John Wesley Harding is host of Cabinet of Wonders, distributed by NPR.
Launched as a variety show in 2009, Cabinet of Wonders has featured appearances by Andrew Bird, Edie Brickell, MGMT's Andrew VanWyngarten, The Decemberists' Colin Meloy, Craig Finn, Daniel Handler, Colson Whitehead, Janeane Garofalo, and John Hodgman. The show has garnered lots of critical acclaim; The New Yorker called it "One of the finest nights of entertainment this city has to offer" and the Village Voice said it was "a brilliant evening of laid-back fun". Recorded at the City Winery in Manhattan, the Cabinet of Wonders series has been distributed to public radio stations across the country by NPR since May 2012.
With 17 albums, Harding's own music ranges from traditional folk to rock to full-on pop. His most recent album The Sound Of His Own Voice (Yep Roc, 2011) features 13 new songs, backed by an all star band, The King Charles Trio, featuring members of The Decemberists, Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey, Rosanne Cash, Laura Veirs, and John Roderick. Over the years he has been joined onstage by Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen (with whom he recorded a duet on his album Awake), Iggy Pop, John Prine, Joan Baez, Josh Ritter, and Robyn Hitchcock, among others. He has appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman, and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. His songs have been featured in films (including High Fidelity) and covered by other artists.
Harding is also the celebrated author of three novels, published under his given name, Wesley Stace. His first novel, the international bestseller Misfortune (Little, Brown), received great acclaim and was listed as one of the books of the year in the Washington Post and the Boston Phoenix. It was also listed as one of Amazon's "Top Ten Novels of the Year," and was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. It has been translated into seven languages.
Harding/Stace's second novel, By George (Little, Brown) was one of the New York Public Library's "Books To Remember of 2007," and Booklist "Editor's Choice" for books of the year.
Charles Jessold, Considered As A Murderer (Picador), published in 2011, is his most recent novel. The New Statesman reviewer called it "The most confident musical fiction I have read in years," The Independent said Harding's "artistry makes our language a continual surprise," while the Financial Times said it was an "inventive black comedy unfolding with Nabokovian precision."
Currently, Harding is an artist-in-residence at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey, where he curates the Words & Music Festival. He reviews for the Times Literary Supplement and the New York Times.
He was born in England, and educated at the King's School in Canterbury and Jesus College in Cambridge.