.

Listen to Abigail Adam’s saucy letter to her husband as he helped form the American government, remember the peaceful mission of Sacagawea and her child, and hear how Madam C. J. Walker uplifted the lives of thousands of African-American women. Tune in for inspiring stories of many women obscured in the annals of history ‘til now. That's Sunday night at 8pm on Cover To Cover, to be followed by What's The Word from the Modern Language Association.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Prioleau Alexander's You Want Fries With That?: A White-Collar Burnout Experiences Life at Minimum Wage

Southern Cadre Member Frank Reiss checks in with his thoughts on this week's edition of Cover To Cover--

I meet a lot of first-time authors in my line of work. Few of them give me a greater sense of confidence about their imminent success than Prioleau (pronounced Pray-Lo) Alexander. The former marine and former advertising executive carries himself with unmistakable good humor and self-assurance. His book, You Want Fries With That?: A White-Collar Burnout Experiences Life at Minimum Wage conveys that good humor in abundance. Each chapter details his experiences working such jobs as delivering pizzas, scooping ice cream and serving fast food.

The book shows the author's true understanding not just of finding humor in common situations but, more impressively, conveying it deftly in well-wrought prose. Alexander is an Auburn grad and a native of Charleston, S.C.--where he went to high school with a pretty fair humorist named Stephen Colbert--and he is already at work on another humorous book recounting the process of getting published. The working title: They Don't Call It Submission for Nothing.

Our conversation on Cover To Cover Sunday night at 8pm treads the dangerous ground of trying to examine just how he writes such hilarious sentences, and he revealed himself to be very serious about the craft of being funny. Talking to Prioleau Alexander was a pleasure. Reading his book was a hoot. Here's betting that he'll soon be a well-enough-known southern humorist that his name won't seem so hard to pronounce.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Jim Braziel's Birmingham, 35 Miles On Cover To Cover Sunday at 8pm

Jesse Freeman talks with Wilcox, County Georgia-born writer Jim Braziel on Sunday about Braziel's debut novel Birmingham, 35 Miles. The dystopian novel is set in the future, in an Alabama beset by the collapse of the environment. Here's what Jesse had to say about Braziel and the book--

Jim Braziel has dedicated his debut novel, Birmingham, 35 Miles, to his childhood friend, Ray Wiggins. It’s no coincidence that the novel’s central character, Mathew Harrison, also has a best friend named Ray, but I was a little taken aback when I asked Braziel about the connection. You see, Ray Wiggins committed suicide as a young adult and Braziel is still palpably unsettled by the loss some twenty years later. For whatever solace it may have given him, Jim Braziel has wrought a particularly animate character in the fictional Ray.

In fact, Jim Braziel breathes a good measure of life into most of his characters, almost as if they’re golems shaped from the red clay soil middle and lower Alabama, where this novel is set.

But, though the place may be familiar, readers may not recognize the society that inhabits it. Birmingham, 35 Miles, is set between the years 2014 and 2044 in the Southeastern Desert, a waste-land left in the wake of an ecological disaster. The remnants of the United States government rides rough-shot over the nomadic survivors with tyrannical resolve and licensing processes for almost every aspect of life. But the real conflict of this novel is not between rebels and enforcers, it is between the conflicted impulses of Mathew, who seems to be a prisoner of his own inertia more than anything else. This is real, character driven-fiction. It’s science fictional but it isn’t Science Fiction.

This is Jim Braziel’s first interview and I think you’ll enjoy his fresh perspective on being published. Some writers never stop complaining about the publishing process (especially promotions!) but Braziel is not one of these. He’s enjoying the ride, and I think you’ll enjoy, Birmingham, 35 Miles.--Jesse Freeman

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Georgia Poet Sean Hill's Blood Ties & Brown Liquor, Sunday on Cover To Cover

GPB Southern Lit Cadre Poetry Major Domo Jeff Calder reports in on this week's program---

The poet Sean Hill grew up in Milledgeville, Georgia, the setting for his impressive debut collection Blood Ties & Brown Liquor. In forty or so poems he makes up a history of the Wright family who lived in the small town’s African-American community over several generations. It is a dusty narrative dominated by the color red. Titles like “A Negro Teacher’s Bible”, “Joe Chappel’s Foot Long Bottom Blues 1952”, and “The State House Aflame” give a feel for the action stirring on the ground. The seam of “Lineaments Through the Line of Seasons” bursts open with the unexpected moment:

…bare blind nestlings gape and caterpillars
condense, clouding where plum branches fork
and pollen gilds puddles in ribbons after rain
and the dirt dauber shapes her nest from wet clay—
Deep red before it dries, this dirt sunsets distill.

