90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Irish-American Novelist Alice McDermott

On St. Patrick ’s Day, remembering and living with beloved Irish-American writer Alice McDermott.

Novelist and National Book Award-winning Alice McDermott. (Jamie Schoenberger / Epic Photography)

Novelist and National Book Award-winning Alice McDermott. (Jamie Schoenberger / Epic Photography)

In a nation of immigrants, Irish-Americans have a storied history – sometimes beautiful, sometimes not.  Fleeing famine, scrambling ashore.  Finding their way, like Chinese and Koreans, Poles and Portugese, Haitians and Italians and everybody else – but with bagpipes and Irish history.  Irish-American novelist Alice McDermott tells that story with exquisite nuance.  She is with us on this St. Patricks Day, when the culture continues to find its way.  To parade and not.  To agree and not, on gay rights and more.  This hour On Point:  the great Alice McDermott, on the path of Irish America.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Alice McDermott, novelist, professor of humanities at Johns Hopkins University and author of “Someone,” “Charming Billy,” “A Bigamist’s Daughter,” “That Night,” “At Weddings and Wakes,” “Child of My Heart,” and “After This.”

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.

From Tom’s Reading List

Baltimore Magazine: Class Act – “What’s less known about McDermott is that she’s forged a stellar reputation as an educator. She has, since 1996, taught in the Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University, where she conducts graduate and undergraduate fiction workshops. ‘It’s energizing,’ she says. ‘I enjoy looking at that first draft and thinking, ‘What have we got here? What’s on the page that we can make use of?’ I occasionally feel like I’m more invested in the stories than they are, but it’s always fun because they’re so talented.'”

New York Times: Survivor Among a Lifetime of Ghosts — “Ms. McDermott brings supreme ease and economy to summoning young Marie’s memories in detail (why did those shirts seem to suffer?) and staying within specific time periods in Marie’s life. It is only later that the book will revisit that soda bread and link it to a sense of loss. ”

USA Today: Alice McDermott, Donna Tartt among Critics Awards finalists — “Thirty finalists in six categories are honored, including several USA TODAY-reviewed books, including ‘Someone’ by Alice McDermott. The National Book Critics Circle Awards, founded in 1974 at the Algonquin Hotel and considered among the most prestigious in American letters, are the sole prizes bestowed by a jury of working critics and book-review editors. “

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 24, 2014
Ottawa police officers, with Parliament Hill in the background, guard the area around the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa on Thursday. (Reuters/Landov)

Gunfire in Canada’s capital. Billionaire millions hit the midterms. Huge airbag recall. Ben Bradlee is dead. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 24, 2014
Andrew (Miles Teller) and his often demanding conductor, Terrence (J.K. Simmons) in a scene from the new film, "Whiplash." (Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)

The new movie “Whiplash”. The thin line between obsession and abuse on the road to greatness. In music, the arts…sports.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 23, 2014
A screenshot from the interactive game, "Depression Quest," the game at the root of the ongoing #GamerGate controversy. (Courtesy  "Depression Quest")

#GamerGate. Sexism, misogyny and rough stuff in a video game world culture clash.

 
Oct 23, 2014
Specialist Ronnie Howard, center, calls out prices as he works at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. Beyond the turmoil shaking financial markets, the U.S. economy remains sturdier than many seem to fear. (AP)

The global economic wobble. Europe weakness. China fears. Wild markets. We’ll lay out the global economy now.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment
 
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
3 Comments