The Downtown Writers Jam
Brad King hosts The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast, a discussion with writers about the terrible things in life that led them to join the ranks of the weird and the writerly.
info_outline Episode 75: Stephanie Scott 07/23/2020
Episode 75: Stephanie Scott Episode 75: Stephanie Scott: This one is a wild ride. We begin with breakfasting with orangutan, move to translating Dante, slip through banking, and wind our way to author Stephanie Scott's debut, . And you're going to learn a great deal about Brad's desire to befriend Stephanie's father. Pull up chair and get ready to laugh. This is our last episode before launching with the on Monday, August 3.
info_outline Episode 74: Lee Matthew Goldberg 07/20/2020
Episode 74: Lee Matthew Goldberg Episode 74: Lee Matthew Goldberg: It's not often you meet a writer who wrote a four season television show as a middle school student, but author Lee Matthew Goldberg did just that. In other words: He knew he was going to write from very early. Goldberg stopped by the Bunker to talk about his new book, , growing up in New York City, and (gasp) not enjoying Mister Rogers as a kid! (We're not holding that against him, good people.)
info_outline Episode 73: Bobi Conn 07/16/2020
Episode 73: Bobi Conn Episode 73: Bobi Conn: It's not too often the Jam comes to you with this much accent. But author Bobi Conn stopped by the Bunker to talk with Brad about her book, , a memoir about her life growing up in Appalachia, her escape from her violent upbringing, and her building a life outside of her small, rural town. There's a little bit of humor. A bit of down home storytelling. And a lot of wrangling with the legacy of Appalachia.
info_outline Episode 72: Nikki Smith 07/13/2020
Episode 72: Nikki Smith Episode 72: Nikki Smith: There's nothing like getting a job at a bank to inspire you to pursue your passion. And that—along with a Facebook message from an old classmate—absolutely helped kickstart British author Nikki Smith's writing career. Well, sort of. So, pull up a chair and listen to Nikki and Brad talk pets, writing, accidental careers, and her road to writing , a deep
info_outline Episode 71: Dr. Megan Kate Nelson 07/09/2020
Episode 71: Dr. Megan Kate Nelson Episode 71: Dr. Megan Kate Nelson: Author and U.S. historian Dr. Megan Kate Nelson and Brad take a deep dive into the cultural discussion happening about statues, placemaking, and the lens through which we view history. From history vacations with her family to graduating from Harvard, she’s spent her life learning, teaching, and now writing about the United States. Her book, , examines the Civil War and the American West through three different lenses: indigenous people, soldiers, and civilians. But, the show isn’t all heavy. Brad and Megan talked about her father’s love of paper maps, her two-year teaching stint at a boarding school, and her mom winning the Better Homes & Garden living room of the year award.
info_outline Episode 70: Stephanie Storey 07/06/2020
Episode 70: Stephanie Storey Episode 70: Stephanie Storey: Author Stephanie Storey (Raphael, Painter in Rome) took a rather circuitous route from Hot Springs, Arkansas to Hollywood. After studying Art History at Vanderbilt, she made her way to Los Angeles where she began working in television. There, she learned the craft of storytelling and interviewing while working her way up as a producer on various television programs. Then, she wrote her first book——which became a best seller. So what comes next besides the existential dread that comes with success? Her second book, , which is out now.
info_outline Episode 69: Helen Zuman 06/29/2020
Episode 69: Helen Zuman Episode 69: Helen Zuman: The search for meaning often takes us on interesting journeys. For author Helen Zuman, that search led the Harvard graduate to Zendik Farm in 1999. But, this isn't the story you are expecting. Sit down and listen as Helen and Brad talk about her book, , her search for meaning in the world, and the fallout—and her subsequent rebirth—after nearly losing herself in a cult of personality.
info_outline Episode 68: Aimee Liu 06/25/2020
Episode 68: Aimee Liu Episode 68: Aimee Liu: The pandemic has given everyone enough time to sit with our own philosophical musings. And author and Brad brought that to the show, ruminating on the meaning of time and the fallacy of memory. It wasn't all existentialism, though. They also covered her early modeling career, her eating disorder, a failed painting career, and how all of that shaped her writing and her career. (A career that has spanned both fiction and non-fiction!) Her latest book, , is out now.