Sean Hill's method is painstaking and artful, as though he were using his fingers to bend shafts of genealogy around a trellis of time and memory. It took three years to put together a construction so authentic one might assume it to be a straightforward rendering of his long family story. There may be some slight resemblance to his Milledgeville relatives, who secretly leaf through the book to find themselves, but the soft-spoken Georgia native is quick to assure me that Blood Ties is largely the work of his imagination.
The book’s cover is a detail from McIntosh Street, a painting by Frank Stanley Herring (1894-1966) that Sean first noticed in a Milledgeville funeral home when his father sent him there on an errand.

In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on June 1, 2008, Amber Dermont wrote that Blood Ties & Brown Liquor “is certain to mark Hill's emergence as a major new voice in American poetry."

--Jeff Calder

You can hear Jeff and Sean Hill's conversation Sunday at 8:00pm on Cover To Cover, right after The Infinite Mind on GPB Radio.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Pearl Cleage's Seen It All And Done The Rest

Melissa Stiers steps up as part of the GPB Southern Lit Cadre this weekend, interviewing Atlanta-based essayist, poet, journalist and novelist Pearl Cleage. Cleage ventures into new territory as an artist and American in her latest novel Seen It All and Done the Rest—that of reclaiming her citizenship. On Sunday's edition of Cover To Cover, Cleage talks about how she’s been as much an activist in her life as an author. And the activist in her, fighting for civil rights as an African American in the 1960’s and 70’s and women’s rights after, dissociated herself from being American.
But on a recent journey out West, where her new novel began to bud, she saw herself in the beauty of the land and the kindness of the people. Coupled with two Democratic potentials for president that she can identify with as a black woman, she’s in new terrain, where, in her own words, she’s "putting down the sword and making ploughshares."
Cleage explores this idea with a new heroine, Josephine Evans, an actress of the international stage who returns stateside. Through Evans and the characters she encounters (some familiar— Abbie Browning’s back and Zora too), Cleage breathes life into current events and the issues of our age that read black and white in newspaper headlines. Josephine asks questions like "What is the free woman’s role in wartime," and with the full palette of human feelings, Cleage masterfully answers. Tune in Sunday night at 8pm for this fascinating conversation between two interesting women.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Herschel Walker's Breaking Free, This Week On Cover To Cover

Frank Reiss interviews Herschel Walker on this week's edition of Cover To Cover, Sunday at 8pm. Frank posts these comments about Herschel, himself, and the upcoming interview:

Having entered the University of Georgia in the Fall of 1980, just as Herschel Walker did--with every intention of pursuing a career in sports journalism--the Bulldog legend has figured prominently in my life for quite some time. I covered his entire college career for WGST Radio and for the campus paper, The Red & Black, and have vivid memories of interviewing Herschel at weekly press conferences, after games, even jogging around the track in the Spring of 1981 on the day we learned together that President Reagan had been shot.

Walker had always struck me as mysterious, or more probably disingenuous, with his talk about wanting to be an FBI agent, never working out, writing poetry... His answers to the constant onslaught of sports writers' questions were, even by the standards set in that world, repetitive, cliche-ridden, wholly impersonal. And unbelievable.

But, of course, as a Bulldog fan, I've always loved Herschel. There's simply never been anybody like him. To have witnessed his college career seems to me to be a privilege equal to having watched Babe Ruth. An entirely transcendent figure.

So when I learned that Herschel had written a memoir disclosing that he suffered from a rare psychological disorder, I was fascinated. "Maybe that explains his odd, distant demeanor that I remembered from a quarter of a century ago," I thought. In fact, in talking to Atlanta Journal -Constitution book editor Tom Sabulis, my fascination over the idea of the book boiled over, leaking word to the paper months in advance of when Herschel's publisher had intended to put the book out. Breaking Free was originally scheduled to come out in August, right before football season. When the AJC broke the story early this year, though, Simon & Schuster rushed it into production.

The book has obviously caused quite a stir in sports circles and in the psychological community. "Is this for real?" everybody seems to be asking. Having devoured the book as soon as I got my hands on an advanced copy, I'm convinced that it is. Anybody suggesting that Herschel made this up to sell books has got to have some sort of a psychological disorder themselves. "Herschel Walker, Football Hero" would have been a much easier sell to the Bulldog nation than this work.

