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Headshot of a woman.
Photo by Andria Lo

Author and 2020 NEA Literature Fellow

Author and 2020 NEA Literature Fellow Vanessa Hua has a sense of humor and a feel for an apt turn of phrase. She describes her novel A River of Stars as “a pregnant Chinese Thelma and Louise.” She’s just as wry in her description of her book of short stories, Deceit and Other Possibilities, whose theme she says is “model minorities behaving badly.” And while both descriptions are spot-on, they only hint at the complexity of the lives she explores in fiction. She vividly explores the lives of immigrants in San Francisco’s Chinatown, single mothers hustling to support themselves and their children while agonizing over the daily separation, and first-generation parents and second-generation children facing a divide as wide as the Yangtze River or San Francisco Bay. Hua began her career as a journalist, and she has a keen ear for the struggles of people on the streets and has the ability to give them voice. In this podcast, she talks about her experiences as a journalist, as a writer of fiction, as a mother, and as a second-generation Chinese American. She is clear these experiences don’t exist in silos but are always informing one another.

Richard Hunt headshot

Sculptor

Richard Hunt talks about creating large pieces of abstract art for public spaces and reflects on his time on the National Council of the Arts.

Wil Haygood
Photo Courtesy of the Columbus Museum of Art

Journalist, author, and cultural historian

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance, the intellectual, social and artistic burst of African-American culture that erupted in the Harlem neighborhood in New York City. The Columbus Museum of Art is marking the anniversary with a dazzling exhibition I, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100. Through paintings, prints, photography, sculpture, contemporary documents, books and posters, the exhibition sheds light on both breadth and depth of the Harlem Renaissance. Wil Haygood-a Columbus native-was guest curator and author of the companion book I, Too, Sing America. In this week’s podcast, Wil and I talk about the Harlem Renaissance: the lives of its artists and the spectacular work they produced, the social history that informed the art movement, and the work of bringing it all together in the exhibit and the book.

Headshot of a man.
Photo by Bob Haggart Jr.

Pianist and 2017 NEA Jazz Master

A musical shape-shifter.

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