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The Creative Nonfiction Podcast with Brendan O'Meara
Conversations with the world's best artists about creating works of nonfiction.
Category: Literature
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by Brendan O'M...
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August 18, 2017 08:30 AM PDT

Documentary filmmaker Penny Lane joins me to talk about her films "Our Nixon," "Nuts!", and "The Voyagers."

We explore how she decided to start leveling up her ambition and the craft of making doc films.

Please share the episode with a pal and leave a kind review on iTunes. Thanks for listening!

August 11, 2017 08:16 AM PDT

Hello, CNF-buddies, it’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction—journalists, essayists, memoirists, radio producers, and documentary film makers—and how you can use their tools of mastery and apply it to your own work.

That’s right, you are in for a treat. Well, let’s face it, you’ve always been in for a treat, but this week you’re in for an Easter basket and Halloween sack all rolled into one verifiably true candy locker.

New York Times bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin, The Orchid Thief, (which was made into the movie Adaptation), Saturday Night, My Kind of Place, The Bullfighter Checks Her Makeup, and the children’s book Lazy Little Loafers. She’s a staff writer for The New Yorker (full archive here) and she came by the podcast to share her wisdom and experiences from a career writing deeply reported features. You can find Susan online @susanorlean on Twitter and visit her website susanorlean.com.

What are some takeaways? Susan talks about always having an audience in mind, having supreme focus, and needing to see yourself as a business person if you plan on doing this type of work and that it's actually freeing, not stifling, in order to do the kind of work that excites you and feeds your ambitions.

Before we get to that, I ask that you please subscribe to the podcast, share it with a friend, and leave a rating or, ideally, a nice review on iTunes, like this one from Meredith May. She said, “Real conversations among professional writers about the essence of craft. A behind the scenes look at the way stories come together, from inception to publication, that doesn’t shy away from the truth about the difficulties and triumphs of making a living from words. One of the hardest concepts for my podcasting students to grasp is how differentiate between a story and a topic—this podcast helps them find that X-factor that makes a story sing.”

Wow. Shoutout to that five-star review. If you leave one, I might just read it on the air! It’s time for the show, episode 61 with Susan Orlean!

August 04, 2017 08:58 AM PDT

"In many ways the biggest challenge to figure out if you're gonna be a writer of nonfiction is to figure out what stories you can tell that no one else has told before," says Lee Gutkind.

Hey, hey, it’s The Creative Nonfiction Podcast! This is the show where I interview the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction: documentary film, personal essay, memoir, narrative journalism, killer profiles, and reportage and dive into the origin story, what makes them great, and how you can apply their strategies of mastery to your own work.

Today’s guest for Episode 60 (!) of The Creative Nonfiction Podcast is none other than the Godfather, Lee Gutkind.

His tagline on his website is Writer. Speaker. Innovator. He’s written or edited 49 books like Almost Human, The Best Seat in the House But You Have to Stand: The Game as Umpires See It, Truckin’ With Sam.

He also founded the lit journal/now magazine Creative Nonfiction, which is an incredible well of great writing. 

What are you gonna learn from this episode? Lee tells you that you need to figure out what stories and YOU can tell that no one else has done before. How to find the people who want their stories told, and how to perservere in the face of untold failure.

That’s a some good, good stuff.

Before we dive into the interview, I ask that you leave a review on iTunes or even just a rating. Reviews are icing on the cake, but the more ratings, the more cred, the more people we can reach. Also, I have an email newsletter that I send out once a month. It’ gives my reading list for the month and what you may have missed from the podcast.

Share this with a friend because I know you’re gonna dig it!

July 28, 2017 06:00 AM PDT

Hello, friends, fellow CNFers, it’s the Creative Nonfiction Podcast, the show where I speak with the world’s best artists about creating works of nonfiction.

Today I welcome back Jessica Lahey of Episode 51 fame, author of the NYT bestseller “The Gift of Failure” and, most recently, the author of the essay “I’ve Taught Monsters,” which appeared in Issue 63 of the literary magazine Creative Nonfiction.

For this episode, Jess reads the essay in its entirety and she gives a knockout performance. I noodled around with music for a bit, but I couldn’t find the perfect tracks for it, so I just let it stand: Jess simply reading her wonderful essay.

Before we get to her reading I want to ask you something: What are you struggling with? Is there something in your work that’s giving you trouble or are you hitting road blocks? I want to know. Ping me on Twitter or email me. Maybe I can help.

Also, be sure to share this with a friend, leave a review on iTunes if you got any value out of this, and let me know if you dig these author readings.

Also, it’s Saratoga horse racing season and some of you might not even know that I write words too. My first book, Six Weeks in Saratoga, came out in 2011 courtesy of SUNY Press. It’s a timeless story about the track and the 2009 season. Want to support me and the podcast? Buy a book! It’s in paperback.

