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.

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.