8 episodes

In this monthly series, co-hosts Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Zakiya Dalila Harris discuss the professional feuds, sex scandals, messy public breakups, and controversial legacies of history’s literary legends and how those are relevant in light of current culture, issues, discussions and literature. By bringing these authors to life through a modern lens, we’ll gain a deeper understanding of their work and legacies.

Dead Writer Drama The American Writers Museum

    • Arts
    • 5.0 • 2 Ratings

In this monthly series, co-hosts Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Zakiya Dalila Harris discuss the professional feuds, sex scandals, messy public breakups, and controversial legacies of history’s literary legends and how those are relevant in light of current culture, issues, discussions and literature. By bringing these authors to life through a modern lens, we’ll gain a deeper understanding of their work and legacies.

    Episode 8: Nellie Bly

    Episode 8: Nellie Bly

    In this episode, co-hosts Jennifer and Zakiya discuss the life and work of pioneering investigative journalist Nellie Bly with novelist Louisa Treger, author of Madwoman, a spellbinding historical novel based on the true story of Nellie Bly.



    Nellie Bly was a journalist, inventor, charity worker and adventurer who was most famous for two things. First, her trip around the world in 72 days in homage to Jules Verne's character Phileas Fogg. And second for her reporting from within a New York mental institution, which pioneered the practice of undercover investigative journalism.



    About Madwoman:



    In 1887, young Nellie Bly sets out for New York and a career in journalism, determined to make her way as a serious reporter, whatever that may take. But life in the city is tougher than she imagined. Down to her last dime and desperate to prove her worth, she comes up with a dangerous plan: to fake insanity and have herself committed to the asylum on Blackwell's Island. There, she will work undercover to expose the asylum's wretched conditions. But when the asylum door swings shut behind her, she finds herself in a place of horrors, governed by a cruelty she could never have imagined. Cold, isolated and starving, her days of terror reawaken the traumatic events of her childhood. She entered the asylum of her own free will - but will she ever get out?



    An extraordinary portrait of a woman ahead of her time, Madwoman is the story of a quest for the truth that changed the world.



    Louisa Treger has worked as a classical violinist. She studied at the Royal College of Music and the Guildhall School of Music and worked as a freelance orchestral player and teacher. Treger subsequently turned to literature, gaining a First Class degree and a Ph.D. in English at University College London, where she focused on early 20th century women’s writing and was awarded the West Scholarship and the Rosa Morison Scholarship "for distinguished work in the study of English Language and Literature." She is the author of The Lodger (2014), The Dragon Lady (2019), Madwoman (2022), and she is currently working on her fourth novel.



    About the hosts: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of the New York Times bestseller Seinfeldia and her new book When Women Invented Television. Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut novel, The Other Black Girl, is a New York Times bestseller and is available from Atria Books in the US, and Bloomsbury Books in the UK.



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    • 37 min
    Episode 7: Lorraine Hansberry

    Episode 7: Lorraine Hansberry

    This episode of Dead Writer Drama was recorded live at the American Writers Festival on May 15, 2022 with special guest Soyica Diggs Colbert, author of Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry. Hosted by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong and Zakiya Dalila Harris.



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    • 53 min
    Episode 6: Nora Ephron

    Episode 6: Nora Ephron

    In this episode, co-hosts Jennifer and Zakiya discuss the life and work of prolific, multi-talented—and dramatic—writer Nora Ephron with pop culture journalist Erin Carlson, author of I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy.



    Nora Ephron was a journalist, screenwriter, essayist, playwright, filmmaker, and blogger perhaps best known for writing classic romantic comedy films like When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail and more.



    Erin Carlson is a journalist who has covered the entertainment industry for The Hollywood Reporter and The Associated Press as an editor and reporter. Her work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Glamour, Fortune and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She’s the author of two critically acclaimed Hollywood histories, I’ll Have What She’s Having: How Nora Ephron’s Three Iconic Films Saved the Romantic Comedy and Queen Meryl. She holds a masters in journalism from Northwestern, and has been profiled in The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle.



    About the hosts: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of the New York Times bestseller Seinfeldia and her new book When Women Invented Television. Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut novel, The Other Black Girl, is a New York Times bestseller and is available from Atria Books in the US, and Bloomsbury Books in the UK.



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    • 1 hr 18 min
    Episode 5: Pauli Murray

    Episode 5: Pauli Murray

    This month, co-hosts Jennifer and Zakiya discuss the incredible life and work of Pauli Murray with Barbara Lau, Executive Director of the Pauli Murray Center for History and Social Justice.



    Pauli Murray lived one of the most remarkable lives of the twentieth century. She was the first Black person to earn a JSD degree from Yale Law School, a founder of the National Organization for Women and the first Black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest.



    Pauli Murray’s legal arguments and interpretation of the US Constitution were winning strategies for public school desegregation, women’s rights in the workplace, and an extension of rights to LGBTQ+ people based on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.



    The American Writers Museum presents this podcast as a small preview of its upcoming exhibit and content initiative, Dark Testament: A Century of Black Writers on Justice. This initiative will launch in stages across 2022 and takes its name from Pauli Murray’s amazing poem, Dark Testament as both her work and her story are fundamental example of the continual resonance of the powerful writing from black writers from the Civil War through the Civil Rights Era that still reflect and shape the world today.



    About the hosts: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of the New York Times bestseller Seinfeldia and her new book When Women Invented Television. Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut novel, The Other Black Girl, is a New York Times bestseller and is available from Atria Books in the US, and Bloomsbury Books in the UK.



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    • 50 min
    Episode 4: James Baldwin

    Episode 4: James Baldwin

    This month, co-hosts Jennifer and Zakiya discuss the legacy of James Baldwin with Robert Jones, Jr., the author of the New York Times Instant Bestselling novel, The Prophets. Robert received his B.F.A., magna cum laude, in creative writing, and M.F.A. in fiction from Brooklyn College. He is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. He has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, Essence, and The Paris Review. He is the creator and curator of the social-justice, social-media community Son of Baldwin, which has over 280,000 followers across platforms.



    About the hosts: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of the New York Times bestseller Seinfeldia and her new book When Women Invented Television. Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut novel, The Other Black Girl, is available from Atria Books in the US, and Bloomsbury Books in the UK.



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    • 41 min
    Episode 3: Ernest Hemingway & F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Episode 3: Ernest Hemingway & F. Scott Fitzgerald

    This month, co-hosts Jennifer and Zakiya discuss the relationship between Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald with Amanda Vaill, the author of the bestselling Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy—A Lost Generation Love Story, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, and Somewhere: The Life of Jerome Robbins, for which she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship. In addition to her screenplay for the Emmy– and Peabody Award–winning public television documentary Jerome Robbins: Something to Dance About, she has also written features and criticism for a range of journals from Allure to The Washington Post Book World.




    About the hosts: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong is the author of the New York Times bestseller Seinfeldia and the upcoming book When Women Invented Television, available March 23rd. Zakiya Dalila Harris’ debut novel, The Other Black Girl, comes out June 1st from Atria Books in the US, and Bloomsbury Books in the UK.

    • 53 min

Customer Reviews

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2 Ratings