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, May 27, 2009

Transformation and Hope in Small Town America

Like any good reporter, The New York Times' Warren St. John recognized a compelling story when a friend tipped him off to a youth soccer team of refugee children from dozens of different countries playing in the tiny Southern town of Clarkston, GA, just east of Atlanta, home to a massive relocation project.

He might not have expected, however, to meet a character like the team's coach, Jordanian-born Luma Mufleh and a complex tale of cultural conflict that would ultimately lead to his remarkable second book, Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, An American Town, movie studios bidding for the story, and, on a personal level, a life-altering, consciousness-raising experience.

A native of Birmingham, Alabama, St. John talks of Mufleh and her team, The Fugees, like a man on a mission, a mission that goes far beyond the soccer field and toward a dream of greater human understanding between people of wildly divergent backgrounds. And, amazingly enough, the cynical New York newspaper man does it all with infectious hope and optimism.

You can hear this week's interview with Frank Reiss and Warren St. John Sunday night at 8 on Cover to Cover.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Letters From Tommy J.

Three million US soldiers served in the Vietnam War between 1965 and 1973. Tommy J. Holtzclaw was one of the many young men to serve in Vietnam during this time. His journey began at the young age of 17 when he chose to enlist in the United States Marine Corps. On December 9, 1966, he boarded a Navy ship en route to Vietnam – never to return.

Years later his nieces, who never had the chance to really know him, found the letters he wrote to family and friends during his time there. Connie C. Hughes and Terri C. Walker compiled these letters and tell his story in Letters from Tommy J. This book is a portrait of a young man coming of age during one of the most difficult times in American history.
You can listen to this special Memorial Day edition of Cover to Cover this Sunday night at 8 on GPB.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A New Found Mission

In the summer of 1993, an American traveled to Pakistan to climb the second highest mountain on earth, but he never reached the summit, he got lost coming down but found a new mission. The village Greg Mortenson stumbled into needed a school. After they helped him restore his health, he came back to the states with the determination to return one day and build them a school. He's been building schools throughout central Asia since. The New York Time's best-selling book Three Cups of Tea is an account of Greg Mortenson's mission. He sits down with GPB's Melissa Stiers to talk about the book that's on the required reading list at the Pentagon. Mortenson explains how his work is an affront to global terrorism. Why teaching not just a child... but a girl how to read quells the violence in Taliban-run regions of the world.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Love Letter to Atlanta

On this week's Cover to Cover, Frank Reiss interviews Susan Rebecca White on her debut novel: Bound South. He gives us this preview...

Atlanta is currently bursting at the seams with young novelists debuting into the literary world. Undoubtedly the most "Atlanta-centric" among them is Atlanta native and resident Susan Rebecca White, whose first novel, Bound South, is set in her home town. The novel's appeal, however, is in no way limited to locals.

Bound South is intelligent and funny and insightful about many things that occupy everybody's minds all over the country: important matters like race, class, gender roles, and, really important matters like sex and food.

As she discusses in her Cover to Cover interview, this is not an autobiographical work but it uses many elements from White's own experience, including coming from a uniquely blended family that straddled a couple of distinct cultures in the Atlanta area. She can stake claim to both the well-to-do Buckhead & Ansley Park neighborhoods as well as the poorer areas outlying the city limits; her family includes progressive Protestants as well as hard-line fundamentalists.

Bound South thus is a complex family saga that explores universal themes. For those of us who know Atlanta well, though, it is especially satisfying to read a story set in the city from such an informed, loving, talented--and home-grown-- writer. Even when her story takes her to the other city she and I share in common--San Francisco--White shines in her ability to capture a place and make it a crucial part of the story.

You can listen to the interview this Sunday night at 8 on GPB.

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