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Author Interviews
5:25 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

From Her Dad To Her 'Jamish' Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 6:02 pm

Growing up in 1970s England, Salena Godden stood out. Her mother was Jamaican and her father was an Irish jazz musician who mysteriously disappeared from her life when she was very young.

In her memoir, Springfield Road, the writer, poet and musician tells the story of finding her personal identity, beginning with the word she made up to describe her race: Jamish.

"It's kind of ... a mix of being Jamaican, Irish, English," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "It's the name I gave myself."

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Pop Culture
5:25 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

Die-In, Vortex, Selfie Stick: What's The Word Of 2014?

Die-ins, like this one at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on December 6, were conducted across America to protest the non-indictment of the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Linguist Ben Zimmer says that while the word "die-in" isn't new, its increased use makes it a strong candidate for the American Dialect Society's 2014 Word of the Year.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 6:02 pm

In January, linguists will gather for the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society in January to vote on the 2014 Word of the Year.

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Author Interviews
7:39 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Jamie Oliver, Up To His Elbows In Mashed Potatoes With 'Comfort Food'

Holly Farrell ABC-TV

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 11:07 am

Jamie Oliver is a food superstar — he's produced and presented hugely popular TV programs on cooking, notably The Naked Chef and more recently Jamie's Food Revolution. He's written more than a dozen cookbooks, many to accompany the TV shows. He's written about English food, Italian food, fast food, American food, school food and has campaigned for a healthier diet for kids, built around introducing children to a wider range of things to eat — including the dreaded vegetables.

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Author Interviews
5:38 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Novel Gives Voice To Virginia Woolf's Overshadowed Sister

Unlike her sister, Vanessa Bell, seen here circa 1910, didn't keep a journal. "Her voice is largely unheard and I was really interested in that," Priya Parmar says.
George C. Beresford Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 9:34 pm

In the winter of 1905, in the London neighborhood of Bloomsbury, a group of friends began meeting for drinks and conversation that lasted late into the night. The friends – writers like Lytton Strachey, artists like Roger Fry and thinkers like economist John Maynard Keynes — continued to meet almost weekly for many years. Eventually, they came to be known as the Bloomsbury Group.

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History
5:34 am
Sun December 28, 2014

Before The Internet, Librarians Would 'Answer Everything' — And Still Do

New York Public Library

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 11:07 am

Before Google there was — that paragon of accuracy and calm — the librarian. The New York Public Library recently came upon a box of questions posed to the library from the 1940s to the '80s — a time capsule from an era when humans consulted other humans for answers to their daily questions and conundrums.

Here's one salacious example: "I went to a New Year's Eve Party and unexpectedly stayed over. I don't really know the hosts. Ought I to send a thank-you note?" asked a "somewhat uncertain female voice" during a mid-afternoon telephone call on New Year's Day, 1967.

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Music
6:01 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

John McNeil, A Trumpeter Robbed Of His Breath, Blows Again

Trumpeter John McNeil (far right) rejoins Hush Point, a group of friends from the New York jazz scene, on the new album Blues and Reds.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 8:26 pm

John McNeil may be the most important trumpet player you've never heard of.

Many aspiring musicians know him as an educator, through his many instructional books like The Art of Jazz Trumpet. But getting to know McNeil as a performer or recording artist hasn't always been easy: his records could be tough to find.

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Author Interviews
5:45 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

Comedian Andrea Martin: 'I Don't Think Age Has Anything To Do With It'

Comedian Andrea Martin performs at New York's 54 Below in 2012. She published her memoir Lady Parts in September.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 6:54 pm

In her memoir Lady Parts, comedy star Andrea Martin writes that in the 1970s, comedians weren't as easy to come by as they are now. "Comedians were much more rare," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. They were "like rock stars, really celebrated."

Over the course of her career, Martin has appeared on-stage and on screens both big and small — she won a Tony for her role in Pippin, performed in the films My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and stars in the NBC TV series Working the Engels.

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Space
5:23 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

An Aspiring Martian Continues To Pursue The Red Planet

Beemer, shown at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in 2011, is a candidate for both Mars One and the Mars Arctic 365 program.
Max Fagin

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 6:54 pm

Lt. Heidi Beemer has dreamed of going to Mars since she was 8 years old. She's carefully planned her life, from her education to her career, with a goal of getting to the red planet.

In January she got a step closer to that goal by making first cut of applicants for Mars One — a Netherlands-based nonprofit that has a goal of establishing a permanent, sustainable human settlement on Mars by 2025.

Now, she's preparing to interview for the next round.

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Author Interviews
7:46 am
Sat December 27, 2014

Author Explores Armenian Genocide 'Obsession' And Turkish Denial

Earlier this year, protestors in Los Angeles called for recognition of, and reparations for, the 1915 Armenian genocide executed by Ottoman Turks.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 11:10 am

Writer Meline Toumani grew up in a tight-knit Armenian community in New Jersey. There, identity centered on commemorating the mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War I, a history that's resulted in tense relations between Armenians and Turks to this day.

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Author Interviews
6:32 am
Sat December 27, 2014

'The Bishop's Wife' Tracks A Killer In A Mormon Community

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 11:10 am

Writer Mette Ivie Harrison is no stranger to struggles of faith; she says she spent six years as an atheist within the Mormon church.

"It wasn't something that I talked about openly," she tells NPR's Eric Westervelt. "I lost my faith, and I felt like I had made a promise to my husband and my children that I would continue to participate in the Mormon church. So I kept going."

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