Dorothy Allison: Tender to the Bone

Amy Wright interviews novelist, activist, and feminist Dorothy Allison on class, how poverty can influence a life’s path, the definition of a working-class heroine, and the role of women writers in literature.

Author: Amy Wright
Published: May 18, 2018
Length: 21 minutes (5,311 words)

A Long Hot Walk to the Mormon Promised Land

In 1997, a sexually-frustrated teenager and 600 of his peers recreated the three-month Mormon trek through the wilderness: “Our caravans’ ‘provisions’ were just the heavy mounds of North Face bags full of acne creams and hair gels and body sprays.”

Published: May 7, 2018
Length: 10 minutes (2,700 words)

Bolivia’s Quest to Spread the Gospel of Coca

Long before cocaine became nose candy for white executives and Brazilian party boys, it was a sacred leaf. Andean people chew it. They drink it as tea. Now Bolivia is trying to market this indigenous stimulant in everything from cosmetics to sodas, and their president wants the world to know that coca leaf is not the same as cocaine. Will the world listen?

Published: Apr 16, 2018
Length: 20 minutes (5,165 words)

Black American Princess in Training

In this warm and lighthearted personal essay (and excerpt from a forthcoming memoir), writer Glynn Pogue recalls the moment in her pre-teen years that she found comfort and belonging with a group of girls in black, upper middle class Brooklyn.

Published: Nov 16, 2017
Length: 7 minutes (1,959 words)

The Fallout

Low-level nuclear waste, discarded from the experiments of World War II’s Manhattan Project, was dumped in two locations in the suburbs of St. Louis. Author Lacy M. Johnson chronicles the human costs of America’s nuclear arms race.

Published: Jul 10, 2017
Length: 43 minutes (10,943 words)

Nina Simone in Liberia

Katherina Grace Thomas weaves together a gripping account of the years Nina Simone found freedom from America’s racial strife in lush, pre-Civil War Liberia.

Published: Jun 19, 2017
Length: 20 minutes (5,003 words)

Notes from the Lower Level

Poet and memoirist Camille T. Dungy writes with captivating, lyrical detail about the incessant news cycle of black deaths, the psychic toll it has taken on her, and how her approach to daily life has been altered.

Published: Jun 16, 2017
Length: 10 minutes (2,563 words)

Doll in Shadow

Maria Browning reflects on the fact that while Alzheimer’s Disease has stolen her mother’s memory, it has also relieved her of the pain of her past — something that Browning is unable to forget.

Published: Mar 24, 2017
Length: 6 minutes (1,598 words)

On Impractical Urges

An essay excerpted from Robin Romm’s forthcoming anthology Double Bind: Women on Ambition in which The Twelve Tribes of Hattie novelist Ayana Mathis considers the writing ambitions she often hasn’t felt entitled to–even after Oprah Winfrey chose her book as an Oprah 2.0 pick.

Published: Apr 3, 2017
Length: 18 minutes (4,562 words)

Sanctuary

After nearly thirty years building a life in Arizona, one man of Mexican descent takes refuge in a Phoenix church that’s part of the New Sanctuary Movement, which offers protection to undocumented migrants threatened by deportation. Quitting his job, not seeing his children, limited travel ─ this is what it looks like to live in fear of losing everything.

Published: Mar 6, 2017
Length: 22 minutes (5,632 words)