PWN’s Debut Review is a new podcast from Project Write Now, a nonprofit writing studio. Hosted by PWN instructors Ray Brunt and Courtney Harler, the podcast is devoted to debut art and its creators. Guests reveal their creative inspirations and motivations.
Constantly Curating with Alan Heathcock
Alan Heathcock joins us to close this summer’s Season Three. Al is the award-winning author of Volt, a collection of short stories, and a new novel, 40, out today from Macmillan Publishers. Ray and Courtney both studied with Al at Sierra Nevada University, and we are absolutely thrilled to reconnect with him here for the podcast.
For this special episode, Al shares his lifelong fascination with story. From reading Charlotte’s Web as a bashful young boy to now writing “secular bible stories,” Alan Heathcock is a self-professed “consumer of story.” We discuss the creation of literary art, and what it really takes to write empathetic, authentic narrative despite the pressures of the modern market.
Brutal Passages with Brett Riley
Brett Riley joins us for Episode Three of Season Three. Brett is a writer and professor based in Las Vegas, Nevada. His debut young adult novel, Freaks, with Imbrifex Books, hit the shelves in March and the next book in the series, Travelers, will be available everywhere in August.
In this episode, we talk to Brett about the importance of authentic narratives for young readers. Then we delve deeply into the fraught function of violence in superhero stories. Brett also shares his varied tastes in music and his experience with a local independent press.
You Take Back Your Power with Cori Thomas
In Episode Two of Season Three, we feature Cori Thomas, coauthor of the new memoir I Cried to Dream Again: Trafficking, Murder, and Deliverance, with Sara Kruzan. Cori is a playwright, screenwriter, actor, and activist of Liberian and Brazilian descent.
Today, we discuss Cori’s role in co-writing Sara’s groundbreaking memoir, her longtime advocacy for the rights of incarcerated individuals, and her other interests, such as pandemic baking projects. We think you’ll enjoy hearing Cori’s perspectives.
Reading This Book on Trains with Kerri Sullivan, Brittany Coppla & Donnie Martino
We’re launching Season Three with contributors to the new book called New Jersey Fan Club: Artists & Writers Celebrate the Garden State. Kerri Sullivan edited the collection, and she’s brought with her to the podcast two additional essayists: Brittany Coppla and Donnie Martino.
Today, we chat with all three writers about their contributions to the collection. They read from their work and share their creative inspirations. We think you’ll find this debut conversation both entertaining and thought-provoking.
A Gift in Time with Julia Whelan
Our last guest of Season Two, Julia Whelan, is a writer, narrator, and actor. Her debut novel, My Oxford Year, released in 2018 and is also available as an audiobook beautifully narrated by Julia herself. Her second novel, Thank You for Listening, offers a comedic and compelling behind-the-scenes look into the world of audiobooks. Thank You for Listening is expected to release on August 2, 2022.
Today we chat with Julia about her childhood start as a storyteller, her development as a novelist, and how her training as an actor led to her career as an audiobook narrator. Julia also shares her insider knowledge of the entertainment industry.
Reaching [for] Perfection with Laura Zlatos
We’re back this week with Laura Zlatos for Episode 7 of Season 2. Laura is a playwright and librettist. She’s written many plays and has won many awards for her work. She’s a graduate of both NYU Tisch and Columbia University.
Today, Laura talks to us about her start as a writer, inspired by her journalist father and several influential instructors. We get to experience a table read with professional actors of an opening scene from her play, The Blue Whale, and Laura tells us about how she interweaves research into her creative work. She also likes to incorporate contemporary culture and vernacular into her plays and musicals.
Thank you to actors Lacy Allen (Sydney), Madeline Mahoney (Emily), Dana Brooke (Lori), and Teddy Canez (Keith) for their performances.
Great Review for Debut Review
Dad, you have worked so hard to make time for your passions, and it shows! Keep learning, growing, and living! Looks like those joke radio host bits have made your podcast a reality. Keep talking, we’re all listening!!
This podcast is so upbeat and informative. Ray and Courtney make an entertaining team and I love the discussion on writing. The podcast gives insight into the process of writing as well as the rewards from writing. As a potential writer, it was inspires me to keep writing. Thank you.
A Must Listen For Writers & Creatives
I’m loving the conversations Courtney and Ray are having with these writers so far. The hosts are engaging and witty while also asking intelligent questions to keep the discussion moving. Recommending to all my artist friends.