Radio Interviews

KCUR, Kansas City's local NPR station, hosts on its programs many of the authors and speakers that visit the Library. This page lists these interviews and provides links for you to listen to the programs.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Ford discusses his new novel Canada – the story of a teenager who flees his Montana home and begins a new life on the Saskatchewan prairie after his parents are arrested for bank robbery.
    Thursday, March 7, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    In Canada, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford introduces us to teenager Del Parsons, who after his parents’ imprisonment for bank robbery flees his Montana home, beginning a new life on the Saskatchewan prairie.

    Ford reads from Canada and holds a conversation with UMKC Writer-in-Residence Whitney Terrell, organizer of the Writers at Work series. Ford is the author of the Bascombe novels, which include The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day and The Lay of the Land.

    Co-sponsored by the Writers at Work Roundtable and the UMKC English Department.

  • Veteran White House journalist Carl M. Cannon takes a look at Michelle Obama, the first African American first lady, a Harvard-trained lawyer, and one of her husband’s most valued political mentors.  This presentation is the first in the new series Beyond the Gowns: First Ladies in American History.
    Wednesday, March 6, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Veteran journalist Carl M. Cannon discusses the life of first lady Michele Obama on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.

    Michelle Obama is the 46th first lady of the United States, caretaker of an unpaid position that nevertheless is one of the most powerful in the world. How powerful? Put it this way: Even in this rarified air, Mrs. Obama stands out for her closeness to the president.

  • Historian Leon Litwack discusses the 1963 event that gave us Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech and spurred the Kennedy Administration to advance civil rights legislation.
    Leon Litwack: The 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington
    Thursday, February 28, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    In the summer of 1963 more than 200,000 demonstrators descended on the nation’s capital to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The event was highlighted by Martin Luther King’s memorable “I Have A Dream” speech and pressured the Kennedy administration into initiating a strong federal civil rights bill.

  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author  Tim Weiner explains how the FBI became the most formidable intelligence force in American history and how the Bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive ... including presidents.
    Enemies: A History of the FBI
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Its reputation is that of America’s incorruptible police force. Yet the primary mission of the FBI is secret intelligence, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning author Tim Weiner. In his new book Weiner reveals how presidents have used the agency as the most formidable intelligence force in American history, and how the bureau has spied on anyone it considers subversive … including presidents.

    The FBI’s secret intelligence and surveillance techniques have created a tug-of-war between national security and civil liberties, creating a tension that strains the very fabric of a free society.

  • Author Henry Wiencek examines our first president’s long struggle with the issue of slavery, an experience that moved him to free all his slaves upon his death.
    An Imperfect God: George Washington, His Slaves and the Creation of America - Henry Wiencek
    Wednesday, February 20, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    George Washington was a slave owner, a fact which he described as his “only unavoidable subject of regret.” So much did he regret it that in his will Washington made the startling decision to free his slaves. Author Henry Wiencek, who in 2012 spoke at the Library about Thomas Jefferson’s attitudes toward slavery, now examines the relationship between the most iconic of our Founding Fathers and the “peculiar institution.”

  • View clips from a new PBS documentary about KC-born composing genius Virgil Thomson, and enjoy a conversation with the filmmakers –- James Arntz, John Paulson, and Aimee Larrabee.
    A Valentine for Virgil Thomson
    Wednesday, February 13, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Virgil Thomson (1896-1989) went from playing organ in Kansas City’s silent movie houses to become a fixture of “Paris in the twenties,” a prominent music critic, and a world-famous composer of operas (Four Saints in Three Acts, The Mother of Us All) and movie scores (The Plow that Broke the Plains, The River).

  • Walter Stahr examines the
    Seward: Lincoln’s Indispensable Man
    Tuesday, February 12, 2013
    Central Library

    In 1860 William Henry Seward was poised to become the Republican nominee for president, only to lose to Abraham Lincoln.

    Now, on Lincoln’s birthday, historian Walter Stahr describes how the two put aside their rivalry, with Seward becoming Lincoln’s Secretary of State and closest adviser during the Civil War. He was so important that John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators targeted Seward along with the President.

    A former lawyer, Stahr is also the author of John Jay: Founding Father.

  • Photojournalist Gil Cohen-Magen marks United Nations International Interfaith Harmony Week with a discussion of his images of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim celebrations in modern Israel.
    Images of Faith in the Holy Land - Gil Cohen-Magen
    Tuesday, February 5, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Photojournalist Gil Cohen-Magen has spent a decade in Israel covering not only political and military conflict but also the coming together of various faiths. He is one of the few journalists to observe and record the ceremonies and lifestyles of ultra-Orthodox Jews who live apart from their country’s mainstream culture.

    In a presentation marking United Nations International Interfaith Harmony Week, Cohen-Magen shows photographs depicting Jewish, Christian, and Muslim celebrations, many from his 2011 book Hassidic Courts.

  • Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg chronicles the incredible lives of Holocaust survivor Lou Frydman and Polish resistance fighter Jarek Piekalkiewicz who survived the privations of World War II and after 30 years met at the University of Kansas and became the best of friends.
    Needle in the Bone - Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
    Thursday, January 31, 2013
    Plaza Branch

    Kansas Poet Laureate Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg discusses her new book Needle in the Bone about the incredible lives of a Holocaust survivor (Lou Frydman) and a member of the Polish resistance (Jarek Piekalkiewicz) who somehow endured extraordinary privations during World War II and after 30 years met at the University of Kansas and became good friends.

    Mirriam-Goldberg is a poet, novelist (The Divorce Girl), and certified poetry therapist.

    Co-sponsored by the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education.

  • Eli Paul, manager of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, examines the stories behind some of the 200 vintage postcards currently on display in the original exhibit Greetings from Kansas City, now at the Central Library.
    Greetings from Kansas City - Eli Paul
    Wednesday, January 30, 2013
    Central Library

    Eli Paul, manager of the Library’s Missouri Valley Special Collections, examines the stories behind some of the 200 locally made post cards comprising the Greetings from Kansas City exhibit opening in January at the Central Library.

    The exhibit is divided into three categories: Business and Industry (factories, the stockyards, trains and trolleys), History and Heritage (local monuments, cityscapes, the American Royal) and Entertainment, Arts, and Culture (museums, theaters, parks and boulevards).