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When Ancestry Search Led To Escaped Slave: 'All I Could Do Was Weep'

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 8:00am

Regina Mason's great-great-great-grandfather, a man named William Grimes, was a runaway slave and the author of what is now considered to be the first fugitive slave narrative.

Actor Idris Elba To British Politicians: More Diversity Needed In Media

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 7:49am

"When you don't reflect the real world, too much talent gets trashed," the Golden Globe winner says. Elba is scheduled to speak to senior TV executives and more than 100 members of Parliament.

Superlatives Notwithstanding, Even 'The Force' Has Its Limits

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 6:00am

NPR film critic Bob Mondello's been listening to the Star Wars hype train. Here's why he isn't climbing aboard.

Chef Trades Toque For Amish Beard, Opens Off-The-Grid Deli In Maine

Mon, 01/18/2016 - 3:40am

A Chicago chef tired of the kitchen grind moved his family off the grid to join an Amish community in Maine. He's now selling charcuterie and cheese from a cabin in the woods.

'Fake Missed Connections' A Genre Of Its Own

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 7:09am

Brett Fletcher Lauer was lost after his divorce and began posting fake "missed connections" on Craigslist. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to him about his book "Fake Missed Connections."

In 'Anything For You,' Raising A Last Glass To Blue Heron Vineyard

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 6:00am

This weekend, we're rewinding the NPR Books Time Machine to look at Kristan Higgins' beloved Blue Heron romance series, which wrapped up last month with book five, Anything For You.

'The Crooked House' Is Haunted, In A World That Denies Ghosts

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 6:00am

Christobel Kent's literary thriller follows a young woman who reinvents herself — even taking a new name — after the mysterious murder of most of her family. But she can't escape the past forever.

A Belgian Playwright Tackles Muslim Radicalization With Comedy

Sun, 01/17/2016 - 4:04am

"We have a problem," says Belgian Muslim playwright Ismaël Saïdi. His solution: writing and producing a comedy play about three men who go to fight a holy war. It's become an unlikely hit in Brussels.

With Leap To HBO, Big Bird's Got A Brand-New Way To Get To 'Sesame Street'

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 5:47pm

Shiny new digs (in more ways than one) are reshaping the children's TV show, which premieres Saturday on HBO. The show's executive producer — and Elmo himself — tell how the neighborhood's changed.

With Leap To HBO, Big Bird's Got A Brand-New Way To Get To 'Sesame Street'

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 5:47pm

Shiny new digs (in more ways than one) are reshaping the children's TV show, which premieres Saturday on HBO. The show's executive producer — and Elmo himself — tell how the neighborhood's changed.

Not My Job: Sutton Foster Gets Quizzed On Tonys (Not The Awards)

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 10:19am

Two-time Tony Award winner Sutton Foster is quizzed on Anthonys.

Looking At Oscar Nominee List As A Symptom Of Hollywood's Racial Bias

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 7:11am

For the second year in a row, the Oscar nominees for acting categories are decidedly — white. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with film critic and interviewer Bobby Rivers about the pallid list.

Family Bonds Are Never Bland In 'The Past'

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 7:11am

In her latest novel, The Past, Tessa Hadley focuses on four siblings spending one last holiday at a soon-to-be-sold summer home. Tensions simmer, secrets break out of storage — but love remains.

'Glory Of The World' Is More Wacky Birthday Party Than Traditional Play

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 7:11am

The play celebrates Catholic monk Thomas Merton's 100th birthday. But it isn't really about Merton — it's about human complexity, and at times the action resembles the film Animal House.

'Hunters' Is A Dark, Elegant Tale Of East And West

Sat, 01/16/2016 - 6:00am

Lawrence Osborne's well-structured new novel follows a group of Western expats in Cambodia, all hunting for something nebulous — money, happiness, or even just an edge up on everyone else.

In 'That Dragon, Cancer,' 'Unshakeable Empathy Gives Game Life'

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 3:31pm

A new computer game explores the real life experience of a married couple losing their young son to cancer. Chris Suellentrop and J.J. Sutherland of the podcast "Shall We Play a Game" have a review.

Oscars Still So White: Academy Nominates Nearly All White Actors, Again

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 3:31pm

For the second year in a row, no non-white actor was among the 20 acting nominations for the Academy Awards.

Here Are The New TV Shows You Should Watch This Year

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 3:31pm

NPR reviews some of the new shows coming to network and cable television over the coming weeks.

Norway's National Library Discovers Rare Atlas — With A Little Help From Reddit

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 2:34pm

The Cedid was one of the first printed atlases from the Muslim world. There were 14 known copies in existence — until a Norwegian reference librarian with a fondness for /r/MapPorn noticed something.

'Fiddler' Songwriters Discuss Putting Themselves In The 'Soul Of The Characters'

Fri, 01/15/2016 - 1:07pm

Together Sheldon Harnick and the late Jerry Bock wrote the songs for the Broadway show Fiddler on the Roof. Both men spoke to Fresh Air in 2004; Harnick spoke to Fresh Air again in 2014.

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