info_outline Episode 67: Joe Clifford 06/22/2020
Episode 67: Joe Clifford Episode 67: Joe Clifford: Buckle up for this interview. It's unlike anything else you've heard on the program. But this is no Hero's Journey for either author ( + ) or Brad. Joe came out of the block on fire, and they covered everything from Donald Trump (two thumbs down), addiction, white privilege, empathy, toxic masculinity, mental health, and therapy. Oh, and writing. There was some talk of writing. If you listen closely.
info_outline Episode 66: Hannah Mary McKinnon 06/18/2020
Episode 66: Hannah Mary McKinnon Episode 66: Hannah Mary McKinnon: You're going to learn a little bit about German dialects and the insanity of the word "the" in the German language in this episode. But stick around—Brad and author Hannah Mary McKinnon aren't just talking languages. They are here to talk about her book, , which is a Canadian best seller. Oh, her family's drive to consistently reinvent themselves. So, yeah, come for a chat with a marvelous author and stay for your daily dose of German.
info_outline Episode 65: Dr. James Carter 06/15/2020
Episode 65: Dr. James Carter Episode 65: Dr. James Carter: The Downtown Writers Jam Podcast is staying on the history train with author Dr. James (he goes by Jay, though) Carter (), who spent his life unpacking how he looks at the world. In this episode, Jay and Brad talk about how he does that using curiosity, writing, and (professionally) through examining the United States' relationship with China.
info_outline Episode 64: Dr. Stephen Knott 06/12/2020
Episode 64: Dr. Stephen Knott Episode 64: Dr. Stephen Knott: There’s nothing better than good, old political gossip, and that’s just what Brad got with Dr. Stephen Knott, who—amongst other projects—ran an oral history program that covered the Regan and Bush presidential years. And, it was that project that led Knott to write seven books, including . Come for the political intrigue and stay…well stay for the political intrigue!
info_outline Episode 63: Abigail Mann 06/08/2020
Episode 63: Abigail Mann Episode 63: Abigail Mann: From writing journals at the dinner table to writing her first novel (), novelist Abigail Mann and Brad talk what they didn't know about the publishing industry and the joy of fan fiction readings. (And, you know, a bit about the literary feud happening in the world of poetry. Sorry, poets!)
info_outline Episode 62: Jennifer Louden 06/04/2020
Episode 62: Jennifer Louden So much of life is about finding comfort in your own skin. Somehow, Brad and author () stumbled down that rabbit hole on this episode of the Jam. But it wasn't all philosophical. Jennifer also explains how she accidentally ended up with her writing career.
info_outline Episode 61: Anika Scott 06/02/2020
Episode 61: Anika Scott Author has been on the move for most of her life, but that has made all the difference! While her first novel, , is now available, Anika’s personal life has also been filled with adventure. From working at major newspapers to quitting her job to move to Germany after meeting her future husband on a travel website, you will want to settle back in for this story. (Oh, and there’s a great discussion about Winter Guard. Don’t know what that is? You will!)
info_outline Episode 60: Susan Allott 05/28/2020
Episode 60: Susan Allott Episode 60: Susan Allott: One of the enduring themes of the program is that almost nobody knows how to become a writer. On this episode of the Jam, author Susan Allot went to Australia for a boy, got homesick, came back to Britain, married an Australian...and then more than a decade later she wrote her book about a British woman who returns to Sydney. But, as you'll find out, that's not what her book is about. And there's more to Susan's story.
info_outline Episode 59: Hosho McCreesh 05/21/2020
Episode 59: Hosho McCreesh Episode 59: Hosho McCreesh: Saddle up to the bar, y'all as author Hosho McCreesh and Brad talk about the world of DIY writing, publishing, and drinking. You're going to want to leave the top of the bottle for this one. Lord knows they did. Oh, and make sure you check out Hosho's audio project, .
info_outline Episode 58: Andrew Altschul 05/18/2020
Episode 58: Andrew Altschul Episode 58: Andrew Altschul: If you're a fan of the show, you've heard Brad talk about the MFA versus kludge writer divide. Today, it comes to the Jam! Author Andrew Altschul stopped by to talk about his latest book, . In between their shared love of dogs and the outdoors, they slipped into that oh-so-writerly debate. Sidle on up to the bar for an insider conversation on what it means to be a writer.
