90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
John McPhee: The Writing Life

Rebroadcast

We’ll talk with the great master of literary journalism, John McPhee about his craft and his collection of personal essays, Silk Parachute.

Princeton University Professor John McPhee, in Princeton, N.J., April 12, 1999. (AP)

If you’re a fan of literary nonfiction, John McPhee is the mountaintop. He’s the master of amazingly-informative, exactingly-sculpted, “you-can-read-it-two-or-three-times” journalism.

His process is exacting, and his attention to detail is exhaustive.

“What I do is go through the miserable business of a first draft,” McPhee says, “which is just, you know, masochism, and when I get it done, there’s a bit of a change comes over me, as I get a little calmer about what I’m doing.”

This hour in an archive edition of On Point, we speak with John McPhee about the writing life.

-Tom Ashbrook


Note: This show was first broadcast April 16, 2010.

Guest

John McPhee, author of more than 30 books and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. His career as a staff writer for The New Yorker goes back to 1965. His new book is Silk Parachute.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments