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Episode 13

Air date: 11/16/2011, 2 PM CST

This week, Peter Orner returns to The Lit Show to discuss Love and Shame and Love, his second novel.

We talked about the midwest, the book’s many short, impressionistic passages, memory and narrative, and the tawdry allure of Chicago politics.

Orner will read and sign copies at Prairie Lights in Iowa City on Wednesday, November 16th at 7 PM.

Peter Orner’s fiction and non-fiction has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Granta, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, and many other publications. His stories have been anthologized in Best American Stories and twice won a Pushcart Prize. Orner was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2006), as well as the two-year Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship (2007-2008). A film version of one of Orner’s stories, “The Raft” with a screenplay by Orner and the film’s director, Rob Jones, is currently in production and stars Ed Asner.

Esther Stories (Houghton Mifflin/​ Mariner, 2001) was awarded the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Goldberg Prize for Jewish Fiction, and was a Finalist for the Pen Hemingway Award and the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award. Esther Stories was a 2001 New York Times Notable Book. Of the book, Margot Livesey wrote in the New York Times Book Review, “Orner doesn’t simply bring his characters to life, he gives them souls.”

The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo (Little, Brown, 2006) is set in Namibia where Orner lived and worked in the early 1990′s. The novel was a Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, a San Francisco Chronicle Best-Seller, and winner of the Bard Fiction Prize. The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo has been translated into French, Dutch, Italian, and German.

Orner is also the editor of two non-fiction books, Underground America (2008) and Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives (co-editor Annie Holmes, 2010), both published by McSweeney’s/​ Voice of Witness, an imprint devoted to using oral history to illuminate human rights crises around the world. Harper’s Magazine wrote, “Hope Deferred might be the most important publication out of Zimbabwe in the past thirty years.”

Listen to Peter Orner in his first appearance on the program, in March 2011, when he discussed his previous book, Hope Deferred: Narratives of Zimbabwean Lives.

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