Podcast of John Updike on A Word on Words

Illustration from the New York Times by Josh Cochran
Illustration from the New York Times by Josh Cochran
The tributes to the late John Updike have been all over the media these last few days, including a wonderful one by Charles McGrath in Sunday’s New York Times Week in Review. McGrath was sometimes Updike’s editor at The New Yorker.

“His gifts were his eye and his sensibility,” writes McGrath, “which enabled him to describe, with an exactitude bordering on love, how the world looked and what it felt like to make your way in it.”

We at NPT were fortunate to have Updike join us and host John Seigenthaler for an episode of A Word On Words in 2007, where Updike discussed his latest novel The Terrorist. Updike was in town to receive the Nashville Public Library Award, and we remain grateful to Tari Huber at the Library for helping us arrange the scheduling.

Show producer Jonathan Harwell was there that day and recalls that Updike and his wife came together to the taping. “She sat in the control room to watch the interview,” he recalls, “and they were both charming and understated in that refined New England way.”

All of our A Word on Words episodes from the last three years are available as free audio podcasts on iTunes and direct from the A Word on Words website, including Updike’s. Spend a half-hour today listening to the man McGrath calls, “America’s last true man of letters, an all-purpose writer and a custodian of literary culture.”

Download or stream the episode directly here.

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