Michael Krasny offers his impressions of 7 influential contemporary American writers.
“I was mad for literature,” writes Michael Krasny, host of NPR’s award-winning radio program, Forum. These words form the opening line of his memoir—a memoir that traces a life stretching from Buckeye State fraternities to Bay Area literati, telling of Krasny’s coming of age during the heady 1960s and vividly describing his journey from a student of literature to that of a struggling novelist, an educator, and—somewhat accidentally—a radio host.
As Krasny creates a portrait of himself, with his writerly struggles, his love of literature, and his quest—always—to make himself in the image of his role model, 3-time National Book Award winner, Saul Bellow, he also offers portraits of the many poets, playwrights, authors, and essayists with whom he crossed paths over the course of his career. Punctuating the chapters of his life, Krasny offers commentaries and observations on some of the leading literary luminaries of the century—from Joan Didion to V.S. Naipul—exceptional writers and thinkers, who had occasion to step into his studio and under his inquiring gaze.
Tonight at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore, Michael Krasny will share some of his insights and behind-the-scenes accounts of a life enamored with literature and studded with celebrity authors. In anticipation of this event, gathered below, are a handful of portraits of some of the most influential contemporary American writers, as described by Krasny in his biography, Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life.