Nobody could have a squeakier clean image than Herschel, so the idea that he is using this as an excuse for bad behavior doesn't make sense either, because he hasn't needed to be excused for anything. The only bad behavior anyone has ever heard about from Herschel is from him, in this book.

As Herschel said in our interview, nobody can really understand the mystery of the human mind. So whether anybody else wants to agree with his and his doctor's diagnosis of Dissociative Identity Disorder seems irrelevant. Something was clearly causing Herschel to behave in ways he was scared by, and ashamed of, and the treatment he has undergone, has helped him manage that behavior better. And since the treatment included writing about his life, it has resulted in this book.

Herschel's journey inward has also revealed to him, in addition to all of the difficulties D.I.D. has caused, that the way his mind works has also been instrumental in making him the remarkably accomplished person he is.

After reading the book, after spending time with him at his Atlanta book signing, and especially after interviewing him for Cover To Cover. I admire Herschel Walker as a man as much as I ever have as an athlete. His willingness to explore such a controversial topic strikes me as truly heroic.

Our conversation covered a lot of ground, most intriguingly for me his love of literature and his student experiences at UGA. Outside the studio, Herschel talked even more excitedly about his business ventures. This was not the robotic-sounding athlete with the canned answers I've heard for all these years--and whom you can still hear in most of his interviews; this is a deep-thinking, phenomenally-driven, complex man whose remarkable mind and spirit is likely to lead him down many more interesting paths in the future. I, for one, will be watching--and reading--with great interest.

-Frank Reiss

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Dr. Stan Deaton Interviews John Ferling About The American Revolution This Sunday on Cover To Cover

Dr. Stan Deaton, Vice-President for Programs and Scholarship for the Savannah-based Georgia Historical Society, takes on the rigors of the GPB Southern Lit Cadre, debuting Sunday night at 8pm with his interview of West Georgia University Professor Dr. John Ferling about his latest book Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War of Independence, published by Oxford University Press.

I visited with Stan about the book and why the American Revolution is still important for all of us to think about from time to time.

GPB: Why did you choose to talk with Ferling about this book?

Deaton: Almost A Miracle is the best single-volume military history of the war now available. Penetrating analysis and graceful prose make this must reading for anyone who seeks to understand that crucial event in American history.

Stan Deaton's Top 9 Reasons for Studying the American Revolution:

1. The American Revolution created a form of govt. that was unique on the world's stage--republicanism: representative government in which the people are sovereign and they in turn give limited powers to the govt., which are enumerated in written constitutions and not dependent on the arbitrary power of an individual; govt. is there to serve the people, not the other way around.

2. The American Revolution was led and secured by the most extraordinary group of Americans who ever lived: Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, Franklin. They were smart, they were well-read, they were learned, and most importantly they were committed to Enlightenment principles of a secular society based on political and economic liberalism and humanitarian reform.

3. The American Revolution separated Church and State--again, this is unique. Religion in the U.S. would flourish because it would be pluralistic and voluntary, rather than state-supported & monolithic

4. The American Revolution ensured that American life is founded on civil liberties--committed to preserving basic freedoms, like freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of association, and freedom of worship

5. The Revolutionary Generation first grappled with many of the enduring problems we still deal with--race in American society (what is an "inalienable right"?); the proper role of govt. in our lives; the separation of church and state; the growth of party politics; issues of liberty vs. security; states rights v. centralized power; growth of the military in a free society.

6. The American Revolution set in motion the modern egalitarian social and political movements of the 19th and 20th centuries--the abolitionist movements, the women's movement, democratic revolutions, and the civil rights movement.

7. The American Revolution created both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution--two documents that were and are unique in the world and are worth studying all by themselves.

8. The American Revolution established the precedent that Americans have peaceful elections and that they give up power peacefully, exemplified most dramatically by Washington's voluntarily stepping down after two terms and the shift in power from one party to another in the Election of 1800.

9. Finally, the American Revolution established the U.S. as a nation founded on ideas, not ethnicity, not culture, or religion, as so many European, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries would be and are.

