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Each Hear-Tell episode features writing from current students, alumni, faculty and visiting lecturers in Grady’s Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction program, founded by professor and author Valerie Boyd.
Host, producer and MFA alum André Gallant collects these stories, and inquires into each author’s process and purpose. Equal parts entertainment and education, Hear-Tell explores the literary and journalistic aims of narrative nonfiction. New episodes arrive monthly.
To inquire about Hear-Tell, its storytellers, or the MFA program, write to us.
Host and producer André Gallant and MFA narrative nonfiction director Valerie Boyd discuss the power of narrative in the inaugural episode of Hear-Tell.
Read a transcript of the interview here.
2019 MFA graduate Dorothy Lennon reads from her essay “Coming Out,” about the author’s relationship with her mother, and how Lennon’s sexuality affected their family.
Lennon is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, New York University, and currently teaches theatre. She lives in Atlanta, where she is the founder of Dope Sista, an online publication highlighting the achievements of black women.
In the episode, Lennon discusses how a theatre background impacted her writing, as well as her journey to unlocking an authentic voice.
Read a transcript of the interview with Dorothy Lennon here.
2018 graduate Mark Shavin reads a selection from his book-length manuscript “Unforgettable: Marriage, Memory and Madness in a Small Southern Town,” which is currently seeking a publisher.
The story follows Harold Riley, who lost his memory following brain surgery in 1971, and his wife, Elaine, as she tries to help Harold relearn how to live in the world.
A veteran reporter and TV broadcaster, Shavin lives in Atlanta and teaches journalism at Georgia State University.
In this episode, Shavin discusses his decades-long research into the Rileys’ story, why this particular story stuck with him over the years, and what the family’s openness taught him about being a good person.
Author and MFA faculty member John T Edge reads his essay “My Mother’s Catfish Stew,” originally published in the Oxford American, about a son’s duty toward family memories and his mother’s legacy.
Edge is the author of “The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South.” He’s the director of the Southern Foodways Alliance and host of ESPN’s True South.
In the episode, Edge discusses the changing role of the first person in his writing and what he learned about narrative craft by exploring his personal life on the page.
2018 graduate Samantha Bresnahan reads a chapter, “The Return,” from her book “In the Blood, Flowers Bloom,” which is currently seeking a publisher.
The story follows American and Japanese veterans of Iwo Jima during World War II and how the keepsakes that soldiers took from enemies kept the battle alive long after the fighting stopped. Bresnahan’s story concerns the trauma of war, but is ultimately about the necessity of reconciliation and forgiveness, no matter how long that takes.
Bresnahan is a senior writer and copy editor at CNN in the international features division, where she’s worked for more than a decade.
2017 graduate Karen Thomas reads an essay called “Traveling Graces,” which is adapted from a chapter from an in-progress book project currently titled “Stealing Away: Alzheimer’s and One African-American Family’s Journey,” which is currently seeking a publisher.
The story follows the day Thomas moved her mother, who had Alzheimer’s and died in 2016, into an assisted living facility. The plan had been long in the making, but when moving day finally arrived, Thomas worried if that decision was truly for the best.
Following a distinguished career in newspaper journalism, Thomas now serves as a professor of practice at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Listen to the episode here:
Current MFA students Kim Lute, Tom Cullen, Jasmin Pittman Morrell, and Diana Keough read short narrative essays composed during their low-residency coursework over the past year. The stories share the theme of family, and consider the lessons our ancestors and loved ones provide us today.
This episode is the first Hear-Tell episode produced from the safety of the homes of our guests and host. Considering the health of our contributors, the show will continue in this fashion for the near future.
Current MFA students Alison Miller, Will Alford, Sierra Williams, and Stephanie Paladino read short narrative essays composed during their low-residency coursework over the past year. Their stories introduce us to fascinating characters and take us to communities across the US and Global South.
This episode is the second Hear-Tell episode produced from the safety of the homes of our guests and host. Considering the health of our contributors, the show will continue in this fashion for the near future.
Listen here: (coming soon)
2019 MFA graduate Jeremy Redmon reads an essay called “December 21 and What Came After,” about his experiences as a reporter embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq. The essay was originally published by The WarHorse, a nonprofit new website dedicated to telling stories about military service and the impact of war.
Redmon’s essay explores what drew him to covering armed conflict, what working in a war zone taught him about his Air Force veteran father, and the lasting impact of trauma on his life.
A veteran journalist, Redmon currently reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
2018 graduate Kristin Lowe reads an essay called “The Orchard on a Cloud,” about how the agricultural community of Quincy, Washington, has been reshaped by digital forces. The Grand Coulee Dam irrigates the apple orchard and potato fields around Quincy. That same water source has attracted data storage centers, run by the likes of Microsoft, creating fundamental shifts in how the people of Quincy define themselves.
Returning to an important geography from her childhood, Lowe reflects on how life has changed for farmers like her uncle, Carl Yeates, and what these changes mean for generations to come.
Lowe is a freelance writer who specializes in women’s histories and stories. She is based in Atlanta, Georgia.