True stories and how we tell them, by the MFA Narrative Nonfiction program.
Each Hear-Tell episode features writing from current students, alumni, faculty, and visiting lecturers in Grady’s Low-Residency MFA in Narrative Nonfiction program, directed by Moni Basu.
Equal parts entertainment and education, Hear-Tell explores the literary and journalistic aims of narrative nonfiction. All episodes are hosted, produced, and edited by MFA students and alumni.
Season 2, Episode 4 “Orange is the New Peach,” James Murdock
In this episode, poet, educator and environmental writer James Murdock (MFA ‘21) discusses how using poetry, place and the natural world around him informed the reporting and writing of “Orange is the New Peach.” His article was recently featured in Food Stories: Writing That Stirs the Pot, an anthology published by The Bitter Southerner.
Read James’ story, “Orange is the New Peach” in Bitter Southerner
Here are a few of the poets and writers who inspire James that he mentioned during our discussion:
Hear-Tell Season 2, Episode 3: Shannon McCaffrey and Jan Winburn, “Sanctuary”
In this episode, Shannon McCaffrey (MFA ‘23) and Jan Winburn, Distinguished Professor of Practice, discuss the challenges Shannon ran into while reporting and writing, “Sanctuary,” the love story between a woman named Carol and an elephant named Tarra and their 50- year bond that was published earlier this year in Atavist Magazine. Shannon’s article was described as “lyrical” by Sunday Longform, in part, because of the many beautifully constructed scenes contained in the narrative, as well as the emotion she was able to evoke from her main character.
Shannon has worked as a journalist for over 20 years and is currently a senior editor at The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Jan Winburn has spent more than four decades at local, national and global news outlets, working as a narrative editor, writing coach and investigative editor.
Hear-Tell Season 2, Episode 2 “We Create Because We Love It” John T. Edge with Paul Kix
In this episode, Distinguished Professor of practice John T. Edge interviews author Paul Kix about his latest book “You Have to Be Prepared To Die Before You Can Begin to Live,” which chronicles 10 critical weeks of the Civil Rights Movement. From questions on how to keep a story moving forward, to ways to humanize famous historical figures, and how to change the world through narrative this conversation gets to the core of why we write. John T. also asked about Paul’s weekly newsletter, This Week Paul Likes, which offers practical writing advice and inspiration.
Season 2, Episode 1 — The Art of Micro-Memoir: Imagine Writing Hummingbirds
Mississippi writer and poet Beth Ann Fennelly, author of the genre-bending Heating and Cooling, spoke at the nonfiction program’s residency in January 2023. She asked students to explore the art of micro-memoir. “What should we do when we can’t figure out how or where to start our story?” she asked. The answer? Start small. Precisely because they are so small, hummingbirds can do things other birds can’t do. In this episode of Hear-Tell, we delve into the art of writing short. You’ll hear Fennelly, Grady’s new MFA program director, Moni Basu and two MFA students, Beth Burch and Colin Donohue read the micro-memoirs that evolved from a writing session led by Fennelly. In the second half of the show, Basu, who took over the program after the death of her best friend and former program director, Valerie Boyd, discusses how starting small can help us to think big.
This episode is hosted by Josina Guess (MFA ’23), produced by Diana Keough (MFA ’21), and edited by Amy Pedulla, a current student in the program.