Tune in Sunday night at 8pm on Cover To Cover for the conversation between Deaton and John Ferling.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Jesse Freeman Interviews David Fulmer

Join us on Sunday, May 11 at 8:00pm as Cover To Cover introduces a new member of our Southern Lit Cadre, Jesse Freeman. Jesse will be chatting with Atlanta-based noir-culture writer David Fulmer about his most recent novels The Dying Crapshooter's Blues and The Blue Door. The first of these takes place in Atlanta in the 1920's and includes blues legend Blind Willie McTell. Cover To Cover will feature McTell's song of the same name as part of Sunday's show.

Jesse Freeman grew up in Madison, Georgia, where he wrote for the hometown weekly, The Madisonian. He received a B. A. in English from Georgia State University. Jesse is a freelance journalist and video producer in the Atlanta area. He is a GPB TV correspondent for Lawmakers and Prep Sports Plus. His documentary work on the late author Raymond Andrews landed him a speaking appearance at the 19th Annual Southern Writers’ Symposium in Fayetteville, North Carolina. He has also been nominated for a Magazine Association of the Southeast’s GAMMA Award for an article he authored on Andrews.

I interviewed Jesse for the Cover To Cover Blog so that you could get a better idea of where he is coming from

CTC: What is it you like about Southern Literature?

Jesse Freeman: I love the attention to character. That's the hallmark of Southern literature, I think...that it is character-driven. Bocaccio begins his Decameron, "Human, it is..." and I think Southern writers write that way, with a rich understanding of what it is to be human.

As far as contemporary Southern writers, I really like Richard Bausch. His debut novel, Real Presence, which I think was published in 1981, is a wonderful novel and it encapsulates the best of what I just mentioned about Southern writing. He has some personal shortcomings that have been talked about lately, but he has done as much as anyone to promote young Southern writers. I interviewed Bausch once and he told me a story about how thrilled he was to be on a flight with Bob Dylan. I thought to myself how thrilled I was to be having a conversation with Richard Bausch.

My favorite Southern writer of all time is Faulkner. That doesn't put me out on a limb, but what are you gonna do? His writing is without parallel. Henry James, James Joyce, Naqib Mahfooz--they're all great, but Faulkner resonates like no other. He demands a tremendous investment from the reader, but pays back in great dividends.

CTC: What do you like about David Fulmer, who you are talking with on Sunday about his two most recent novels?

Jesse Freeman: What I like about Fulmer's writing is partly due to the fact that it is in contrast to the Southern tradition. His characters are good enough, but they're not subtle and masterful. Rather, it is the plot that drives his novels. This sets him apart. Plot is often lost on Southern writers. It's not lost with Fulmer. Also, I love that he seems to take great joy in writing. He loves music and cars and drinking and it seems he loves to write about things. He takes it upon himself to mention these things, though it is sometimes unnecessary and sometimes redundant. He is a guy's guy. He has a lot of female fans, but so does Springsteen. Fulmer loves to write about the blues and jazz and big cars and drinking liquor. I enjoy reading someone who seems to enjoy writing.

We hope you enjoy Jesse's interview with David Fulmer on Sunday's edition of Cover To Cover. Questions or comments to

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cover To Cover Off May 4, Great Lineup Coming

Cover To Cover is taking Sunday, May 4 off to make room for the live Big Band Jump Jubilee, which pushes The Infinite Mind into the 8pm hour. But don't fret, GPB literature fans, the Southern Lit Cadre will be back starting next Sunday with a series of entertaining and informative conversations with writers we know you will enjoy.

On May 11, Jesse Freeman interviews novelist David Fulmer about his most recent two novels, including The Dying Crapshooter's Blues, which takes place in Atlanta in the 1920's and features legendary bluesman Blind Willie McTell as a character. Upcoming interviews will include Dr. Stan Deaton's debut as a member of the cadre with his interview with historian John Ferling and his book about the American Revolution, Almost A Miracle. Jeff Calder will be talking with Milledgeville-born poet Sean Hill about his new collection Blood Ties and Brown Liquor.

Melissa Stiers will be talking with Pearl Cleage about her new novel Seen It All And Done The Rest, and Frank Reiss will be talking with Georgia Bulldog legend Herschel Walker about his new memoir Breaking Free.

