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Talking Volumes

Talking Volumes, a partnership of Minnesota Public Radio and Star Tribune, in collaboration with The Loft Literary Center, is a winner of the prestigious Gracie Allen Award. Talking Volumes was noted for its superior quality in writing, production and programming. The program spotlights books with feature articles, live broadcasts with the author, in-person readings and discussions, and more.

2016 Talking Volumes Season

  • Elizabeth Alexander: September 15, 2016
  • Carl Hiaasen: September 21, 2016
  • Gloria Steinem: October 6, 2016
  • Ann Patchett: October 18, 2016
  • Colson Whitehead: November 3, 2016

Minnesota Public Radio, Star Tribune, and The Loft Literary Center are proud to announce the 17th season of Talking Volumes. All Talking Volumes are hosted by award-winning journalist Kerri Miller. All shows will be at The Fitzgerald Theater in downtown Saint Paul.

About the Shows

September 15—Elizabeth Alexander and The Light of the World

From the publisher about Light of the World: Elizabeth Alexander found herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid price, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband's death, and the solace found in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss.

Elizabeth Alexander is poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

September 21—Carl Hiaasen and Razor Girl

From the publisher about Razor Girl: When Lane Coolman’s car is bashed from behind on the road to the Florida Keys, what appears to be an ordinary accident is anything but (this is Hiaasen!). Behind the wheel of the other car is Merry Mansfield–the eponymous Razor Girl–and the crash scam is only the beginning of events that spiral crazily out of control while unleashing some of the wildest characters Hiaasen has ever set loose on the page.

Carl Hiaasen is the author of eleven previous novels, including the best-selling Nature Girl, Skinny Dip, Sick Puppy, and Lucky You, and three best-selling children’s books, Hoot, Flush, and Scat. His most recent work of nonfiction is The Downhill Lie: A Hacker’s Return to a Ruinous Sport. He also writes a weekly column for The Miami Herald.

October 6—Gloria Steinem and My Life on the Road

From the publisher about My Life on the Road: Steinem’s memoiris the moving, funny, and profound story of Gloria’s growth and also the growth of a revolutionary movement for equality—and the story of how surprising encounters on the road shaped both. From her first experience of social activism among women in India to her work as a journalist in the 1960s; from the whirlwind of political campaigns to the founding ofMs. magazine; from the historic 1977 National Women’s Conference to her travels through Indian Country—a lifetime spent on the road allowed Gloria to listen and connect deeply with people, to understand that context is everything, and to become part of a movement that would change the world.

Gloria Steinem is a journalist, activist, former publisher, and women's rights leader.

October 18—Ann Patchett and Commonwealth

From the publisher about Commonwealth: One Sunday afternoon in Southern California, Bert Cousins shows up at Franny Keating's christening party uninvited. Before evening falls, he has kissed Franny's mother, Beverly—thus setting in motion the dissolution of their marriages and the joining of two families.

Spanning five decades, Commonwealth explores how this chance encounter reverberates through the lives of the four parents and six children involved. Spending summers together in Virginia, the Keating and Cousins children forge a lasting bond that is based on a shared disillusionment with their parents and the strange and genuine affection that grows up between them.

Ann Patchett is a PEN/Faulker and Orange Prize-winning writer of novels and memoirs. She is also a bookstore owner in Nashville, Tennessee.

November 3—Colson Whitehead and The Underground Railroad

From the publisher about The Underground Railroad: Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Colson Whitehead is the author of Zone One, Sag Harbor, and John Henry Days among other books. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and the winner of a MacArthur “genius grant.”

About the Host

Kerri Miller joined Minnesota Public Radio in June 2004 as host of Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning and Talking Volumes, the joint book club of MPR, the Star Tribune in collaboration with the Loft Literary Center. She has been a radio and television news reporter since 1981. She has won numerous awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists National Achievement Award, Minnesota Broadcasters Award, the Associated Press Award and a Gracie award from the Association of Women in Radio and Television

About Tickets

All tickets for Talking Volumes are reserved. Ticket buyers can review the seating map to determine a choice for ticket price and seating location.

Season tickets for Talking Volumes range from $69.00–$75.00. Single tickets range from $25.00–$30.00 with a VIP experience at $50.00. Members of Minnesota Public Radio, Star Tribune, and The Loft Literary Center receive a $2.00 discount on each standard price tier. Call the Minnesota Public Radio box office at 651-290-1200 or visit online at for more information.