KUCI Fund Drive

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Martin J. Smith, author of "Going to Trinidad," on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

For forty years, Trinidad, Colorado was known amongst locals, and those in the transgender community, as the “sex-change capital of the world.” An estimated 6,000 gender reassignment surgeries took place in this remote ranch town between 1969 and 2010. 

Veteran journalist and award-winning author Martin J. Smith joins Marrie Stone to talk about his latest, Going to Trinidad: A Doctor, a Colorado Town, and Stories from an Unlikely Gender Crossroads. He discusses finding the subjects of the book, and their willingness to open the most private aspects of their lives to him. He talks about researching Trinidad and Dr. Stanley Biber, a larger-than-life figure who perfected the surgery after serving as a trauma medic during the Korean War. And he discusses writing about this most vulnerable and misunderstood population from an outsider’s perspective, the challenges he faced, and how he overcame them. Smith also talks about how his own mindset shifted as a result of this project. 

Throughout the conversation, there’s wonderful advice for aspiring journalists, nonfiction writers, and those committed to the art of storytelling.

Download audio.  

(Broadcast date: April 14, 2021)

Friday, April 02, 2021

Robert Kolker, author of Hidden Valley Road, on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Don and Mimi Galvin epitomized the mid-20th century American dream. After WWII, Don's work with the U.S. Air Force took the family to Colorado where the Galvins raised 12 children spanning the entire baby boom generation. But even as the perfect family was being assembled, it began to disintegrate. Six of the ten boys were diagnosed with schizophrenia. The family was plagued by sexual abuse, clergy abuse, a murder/suicide, and other stressors.

Robert Kolker joins Marrie Stone to talk about Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family. He talks about finding the Galvins, and their decision to open their lives—and their painful story—up to him. He shares how he tackled the complicated science and research behind this misunderstood mental illness. He also discusses how he managed an overwhelming cast of characters—and the immense tragedies they endured—while delivering a compelling, impossible-to-resist narrative. He provides great advice to aspiring journalists about how to launch their careers, what to look for in a story, and much more. 

Download audio.  

Record date: March 3, 2021
Broadcast date: March 31, 2021

Friday, March 26, 2021

Memoirist Russell Shorto on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Russell Shorto, author of Smalltime: A Story of My Family and the Mob (Norton) talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about the art, craft, and business of writing memoir, especially when you had no intention of doing so. Shorto is the author of the bestselling The Island at the Center of the World, Amsterdam, and Revolution Song

  (Broadcast date: March 24, 2021)

Intro, outro, and musical interludes by Travis Barrett. Find more of his music on Spotify and Soundcloud.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Literary agent Betsy Amster

Los Angeles-based literary agent Betsy Amster talks with Barbara Demarco-Barrett about the business of writing.

(Broadcast date: March 10, 2021)

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Julia Cooke, "Come Fly the World," on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Julia Cooke joins Marrie to talk about her latest narrative nonfiction book, Come Fly the World. She follows three primary, and two secondary, retired Pan-Am stewardesses who flew for the airline in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. At once a nostalgic romp through the heyday of glamorous air travel, the book is also a chronicle of mid-century America and the larger world. Crews ferried soldiers in and out of Vietnam, and hit the feminist and Civil Rights movements head on. They endured hijackings, attacks by the Vietnamese military, and a general air of sexism and racism.

Julia talks about finding her subjects, structuring their stories, and the renewed relevance of this book sixty years after it took place. 

Download audio.  

 (Record date: February 10, 2021)

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Russell Banks on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Russell Banks returns to the show to talk about his latest novel, Foregone. He shares how his childhood upbringing and young adulthood have fed his fiction, and why this novel feels more autobiographical than most. He also talks about a wild week spent with Jack Kerouac in the 1960s, and experiencing the fall of a literary hero. He discusses how this novel couldn't have been written at any other point in his life, why his characters differ from his readers (and the importance of that difference), a tennis showdown with Chang-rae Lee, and so much more.

There's a lot of advice for writers, including how to surprise your readers, why focusing on contradictions in your characters is more important than consistency, the necessity of learning how to read, and his insights into point of view.

Download audio.  

(Record date: February 25, 2021)

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Chang-rae Lee & Karen Russell on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Chang-rae Lee is a Korean-American novelist and a professor of creative writing at Stanford University. He is the author of five previous novels: Native Speaker (1995); A Gesture Life (1999); Aloft (2004); The Surrendered, which was a Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and On Such a Full Sea (2014). My Year Abroad, published by Riverhead Books, is his latest. He joins Marrie Stone to talk about creating a sensationalistic novel, in every sense of the word. He talks about how he surprises himself (and his readers), writing food, sex, torture and much more.

Karen Russell talks about her prescient novel, Sleep Donation. Written in 2014, the book that was intended to be whimsical satire on an insomnia pandemic has become a dark commentary on the times we're living through. Russell talks about the strange ways the book has taken on new meaning, serendipitous experiences she encountered while publishing it, and so much more.

Download audio of Chang-rae Lee's Interview.  

