First Draft

Mondays at 3:30pm & Saturdays at 3pm

In writing, a first draft is where creativity flows, a story takes root and the voice of a writer emerges.  On Aspen Public Radio First Draft highlights the voices of writers as they discuss their work, their craft and the literary arts.  This weekly show hosted by Mitzi Rapkin will primarily feature fiction and non-fiction authors along with occasional poets, screenplay writers, playwrights and songwriters.  First Draft is a celebration of the writing and the individuals who are dedicated to bringing their carefully chosen words to print as well as the impact writers have on the world we live in.  In addition to interviews with authors, First Draft will feature readings, literary news and other special features.

Merritt Tierce was born and raised in Texas. She worked in various secretarial and retail positions until 2009, when she moved to Iowa City to attend the Iowa Writers’ Workshop as the Meta Rosenberg Fellow.  After graduating in 2011 with her MFA from Iowa, she received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, and she is a 2013 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 Author. Merritt’s first published story, Suck It, was selected by ZZ Packer to be anthologized in the 2008 edition of New Stories from the South, and her first book, Love Me Back, was published by Doubleday in 2014, to wide acclaim.

Phyllis Rose

Robert Stone is the author of two short story collections, one memoir and eight novels. Stone won the National Book Award for his novel Dog Soldiers in 1975. It was adapted into the film Who’ll Stop the Rain. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize twice. He has received Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships. His memoir Prime Green: Remembering the Sixties chronicles his live in the navy, work as a Vietnam correspondent, and his time spent with Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters in San Francisco. His new novel is Death of the Black-Haired Girl.

Jayne Anne Phillips is a short story writer and novelist.  She was born and raised in West Virginia. Her first book of stories, Black Tickets, published in 1979 when she was 26, won the prestigious Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction, awarded by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.  Her novels include Machine Dreams, Shelter, MotherKind, Lark and Termite and Quiet Dell.  She is currently Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the Rutgers Newark MFA Program at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey. http://jayneannephillips.com/

Nina McConigley is the author of the story collection Cowboys and East Indians, which was the winner of the 2014 PEN Open Book Award and winner of a High Plains Book Award. She was born in Singapore and grew up in Wyoming. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Houston, where she was an Inprint Brown Foundation Fellow.

Richard Phibbs

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award & Pulitzer Prize), Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as the non-fiction book, Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown. His newest novel is, The Snow Queen. He lives in New York, and teaches at Yale University. www.michaelcunninghamwriter.com

Emily St. John Mandel was born and raised on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied contemporary dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.

NOTE: Kent Haruf passed away in December 2014.  This interview was recorded in May 2013. 

Kent Haruf’s honors include a Whiting Foundation Award, a Stegner Award, a Frank Waters Award, and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation. His novel Plainsong won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award. He lives with his wife, Cathy, in his native Colorado.  His most recent novel is Benediction.

Neil Giordano

Heidi Pitlor is the author of the novel The Birthdays of which Fred Leebron wrote "Undeniably gratifying...subtly riveting...This isn't just a terrific family novel; it's a terrific novel through and through." Heidi was formerly a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin and is presently the annual series editor for The Best American Short Stories. Her writing has appeared in such publications as Ploughshares, The Huffington Post, and Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today's Best Women Writers.

A former National Book Award finalist and winner of the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Jess Walter is the author of six novels, including The Beautiful Ruins and The Zero, one book of short stories and one nonfiction book. His work has been translated into 30 languages, and his essays, short fiction, criticism and journalism have been widely published, in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Harper's, Esquire, McSweeney's, Byliner, Playboy, ESPN the Magazine, Details and many others. www.jesswalter.com.

Smeeta Mahanti

Anthony Marra is the New York Times-bestselling author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, longlisted for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. It was selected as one of the ten best books of 2013 by The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, Salon, New York Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal, among numerous other year-end lists. He is the winner of the Whiting Award, the Pushcart Prize, and currently teaches at Stanford University.  www.anthonymarra.net

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