A man who converses on an equal plane with writers of fiction and poetry, often surprising them with his insights, Michael Silverblatt has made Bookworm the country's premier literary talk-show. Joyce Carol Oates once called him the "reader writers dream about."
Silverblatt's formidable knowledge comes from close reading and analysis of a writer's entire oeuvre. As host and guiding spirit of this weekly show, Silverblatt has reinvented the art of literary conversation, introducing listeners to new and emerging authors along with writers of renown.
He regularly hosts literary conversations for Lannan Foundation's "Readings and Conversations" series in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Following a 2011 conversation between Silverblatt and poet laureate, W.S. Merwin, Merwin left this note:
I must tell you I have been interviewed to something like excess, but an interview with you is unique. It is an original and you never ask any of the over and over questions that have been so often asked and answered. That makes these conversations with you an unfailing and singular pleasure.
A New York native, Silverblatt graduated from the State University of New York in Buffalo and later took advanced courses at Johns Hopkins. He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1970's, working in motion picture public relations and script development. He created Bookworm, for KCRW in 1989.
As a student, he came under the influence of such cutting-edge author-teachers as Donald Barthelme and John Barth; as a radio talk-show host, he learned to appreciate a much wider range of writing – making him, he hopes, "a person of ferocious compassion instead of ferocious intellect."
With more than two decades' worth of shows, Bookworm has become one of the best centers to hear the voices of contemporary writing, any time, anywhere, locally and globally via the Internet.
Michael Silverblatt on KCRW
More from KCRW
Beyond cancel culture: DEI and the pathway to positive and constructive dialoguePolitics
Law professor Kenji Yoshino offers practical advice to navigate today’s DEI landscape and tips for having positive and constructive dialogue.
Ep. 2 Dogs who hang around the reservoirEntertainment
Out of work and broke, Tarantino spent his time writing. And writing. Rejected for being “too vile!” or “too vulgar!” he finally got his big break – Reservoir Dogs.
Cheryl Strayed and Liz Tigelaar on ‘Tiny Beautiful Things,’ WGA strike reactionsEntertainment
“Tiny Beautiful Things” series creator and showrunner Liz Tigelaar and author Cheryl Strayed discuss the kismet of their collaboration and adapting the acclaimed book into a Hulu…
Young Creators Project: Artist Sterling Molldrem (aka Silverstreetz) wants his mural art to have attitudeArts
KCRW showcases young visual artist Sterling Molldrem. The 17-year-old muralist talks about his painting “BALI.”
Hermanos Gutiérrez share ‘El Bueno y El Malo’: Live from KCRW HQArts
Ecuadorian-Swiss sibling duo Hermanos Gutiérrez unleash their instrumental Latin Western sounds at KCRW, fresh off of their Dan Auerbach-produced 2022 album El Bueno y El Malo.
‘Cocaine Bear’ director on tackling the R-rated horror-comedyEntertainment
Director-producer Elizabeth Banks understood the challenges of making the mixed-genre horror-comedy “Cocaine Bear.”
Steven Yeun on working on dark comedy series ‘Beef,’ making ‘Minari’Entertainment
Steven Yeun discusses his fears in taking “Minari,” why he and his “Beef” co-star broke out in hives after production wrapped, and how Netflix’s offer for the series was too good to…
Understanding success — and why talent and ability are not always keyPhilosophy
Hungarian-born network scientist and author of “The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success,” Albert-László Barabási, explains the disconnect between performance and success, and…
Ep. 3 No Travolta, no Pulp FictionEntertainment
Who would be cast in Pulp Fiction? “If I can’t cast Travolta, I’m not making the movie,” Tarantino said.