So enjoy The Infinite Mind Sunday night, but know that Cover To Cover will return at 8pm on Sunday, May 11. If you have questions or comments for Cover To Cover, just email us at

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

John T. Edge From The Southern Foodways Alliance On This Week's Cover To Cover

This weekend on Cover To Cover Frank Reiss interviews John T. Edge, the Director of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of Mississippi. Edge, a Macon native, has just released a revised and expanded edition of Southern Belly, a travelogue and appreciation of Southern Food and what it says about Southern Culture. He's also edited Volume 4 of Cornbread Nation-The Best of Southern Cooking. Frank and John T are old friends, and their free-wheeling discussion of Southern Food and how it has an integral role in our culture and our relationship to each other makes for an entertaining listen. Although if you listen before you have Sunday dinner you might be compelled to duck out for some barbecue or fried pies before the interview ends. In fact, John T walked into his interview with Frank at the GPB Talk Studio in Atlanta carrying a box from full of fried peach pies from The Varsity. Hear the interview Sunday night April 27 at 8pm on Cover To Cover.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Poet Ed Pavlic Joins Jeff Calder On Cover To Cover Sunday, April 20

This Sunday on Cover To Cover we welcome the debut of GPB Southern Lit Cadre Member Jeff Calder. Jeff will cover a range of subjects on the program in the months to come, but his 'beat' will be poetry. On Sunday's show he talks with University of Georgia Professor Ed Pavlic. Pavlic's new book is entitled Winners Have Yet To Be Announced: A Song For Donny Hathaway.

The book is Pavlic's attempt to see inside the life, music and untimely death of this elemental soul music artist, a man remembered for efforts as diverse as "Where Is The Love" with Roberta Flack or the theme to Norman Lear's 1970's sitcom "Maude." But Hathaway was highly influential in his own way, known as "your favorite soul singer's favorite singer." Pavlic tries to inhabit Hathaway, who left little in the way of legitimate biography or history after his jump from the 10th floor window of his room at the Essex House in New York City in 1979.

Writer and musician Jeff Calder and Pavlic talk about Hathaway, and Pavlic's approach to poetry. Listen in and you will also hear portions of Hathaway's songs "Give It Up" and "The Ghetto." We hope you enjoy this week's show. All comments, bouquets and brickbats to

Monday, April 7, 2008

Anne B. Jones and Jaclyn Weldon White On Cover To Cover Sunday, April 13

Southern regional writers Anne B. Jones and Jaclyn Weldon White join Rob Maynard this weekend on Cover To Cover. Jacklyn Weldon White's new book is Mockingbird In The Moonlight, a thriller set in Macon Georgia amid the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. White talks about the book, and how her background as a former Gwinnett County detective shaped the narrative and her book's newest literary crime-stopper Dixie McClatchey.

Anne B. Jones joins us to talk about her upcoming serial killer-thriller set on St. Simon's Island, called Blackwater Rising, as well as the Writer's Vision Quest 2008-Tapping Into Your Native Spirit Writing Conference, held April 25-27 in Flovilla, Georgia.

Anne B. Jones and Jaclyn Weldon White are both published by Indigo Custom Publishing, based in Macon, Georgia.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Georgia Review Names New Editor

It is said that “everything comes to he who waits.” That is certainly true of Stephen Corey.

Corey [pictured below right] is the longtime associate editor of The Georgia Review. He joined the Review’s staff in 1983 as assistant editor serving under the great Stan Lindberg. In 1998, when Stan’s health deteriorated to the point where he could no longer continue to work, Corey was named acting editor. He “acted” as editor while UGA did a search and in 2001, when T.R. Hummer was appointed editor, Corey resumed the associate’s role.
Since the middle of 2006 Corey has once again been acting editor, Hummer having left the Review and moved to Arizona State University.

And now Corey gets the top job himself, a position he richly deserves. He has been named the permanent editor effective immediately. I received the news from Corey himself in an email yesterday.

No one knows the Review like Corey. He served his apprenticeship under the tutelage of Lindberg; he has spent long periods as acting editor; and he was involved in the redesign of the journal that Hummer instituted.

It should also be noted that the National Magazine Award the Review won last year was for a piece from an edition that Corey edited.

Besides being an editor at the Review, Corey is also a very fine poet with nine published volumes to his name.

Recognizing him as “one of the more influential literary figures in the state,” the New Georgia Encyclopedia Companion to Georgia Literature states that Corey “has helped shape the literary landscape in this country for the past two decades.”

I’m so very glad UGA has finally awarded Corey the top job at the Review. He will continue and enhance the tradition of excellence the Review has come to embody, a tradition that Corey himself has been intimately involved in creating.

Congratulations Stephen!

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