info_outline Episode 57: Dr. Hilary Green 05/14/2020
Episode 57: Dr. Hilary Green Episode 57: Dr. Hilary Green: On this episode of the Jam, Brad and author Dr. Hilary Green talk the importance of oral culture and the difficulty of tracking down those shared stories. The driving force of that discussion, Hilary's book, , which grew out of her research into the stories and data that history texts have forgotten. And that research came—in part—from a question her mother asked!
info_outline Episode 56: Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky 05/11/2020
Episode 56: Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky Episode 56: Dr. Lindsay Chervinsky: This is one of those podcasts where you're going to learn a thing or two! Historian Lindsay Chervinsky stopped by the Jam to discuss her book, More than once, Brad found himself saying "I had no idea that's how this whole thing worked." You will, too. But, it wasn't all work. They also talked baseball and hiking!
info_outline Episode 55: Michael Seese 05/07/2020
Episode 55: Michael Seese Episode 55: Michael Seese: Author went from writing business books to writing children's books. But he did that in the most modern way possible. He wrote , tapping the story on his phone while his young son was at football practice. The only unexpected consequence: now he has two more books to write because the other children are waiting for their stories!
info_outline Episode 54: Louise Fein 05/04/2020
Episode 54: Louise Fein Episode 54: Louise Fein: Sometimes a conversation stays with me long after the interview. That was the case with novelist , whose book ( in the U.S.) is out in May. We talked of her family's escape from Germany in the thirties, her rediscovering a history she didn’t know, and staking claim to a voice about a place—and a culture—to which she is forever connected.
info_outline Episode 53: Trevor Wood 04/29/2020
Episode 53: Trevor Wood I'm never quite sure what we're getting into on the Jam. In this episode, author and playwright took me on a journey that weaved through his time in the Royal Navy, then to becoming a playwright, and on to writing his first novel, . Most writers travel a circuitous path on their way to publishing, but Trevor's is one of the most interesting we'd had on the show. Buckle up and pour a stiff drink.
info_outline Episode 52: Tommy Jenkins 04/28/2020
Episode 52: Tommy Jenkins When you get two hillbillies behind the microphone, you never know where the conversation is going to go. Author Tommy Jenkins stopped by the Jam to talk about his new graphic novel, , living in Appalachia, and the learning curve both he and I went through in terms of understanding race and class in America. Oh, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
info_outline Episode 51: Samantha M. Bailey 04/23/2020
Episode 51: Samantha M. Bailey This conversation could have gone on all day. (Don't worry, it doesn't!) Author Samantha M. Bailey stopped by the show to talk about her debut thriller, . Her road to publication was neither smooth nor fast. But the journey proved worthwhile. As did the unexpected turns she took along her way.
info_outline Episode 50: Sara Sligar 04/20/2020
Episode 50: Sara Sligar The Big Number 50 is here! We're happy to celebrate that milestone with author Sara Sligar (, ), who stopped by the Jam to talk about her debut novel, . Plus, we took a deep dive into the weird insecurities that come from being a writer without all that formal writing training. Oh, and the power of just wandering through your world.
info_outline Episode 49: Janelle Brown 04/16/2020
Episode 49: Janelle Brown Episode 49: Janelle Brown: I've been wanting Janelle on the program for some time, but the release of her fourth book, , felt like the right time considering Nicole Kidman optioned the book for an Amazon Prime series. But this is her second writing act. Before she was a best selling novelist, she was one of the most important voices in technology journalism.
info_outline Episode 48: Katie Orphan 04/13/2020
Episode 48: Katie Orphan Episode 48: Katie Orphan: Author and book consultant stopped by the Jam to talk about her book . Turns out literary tourism is another thing Brad didn’t know existed, so they took a deep into how Katie’s life led her to curating books for a living and writing about experiencing the world through the eyes of literary figures and their haunts. Less on the pandemic, more on life with words.
info_outline Episode 47: Sarah Frier 04/09/2020
Episode 47: Sarah Frier Bloomberg reporter Sarah Frier stopped by the Jam to discuss her book, . But, we also got into her illustrious college journalism career (and if you like sports, you've actually heard of her work) and the work it takes to cover technology these days. Thankfully, I only told a few stories from back in my day!
info_outline Episode 46: Mindy Mejia 04/05/2020
Episode 46: Mindy Mejia Crime novelist Mindy Mejia stopped by the Jam to talk about her fourth novel, . Along the way we talked about growing up around science and engineers, life in Minnesota, her two bachelor's degrees (including her C.P.A. certification!), and how she's built her own cottage industry and fan base.