MPR News with Kerri Miller In-depth conversations on news and culture, with host Kerri Miller.
MPR News with Kerri Miller

MPR News with Kerri Miller

From MPR News

In-depth conversations on news and culture, with host Kerri Miller.

Most Recent Episodes

Annie Duke on how to get better at quitting

When faced with a tough situation, do you walk away? Or do you press on? Most of us are inclined to stay the course. After all, quitting — especially in American culture — is seen as a character defect. But Annie Duke thinks that's wrong. Her new book, "Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away," is a guidebook for learning how and when to quit. She explores the psychology and social forces that keep us stuck in bad situations for too long — and what we lose when we equate quitting with failure. Don't miss MPR News host Kerri Miller's conversation with Duke, a cognitive behaviorist who learned a thing or two about quitting during her years as a professional poker player on this Friday's Big Books and Bold Ideas. Guest: Annie Duke is an author and a consultant on the behavior of decision making — in addition to being a world-class poker player. Her new book is "Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away." To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or RSS. Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

From the archives: Author Sarah Broom at Talking Volumes 2020

In 2020, author Sarah Broom joined the pandemic season of Talking Volumes by talking via Zoom with host Kerri Miller about her book "The Yellow House." The memoir, which speaks poignantly of the pull of home and family against the backdrop of a shotgun house in New Orleans East, was hailed as both brilliant and haunting. Enjoy this interview as you get ready for this coming Friday's Big Books and Bold Ideas, which will feature novelist Celeste Ng on stage at the Fitzgerald Theater for the latest Talking Volumes conversation. Guest: Sarah M. Broom is the New York Times best-selling author of "The Yellow House," which published in 2019. To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or RSS. Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

From the archives: Lauren Groff discusses 'Matrix' at Talking Volumes

Maggie O'Farrell's last novel, "Hamnet," the fictional story of William Shakespeare's son who died at age 11, was an international best-seller. Her new novel, "The Marriage Portrait" also delves into history. O'Farrell was struck by Robert Browning's poem, "My Last Duchess," which itself was inspired by a painting of a young Italian woman who died in 1561, at the age of 16, just a year after she was married to the Duke of Ferrara. But did she die? Or was she poisoned? "The Marriage Portrait" reminded us of Lauren Groff's 2021 hit, "Matrix," set in medieval France. So for this week's deep track, we thought we'd bring you the Talking Volumes interview MPR News host Kerri Miller did with Groff on the stage of the Fitzgerald Theater last year, where Groff describes the history, the art and the music that inspired her writing. Guest: Lauren Groff is the author of six books. "Matrix" is her most recent, released in 2021. To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or RSS. Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

Historian Carol Anderson on the assault to undermine voting rights

Fifty-seven years ago this week, on Aug. 6, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed the landmark Voting Rights Act, with Martin Luther King and other civil rights leaders looking on. It was a turning point in American history. At the time, Pres. Johnson called it "a victory of freedom for the nation." Thursday morning, in a special edition of Big Books and Bold Ideas, host Kerri Miller examined whether the commitment of that milestone legislation still holds all these years later, particularly as the Supreme Court takes on one case that could upend state election laws and another that challenges a key section of the Voting Rights Act. Her guide was Professor Carol Anderson, one of the nation's foremost scholars on equity and voting and the author of "One Person, No Vote." Guest: Carol Anderson is a professor of African-American studies at Emory University and an accomplished author. To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or RSS. Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS. Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

Activist Robin Marty on her 'Handbook for a Post-Roe America'

Now that the right to an abortion has been overturned, America enters a new phase. Some states, like Minnesota, will continue to offer abortion care. Many others will prevent all access. Some will even criminalize anyone who helps a pregnant person get an abortion in a state that makes it legal. Writer and activist Robin Marty saw this day coming — but she admits she didn't think it would happen so quickly. In 2019, she wrote "Handbook for a Post-Roe America," as she watched laws severely restricting abortion sweep many regions of the country. This spring, she released an updated version. And now, with the Supreme Court overturning Roe, it's become a handbook for women reeling from the decision and wondering what to do next. Wednesday, on a special edition of Big Books and Bold Ideas, host Kerri Miller spoke with Marty, who recently moved from Minnesota to Alabama to become the operations director for the West Alabama's Women's Center. They discussed her book, what she thinks will happen next, and how the hopscotched nature of abortion rights going forward will impact pregnant people, especially women of color. Guest: Robin Marty is the operations director for the West Alabama Women's Center, and the author of "A Handbook for a Post-Roe America." To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or RSS. Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

Writer Kathryn Schulz on the cyclical nature of love and loss

Writer and journalist Kathryn Schulz met the woman she would marry just 18 months before her cherished father died. Both events were seismic shifts in her life, and as she writes in her new memoir, "Lost and Found," the loss made the joy somehow sweeter. "In quick succession, I found one foundational love and lost another," she writes. "Ever since, both the wonder and the fragility of life have been exceptionally present to me." This Friday on Big Books and Bold Ideas, host Kerri Miller talks with Schulz about the way death and life intertwine and how love inevitably brings with it the prospect of pain. But ultimately, it's worth the risk. Guest: Kathryn Schulz is an award-winning author and journalist. Her new memoir is "Lost and Found." To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or RSS. Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

From the archives: Author Sue Miller on her novel 'Monogamy'

Families are intricate, made up of interwoven and multilayered relationships. Sue Miller's "Monogamy" examines these complex ties amidst a family who loses their beloved and gregarious father, Graham. After his death, his second wife Annie, discovers Graham wasn't always faithful during their 30-year marriage. The resulting grief, anger, reassessing and, ultimately, acceptance is the work of being human. Sue Miller's own life informed her novel, as she tells host Kerri Miller. But her book also taught her how to embrace the broken and beautiful bits of her own life. Enjoy this conversation from the 2020 archives as we anticipate Friday's Big Books and Bold Ideas show with Kathryn Schulz about her new memoir, "Lost and Found." Guest: Sue Miller, author of many novels including the new book "Monogamy" To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or RSS. Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

From the archives: Novelist Yaa Gyasi explores addiction, immigration and family ties

This Friday, you'll hear MPR host Kerri Miller's conversation with novelist Mesha Maren. Her new book, "Perpetual West," is set along the U.S.-Mexico border and explores the art, activism and identity of a divided community. It harkens back to a discussion Miller had in 2020 with Yaa Gyasi. Both Gyasi's acclaimed debut novel, "Homecoming," and her second release, "Transcendent Kingdom," tackle themes of identity and culture in a new land. Guest: Yaa Gyasi is a Ghanaian American novelist, author of "Homecoming" and "Transcendent Kingdom," and recipient of the National Book Foundation's 2016 "5 Under 35" Award. To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above. Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or RSS. Subscribe to the Thread newsletter for the latest book and author news and must-read recommendations.

From the archives: Novelist Yaa Gyasi explores addiction, immigration and family ties

David Wright Faladé on the all-Black brigade that inspired his new historical novel

A new historical fiction book follows an all-Black brigade as they fight in the Civil War. Join host Kerri Miller and author David Wright Faladé on Friday for their conversation about his book, what he learned from his historical research and how Etheridge's complicated backstory previews race relations today.

David Wright Faladé on the all-Black brigade that inspired his new historical novel

Author Ann Patchett on friendship, time and the idea of 'enoughness'

Ann Patchett is out with a new collection of essays. Join Kerri Miller for a wide-ranging conversation with Patchett about being present, the gift of friendship, and how the pandemic can reveal what matters most.