Writer Doris Lessing. Since her first novel, The Grass is Singing, published in 1950, she has written many books and plays, including the Children of Violence series, The Golden Notebook, and more recently Shikasta and her "space-fiction" series. Her new novel is titled The Fifth Child. Fresh Air book critic John Leonard once described Mrs. Lessing as "one of the half-dozen most interesting minds to have chosen to write fiction in English in this century."
Poet Sharon Olds. She writes passionate and intensely personal poems about her childhood with abusive and alcoholic parents, and her own experiences as a mother and a wife. Suicide attempts in New York, and encounters on the subway also provide inspiration for her work. Sharon Olds is the recipient of the 1985 National Book Critics Circle Award for her collection titled The Dead and the Living.
Leavitt's writing focuses on the family lives of gay men and women. He says families can alternately be sanctuaries and dangerous communities for for them. His new book, set in the suburbs, is called Equal Affections.
Poet Gregory Djanikian. Djanikian emigrated to this country from Egypt when he was a youngster. He'll read a poem called "Renovations," about his coming to grips with chaos. (Rebroadcast. Originally broadcast on April 21, 1989.)
Novelist Russell Banks often depicts ordinary people coping with difficulties in contemporary society. His new book "Affliction," takes on the subject of male violence, following the story of Wade Whitehouse, "a good man beset by the dark side of the macho mentality." Banks has also written for "Esquire," "Vanity Fair," "The Nation," and other publications.