NPR Staff

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Africa
10:46 am
Sat April 5, 2014

'Hotel Rwanda' Manager: We've Failed To Learn From History

Paul Rusesabagina, who sheltered more than 1,000 people in his hotel during the Rwandan genocide, says the brutal violence in Syria, the Central African Republic and the Congo shows history repeats itself while people fail to learn from it.
Courtesy Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 12:38 pm

Paul Rusesabagina is a figure from history — a terrible history.

He was the manager of the Diplomat Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, 20 years ago, when the genocide of Rwanda's Tutsi people began. More than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus would be killed in just three months.

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Author Interviews
4:40 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Biographer Explains How John Updike 'Captured America'

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 11:59 am

Writing a biography of John Updike is a tricky thing: The acclaimed American writer of elegant essays and elegiac novels and short stories may have been a genius, but he was also disconcertingly normal. He liked to drink, but wasn't a drunk; he had two marriages, but wasn't a womanizer; he could be wistful, but rarely depressed. He was a straight, white, Christian man who liked golf.

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Sports
4:28 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Should The NCAA Change Its Rules To Pay For Play?

University of Miami President Donna Shalala cuts down the net after a basketball game against Clemson last year.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:34 pm

In the next few days, the last four teams play for the NCAA men's basketball championship, a hugely profitable event for college sports.

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Author Interviews
3:02 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

In The 1870s And '80s, Being A Pedestrian Was Anything But

Courtesy of Chicago Review Press

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 10:58 am

We may think of baseball as America's national pastime, but in the 1870s and 1880s there was another sports craze sweeping the nation: competitive walking. "Watching people walk was America's favorite spectator sport," Matthew Algeo says in his new book, Pedestrianism.

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Author Interviews
2:36 am
Thu April 3, 2014

A Song Of Frogs, Motherhood And Murder In Swampy San Francisco

Emma Donoghue's previous novel was Room.
Andrew Bainbridge

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:53 am

In her bestseller Room, writer Emma Donoghue imagined what life would be like for a little boy born into captivity, to a mother who'd been kidnapped and sexually assaulted.

And in her new novel, Frog Music, she's imagined a possible solution to a very real murder, one that took place in California in 1876.

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Author Interviews
3:16 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

The Rise And Fall Of Stefan Zweig, Who Inspired 'Grand Budapest Hotel'

Stefan Zweig was born to a prosperous Jewish family in Vienna. He wrote novels, short stories and biographies.
Keystone/Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 8:54 pm

In Wes Anderson's latest film, The Grand Budapest Hotel, a writer relates the long and twisting life story of a hotel owner. It's about youthful love and lifelong obsession, and while the story is original, there's a credit at the end that reads: "Inspired by the Writings of Stefan Zweig."

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Author Interviews
4:16 am
Tue April 1, 2014

In Early Memoir, Bette Midler Adorned The Truth In Sequins

Bette Midler is a Grammy Award-winning singer and Academy Award-nominated actress.
Jonathan Pushnik Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 11:51 am

Before Bette Midler was in movies like Beaches and Down and Out in Beverly Hills, the actress and singer wore masks and costumes on stage, playing scantily clad, scandalous characters like a wheelchair-riding mermaid and, of course, the Divine Miss M — Midler's early stage persona.

Midler wrote about her early career in A View From a Broad, a memoir she published in 1980. A new edition of that book was recently released with a brand new introduction in which Midler writes:

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Parallels
2:21 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Latvia's Ex-President: 'We Have To Worry' About Russia

Latvia's former president, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, is shown here at a NATO summit in 2006. During her presidency, Latvia joined both NATO and the European Union in 2004.
ROMAN KOKSAROV AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 9:45 am

Russia's takeover of Crimea sent shivers through Latvia.

The tiny Baltic state was itself taken over by the Soviet Union in 1940 and did not regain its independence until the Soviet breakup in 1991. Latvia has a population of just 2 million, and roughly a quarter of those are ethnic Russians.

Given this history, Latvia was eager to align itself with the West. In 2004, under then-president Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Latvia joined both the European Union and NATO and is counting on those allies for protection.

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Food
2:29 am
Mon March 31, 2014

In Kitchens Around The World, Comfort Foods Bring Us Together

Hall makes the hors d'oeuvres version of spanakopita.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 12:58 pm

There's nothing like a warm, home-cooked meal to bring everyone to the table. And in her new cookbook Carla's Comfort Foods, Chef Carla Hall celebrates the meals that unite us — no matter where we're from.

Hall is one of the hosts of ABC's talk show The Chew and was a finalist on the reality TV show Top Chef. She invited NPR's David Greene over to bake spanakopita — a Greek dish, and just one of the many recipes she loves from around the world.

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Author Interviews
4:06 pm
Sun March 30, 2014

In Civilian Snapshot Of Iraq, An Artist Is A 'Corpse Washer'

Courtesy of Yale University Press

In his latest novel, Iraqi author Sinan Antoon gives readers a stark portrait of contemporary Iraq. Originally written in Arabic and translated into English by Antoon himself, The Corpse Washer was nominated for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize this year.

The book's protagonist is a young man named Jawad, an aspiring artist from a family of traditional Shiite corpse washers and shrouders in Baghdad. Jawad breaks from the family business and attends art school, where he devotes himself to the celebration of life rather than the ritual surrounding death.

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