Nonfiction Video Interviews

Sonia Manzano


September 22, 2015
BECOMING MARIA by Sonia Manzano Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx is the new memoir by Sonia Manzano, well-known as Maria on Sesame Street. Set in the 1950s, Becoming Maria is the story of a girl with a dream. Manzano plunges us into the daily lives of a Latino family that is loving but troubled. When readers meet young Sonia, she is a child living amidst the squalor of a boisterous home that is filled with noisy relatives and nosy neighbors. Each day she is glued to the TV screen that blots out the painful realities of her existence and also illuminates the possibilities that lie ahead. But—click!—when the TV goes off, Sonia is taken back to real life: the cramped, colorful world of her neighborhood and an alcoholic father. But it is Sonia’s dream of becoming an actress that keeps her afloat among the turbulence of her life and times. “In stark and heartbreaking contrast to her Sesame Street character, Manzano paints a poignant, startlingly honest picture of her youth,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >

Cat Cora


September 16, 2015
COOKING AS FAST AS I CAN by Cat Cora Cooking As Fast As I Can is renowned chef Cat Cora’s no-holds-barred memoir on Southern life, Greek heritage, same sex marriage, and the meals that have shaped her memories. Before she became a celebrated chef, Cathy Cora was a girl from Jackson, Mississippi, where days were slow and every meal was made from scratch. Her passion for the kitchen started in her home, where she spent her days internalizing the dishes that would form the cornerstone of her cooking philosophy incorporating her Greek heritage and Southern upbringing—from crispy fried chicken and honey-drenched biscuits to spanakopita. But outside the kitchen, Cora’s life was volatile. Cooking As Fast As I Can chronicles the difficulties and triumphs Cora experienced on the path to becoming a chef. She writes movingly about how she found courage and redemption in the dark truths of her past and about how she found solace in the kitchen and work, how her passion for cooking helped her to overcome hardships and ultimately find happiness at home and became a wife and a mother to four boys. “A disarmingly candid look at the highs, lows, and true grit of a culinary star,” our reviewer writes. View video >

Cara Nicoletti

author of VORACIOUS

August 18, 2015
VORACIOUS by Cara Nicoletti As a young bookworm reading in her grandfather's butcher shop, Cara Nicoletti saw how books and food bring people to life. Now a butcher, cook, and talented writer, Nicoletti serves up stories and recipes inspired by beloved books and the food that gives their characters depth and personality in Voracious: A Hungry Reader Cooks Her Way Through Great Books. From the breakfast sausage in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods to chocolate cupcakes with peppermint buttercream from Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, these books and the tasty treats in them put her on the road to happiness. “All in all, a pleasure for hungry readers,” our reviewer writes. We talk to Nicoletti this week on Kirkus TV. View video >

John Fox

author of THE BALL

April 7, 2015
THE BALL by John Fox During SXSW, we talked to the writer and director of Bounce. Check out the interview on Kirkus TV. View video >

Frank Bruni


March 31, 2015
WHERE YOU GO IS NOT WHO YOU'LL BE by Frank Bruni Over the last few decades, Americans have turned college admissions into a terrifying and occasionally devastating process, preceded by test prep, tutors, all sorts of stratagems, all kinds of rankings, and a conviction among too many young people that their futures will be determined and their worth established by which schools say yes and which say no. In Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni explains why, giving students and their parents a new perspective on this brutal, deeply flawed competition and a path out of the anxiety that it provokes. “Written in a lively style but carrying a wallop, this is a book that family and educators cannot afford to overlook as they try to navigate the treacherous waters of college admissions,” our reviewer writes. View video >

Bill Browder

author of RED NOTICE

March 24, 2015
RED NOTICE by Bill Browder Bill Browder’s Red Notice is a nonfiction political thriller about an American financier in the Wild East of Russia, the murder of his principled young tax attorney, and his mission to expose the Kremlin’s corruption. In 2007, a group of Russian law enforcement officers raided Browder’s offices in Moscow and stole $230 million of taxes that his fund’s companies had paid to the Russian government. Browder’s attorney Sergei Magnitsky investigated the incident and uncovered a sprawling criminal enterprise. A month after Sergei testified against the officials involved, he was arrested and thrown into pre-trial detention, where he was tortured for a year. On November 16, 2009, he was led to an isolation chamber, handcuffed to a bedrail, and beaten to death by eight guards in full riot gear. “It may be that ‘Russian stories never have happy endings,’ ” our reviewer writes about Red Notice, “but Browder’s account more than compensates by ferociously unmasking Putin’s thugocracy.” View video >

Erik Larson

author of DEAD WAKE

March 17, 2015
DEAD WAKE by Erik Larson On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”—the fastest liner then in service—and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly in Dead Wake, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. “An intriguing, entirely engrossing investigation into a legendary disaster,” our reviewer writes in a starred review. View video >

Sharyl Attkisson


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 >

Upcoming Kirkus Interviews

October 13, 2015
Elin Hilderbrand
October 20, 2015
Richard Grant
October 27, 2015
Adam Makos
author of DEVOTION