Nonfiction Video Interviews


Sharyl Attkisson

author of STONEWALLED

Kirkus Interview

January 13, 2015
STONEWALLED by Sharyl Attkisson Who’s been hacking investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson’s computers? Computers that turn themselves on in the night, make strange noises, then shut themselves down. Whoever is doing it is using highly sophisticated spyware available only to our top intelligence agencies. Is someone sending Attkisson a message? In Stonewalled, Attkisson describes how, through more than 30 years as an award-winning investigative reporter, she uncovered wrongdoing by those in power, whether major corporations, government officials, or presidential administrations of both parties. But when she started looking into stories involving the Obama administration’s mistakes and misjudgments in a series of high-profile cases, she was confronted with the administration’s use of hardball tactics. “A deep, nuanced and indignant indictment of the players who have made investigative journalism harder to conduct, even if those actors are other journalists,” our reviewer writes. View video >

Beth Macy

author of FACTORY MAN

Kirkus Interview

December 9, 2014
FACTORY MAN by Beth Macy The Bassett Furniture Company was once the world's biggest wood furniture manufacturer. Run by the same powerful Virginia family for generations, it was also the center of life in Bassett, Virginia. But beginning in the 1980s, the first waves of Asian competition hit, and ultimately Bassett was forced to send its production overseas. In Factory Man, Beth Macy details John Bassett’s epic struggle to keep his company in business amid unfair overseas business practices that forced many U.S. manufacturers to move their factories abroad. A brash, patriotic charmer fond of quoting George Patton. The author’s brightly written, richly detailed narrative not only illuminates globalization and the issue of offshoring, but succeeds brilliantly in conveying the human costs borne by low-income people displaced from a way of life. We like Factory Man so much, we named it to our list of Best Nonfiction Books of 2014. We talk to Macy this week on Kirkus TV. View video >

Tavis Smiley

author of DEATH OF A KING

Kirkus Interview

November 6, 2014
DEATH OF A KING by Tavis Smiley Martin Luther King, Jr. died in one of the most shocking assassinations the world has known, but little is remembered about the life he led in his final year. In Death of a King, New York Times bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster Tavis Smiley recounts the final 365 days of King's life, revealing the minister's trials and tribulations—denunciations by the press, rejection from the president, dismissal by the country's black middle class and militants, assaults on his character, ideology, and political tactics, to name a few—all of which he had to rise above in order to lead and address the racism, poverty and militarism that threatened to destroy our democracy. We caught up with Smiley at the Texas Book Festival to ask him about the book. View video >

Christian Rudder

author of DATACLYSM

Kirkus Interview

October 30, 2014
DATACLYSM by Christian Rudder Our personal data has been used to spy on us, hire and fire us, and sell us stuff we don’t need. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder, the founder of OkCupid, uses it to show us who we truly are. For centuries, we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to study human behavior. Today, a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers, and without filters. Data scientists have become the new demographers. Are you a racist? Plainer-looking than you might wish? Inclined to vote left? Big data knows—and it’s talking. Demographers, entrepreneurs, students of history and sociology, and ordinary citizens alike will find plenty of provocations in Rudder’s book. We met up with Rudder at the Texas Book Festival. View video >

Dick Cavett

author of BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

Kirkus Interview

October 20, 2014
BRIEF ENCOUNTERS by Dick Cavett In Brief Encounters: Conversations, Magic Moments, and Assorted Hijinks, quick-witted talk show host Dick Cavett dishes on some of the famous people he’s interviewed: There’s much ado about Marlene Dietrich, Groucho, Carson and the Burtons, Jonathan Winters, Mel Brooks and Stan Laurel. Brief Encounters, taken from Cavett’s online columns for The New York Times, offers piquant commentary on contemporary politics, the indignities of travel, the nature of comedy writing and the utter improbability of being alive at all. We’ll ask him about his career and his writing life on Kirkus TV this week. View video >

Jeff Hobbs

author of THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ROBERT PEACE

Kirkus Interview

October 14, 2014
THE SHORT AND TRAGIC LIFE OF ROBERT PEACE by Jeff Hobbs When writer Jeff Hobbs arrived at Yale University, he became fast friends with the man who would be his college roommate for four years, Robert Peace. Robert’s life was rough from the beginning in the crime-ridden streets of Newark in the ‘80s, with his father in jail and his mother earning less than $15,000 a year. But Robert was a brilliant student, and it was supposed to get easier when he was accepted to Yale, where he studied molecular biochemistry and biophysics. But it didn’t get easier. Robert carried with him the difficult dual nature of his existence, “fronting” in Yale, and at home. Hobbs’ best-selling book The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace is an ambitious, moving tale of an inner-city Newark kid who made it to Yale yet succumbed to old demons and economic realities. View video >

Steven Johnson

author of HOW WE GOT TO NOW

Kirkus Interview

October 6, 2014
HOW WE GOT TO NOW by Steven Johnson In How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World, Steven Johnson explores the history of innovation over centuries, tracing facets of modern life (refrigeration, clocks, and eyeglass lenses, to name a few) from their creation by hobbyists, amateurs, and entrepreneurs to their unintended historical consequences. Filled with surprising stories of accidental genius and brilliant mistakes—from the French publisher who invented the phonograph before Edison but forgot to include playback, to the Hollywood movie star who helped invent the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth—How We Got to Now investigates the secret history behind the everyday objects of contemporary life. View video >

Lawrence Wright

author of THIRTEEN DAYS IN SEPTEMBER

Kirkus Interview

September 15, 2014
THIRTEEN DAYS IN SEPTEMBER by Lawrence Wright Lawrence Wright has written books that investigate Scientology, al-Qaida, religion in America and the psychology of twinship, among other topics. He received the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for The Looming Tower. His new book, Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin, and Sadat at Camp David is about “one of the great diplomatic triumphs of the twentieth century,” when an unpopular president was able behind the scenes to convince two proud, intransigent leaders of the Middle East to compromise. We ask Wright about uncovering the details of the story in this Kirkus TV interview. View video >

Upcoming Kirkus Interviews

March 3, 2015
Gabrielle Zevin
March 10, 2015
Jay Asher