(Broadcast date: February 24, 2021)
(Record date: February 8, 2021)

Download audio of Karen Russell's Interview.

(Broadcast date: February 24, 2021)
(Record date: January 26, 2021)

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Katherine Seligman, At the Edge of the Haight, on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Katherine Seligman is a journalist and author in San Francisco. As a reporter, she’s focused on social issues, from homelessness, mental health and end of life issues to the city’s boom and bust cycles. But she’s also written about everything else, from self-appointed graffiti curators, urban coyotes and embryonic sex selection to what her kids learned growing up in Haight Ashbury.

Katherine joins Barbara DeMarco-Barrett to talk about her novel, At the Edge of the Haight, as well as writing, craft, and process. 

Download audio.  

(Broadcast date: February 17, 2021)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Rebecca Sacks on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Before receiving her Masters from the Program in Writing at UCI, Rebecca Sacks moved to Israel, spending time understanding Israeli and Palestinian culture, learning Hebrew and Arabic, and immersing herself in the cultures, their people, and their conflicts. Her debut novel, City of a Thousand Gates, tackles these tensions from a variety of points of view. 

Sacks joins Marrie Stone to talk about her writing process, accessing her characters, keeping 29 points of view balanced and organized, rendering sex and violence on the page, and so much more. She brings all her MFA wisdom and experience to the interview, as well as her personal experience living abroad, getting lost, and finding herself again. 

Download audio.  

Record date: January 29, 2021
Broadcast date: February 10, 2021

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Poet Tommye Blount on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Tommye Blount, finalist of the National Book Award in poetry last year, joins Marrie Stone to talk about his collection, Fantasia for the Man in Blue. They are daring poems about race, power, desire, sex, and a redefinition of beauty. Blount's work captures the experience of being black and queer in Michigan, about an encounter with the Michigan police, his role as a son, and his observations as a poet.

He talks about his journey into poetry, finding his voice, using media and art in his work, and all the poets who influenced him along the way.

(Disclaimer: Some topics in this interview are intended for mature audiences. There are references to sex and pornography. Listener discretion is advised.)

Download audio.  

(Record date: January 16, 2021)

Friday, February 05, 2021

Lynell George, A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler

Lynell George, author of A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler, published by Angel City Press, talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about her new biography of Octavia E. Butler. 

(Broadcast date: Feb. 3, 2021)

Musical intro, outro and interludes by Travis Barrett. Find him on Spotify and Patreon.

Sunday, January 31, 2021

George Saunders on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

For twenty years, George Saunders has taught a select group of graduate students in Syracuse’s MFA program. Relying on 19th century Russian masters, Saunders breaks down the prose—sentence by sentence, line by line—to show students how it’s done. Now he’s broadened his audience. George acts as literary tour guide through seven short stories by four Russian authors in his latest, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain.


George joins Marrie Stone for their third interview, imparting his gentle wisdom to writers about the art and craft of storytelling. He also teaches us how to read deeper and closer. And, through it all, how reading (and writing) often inspires us to lead more empathetic, intentional, and meaningful lives by inhabiting other viewpoints. Conversations with George leave one feeling not only smarter, but better. You can check out their other interviews in the blog’s archives (Tenth of December, 2013 and Lincoln in the Bardo, 2017). 

Download audio.  

Record date: January 18, 2021
Broadcast date: January 27, 2021

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Noir author Vicki Hendricks on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Vicki Hendricks, called the "Queen of Noir," is Barbara DeMarco-Barrett's guest for the entire hour. Hendricks's novels include Miami Purity, Iguana Love, and Cruel Poetry. She also has a story in Miami Noir (Akashic) and other noir anthologies.

(Broadcast date: January 20, 2021)

Musical intro and outro and interludes by Travis Barrett. Find him on Spotify.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Mariana Enriquez on Writers on Writing, KUCI-FM

Argentinian author Mariana Enriquez knows horror first hand. Born in 1973, three years before the U.S.-backed Dirty War that rained state-sponsored terror down on its citizens for seven years, Enriquez grew up in a world where death squads were common and neighbors disappeared.


Enriquez joins Marrie Stone to talk about her second collection of short stories, The Dangers of Smoking in Bed, published in 2009 in Argentina, but translated and released in the U.S. this month. One of the stories in that collection, “Our Lady of the Quarry,” appeared in the New Yorker last month. She shares her complicated childhood, her obsessions with the horror genre, and how American literature influenced her writing. She also talks about working with her translator, America's interest in South American literature, and more.


Download audio

(Broadcast date: January 13, 2021)

Sunday, January 03, 2021

Ken Layne, Desert Oracle, KUCI-FM

Ken Layne, author of Desert Oracle, Volume 1: Strange True Tales from the American Southwest, talks with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett about the art, craft, and business of writing, along with fairies and unexplainable goings on in the desert.

(Broadcast date: December 23, 2020)

Musical intro, outro and interludes by Travis Barrett. Find his music on Spotify and also find him on Patreon.