July 21, 2017 09:27 AM PDT

It's The Creative Nonfiction Podcast where I speak with the world’s best writers, freelancers, interviewers, authors, and documentary filmmakers about WHY and HOW they go about creating works of nonfiction and how YOU can apply what they do to your work.

Today’s guest is Joe Ferraro, the fourth Joe I’ve had on the podcast (Joe DePaulo, Joe Drape, Joe Donahue, and now Joe Ferraro). Need a Josephine…anyway…

So who’s Joe Ferraro? He’s a teacher and a learner, but above all he’s a leader. He just started a podcast: The 1% Better Podcast. His tagline is Conversations designed to help you get 1% Better. It’s aimed at gradual, continual, rigorous—though not overwhelming—personal improvement.

“If we’re talking about hard work, it’s about squeezing out more of the day,” says Joe. “Nothing upsets me more than when someone says ‘I’m too busy.’”

Joe talks about his allergy for negative people, finding ways to challenge himself, and how after teaching for 20 years, he feels like his best years are still ahead of him. He’s the type of guy that inspires you to take action.

Be sure to follow Joe on Twitter @FerraroOnAir, reach out to him, and subscribe to his podcast right away. Whether it’s listening to world class leader Ryan Hawk or how to make the best cold brew coffee, the art of thinking and redefining a restaurant, The 1% Better Podcast will open your eyes to where you can add value to you life and those around you.

And you want to know something else? He’s got a voice made for broadcasting, so sit back and enjoy Episode 58 with Joe Ferraro.

July 14, 2017 09:30 AM PDT

Joe Donahue hosts The Book Show and The Roundtable for WAMC Northeast Public Radio out of Albany, New York.

He's the best interviewer you've likely never heard of, and it was a distinct pleasure to speak with him again.

"My job really is to present a person and get to the bottom of them, if you will," he says, "and ask questions that hopefully people want answered."

He learned from Larry King, Fred Rogers, and honed his craft over a lifetime of radio.

Seriously. A lifetime. He wanted to be a broadcaster since the age of four.

Please leave a review wherever you get your podcasts and share this with a friend.

Thanks for listening!

July 07, 2017 07:52 AM PDT

Sonja Livingston stopped by The Creative Nonfiction Podcast to talk about her award-winning memoir “Ghostbread.” She was also gracious enough to read from three short chapters. It’s about family and growing up in poverty.

“[My family] hasn’t tried to kill me, but they haven’t thrown me a party either,” Sonja says.

This episode is layered and a bit experimental. I hope it adds a little extra somethin’-somethin’ to the usual interview. If you dig it, let me know on Twitter @BrendanOMeara and I’ll invite others to try something similar.

Sonja talks a lot about her routine and how getting outside helps her write. Also she adds that writing personal essay can feel like a miracle, but can also be very painful. Maybe it’s that in order to write great art, there must be a little bit of blood on the page.

I’d love for you to leave a review of the podcast and to share with folks you think will enjoy it. That’s all I can ask for.

Thanks for listening!

June 30, 2017 05:51 AM PDT

"What writer at my age gets to have parents be dead? I don't have to worry about what they think!" says Nikki Schulak.

I suggest visiting Nikki's website and then perusing her extensive archive of essays. 

In this episode we talk about how stories come to her, how she stays attuned to the world, naked bike rides, and the power of performing for an audience and the validation that ushers.

This is the last episode before my 37th birthday. Wanna give something to me? Leave a review on iTunes. You don’t even have to wrap it. The best part? It’s free and takes less than a minute. Can’t beat that right?

Thanks for listening!

June 23, 2017 08:16 AM PDT

Andre Dubus III, author the memoir Townie and the novels House of Sand and Fog and Dirty Love, stopped by the podcast to talk about memoir, the essay, and writing in general.

"The truth is, if you want to write or create anything worth a damn, you better embrace failure or you're not going to get to the good stuff. You gotta learn to love how hard it is," he says.

This episode is so packed with great, actionable, and inspiring material from a "made" writer, meaning he built himself into the writer he wanted to be. If you think you don't have time to write, just wait until you hear him talk about how he found the time to write his breakout novel House of Sand and Fog. Talk about rigor.

Please review the podcast and pass it along to a friend!

Thanks for listening!

June 16, 2017 05:47 AM PDT

Jessica Abel is a cartoonist, a teacher, a writer, and a podcaster and her latest book, Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You're Drowning in Your Daily Life, is her latest project.

I came across her kick-ass, 200-page, black-and-white graphic book Out on the Wire: The Storytelling Secrets of the New Masters of Radio and reached out to her. 

So in this episode we talk a lot about what makes for great radio/podcasting, how to obtain creative focus, the power of reviewing your projects and processes, and much, much more.

If you dig the show, share it with a friend and leave a review in Apple Podcasts or wherever you found this. The five-star ratings keep coming in and I'd love to have more that way I can reach more people just like you, people who dig what the best artists are doing in the genre of creative nonfiction. 

Thanks for listening!

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