Novelist Edmund White's newest work, "A Boy's Own Story," follows a young gay man growing up in the midwest in the 1950s. The novel has some autobiographical elements. White joins the show to discuss his life, growing up as a homosexual person, and his novel.
As an assistant principal, Joe Nathan has identified several ways to improve public schools by reducing teacher workloads, establishing consistent policies, and praising the accomplishments of faculty and students alike.
Ed McBain (also known as Evan Hunter), prolific writer of detective fiction, best known for his "87th Precinct" series of police procedurals and mystery novels. His most recent novel is titled Tricks. McBain writes in other genres under different pseudonyms.
The first part of a two-part interview with filmmaker and writer John Waters. His new film - "Hairspray" - follows a long line of wildly eccentric films like "Polyester," "Pink Flamingos," and "Female Trouble." Like those films, the setting for "Hairspray" is Baltimore. The cast includes Divine, Debbie Harry, Pia Zadora and Sonny Bono.
Television Critic David Bianculli reviews "The Wonder Years," a new ABC series. The show is an extended flashback to 1968 and the junior high school days of Daniel Stern ("Diner" and "Breaking Away"), the show's narrator, and Fred Savage ("The Princess Bride"), who plays Stern as he was in 1968.
Critic Ken Tucker reviews Alysssa Milano's exercise video Teen Steam, which is geared toward teenage girls; adults caught watching it can't help feeling faintly unclean, he says. He also recommends new releases of Withnail and I and Rambo III.
Songwriters Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller formed the 1950s band The Coasters as a vehicle for some of their goofier work. Rock historian Ed Ward says they were some of the first to recognize the importance of rock music to teenagers.
Under the guidance of editor Bob Woodward, Washington Post reporter Leon Dash lived in a housing project in Washington, D.C. to learn more about the rise of teenage parenthood among poor African American teenagers. He says that both adolescent boys and girls see parenthood as an achievement. Dash expanded his reporting into a book called When Children Want Children.
Ken Tucker reviews the home video release of I Wanna Hold Your Hand, about a group of teenage Beatles fans in New Jersey. The film, directed by Robert Zemeckis, was a commercial fop, but Tucker, who says it's insightful without indulging in cliches, hopes it will find a new audience on tape.
Author and satirist Robert Kaplow. Kaplow is the leader of the satirical group, "The Punsters," which has appeared on "Morning Edition," "All Things Considered," and more recently here on Fresh Air. Kaplow himself portrays Moe Moscowitz, the hyper-kinetic self-promoter and pitchman. Kaplow also writes novels for young adults. His latest novel is titled Alessandra in Love.
Novelist Joyce Carol Oates. The prolific writer has penned 23 novels, in addition to plays, poems, short stories and criticism. Her new novel is called "Foxfire: Confessions of a Girl Gang,"(Dutton) about a group of high school girls who form a violent gang in upstate New York during the Fifties. Their mission is violence against men. Oates is a professor of humanities at Princeton University. Her previous book is the critically acclaimed "Black Water," nominated for the 1992 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Irish author Roddy Doyle, winner of the 1993 Booker Prize for his novel "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" (Viking). Doyle taught school in Dublin for fourteen years; during that time he wrote and self-published his first novel, "The Commitments" about a band of musicians who bring soul music to Dublin. (It was made into a popular film here).
Terry talks with two young men who've been through the program at the Camden County Youth Center, a juvenile detention center in Camden, New Jersey: Eddie Budah and Derrek Penny. Budah will read some of his poetry that has appeared in the Center's newsletter, "What's Happening."
Writer for the Village Voice and The Nation Pagan Kennedy. Kennedy ("Pagan" is not her real first name) has staked out a niche for herself as a "1970's survivor and devotee." Kennedy has written an investigation of that decade, seen through its artifacts and social upheaval, "Platforms: A Microwaved Cultural Chronicle of the 1970's" (St. Martins). In the 70's she says, "we inherited this idea of recycling culture.