Commentary airs on alternate Fridays; podcasts available anytime.

Marginalia is an on-air commentary and podcast hosted by KMUW's Beth Golay. Episodes feature author interviews, editorial commentary and other marginalia to enhance the reading experience.

Several of Beth's interviews are included each year in NPR's Book Concierge.

Listen to the episodes below, or subscribe to the Marginalia podcast through Apple Podcasts or Google Play. (If you'd like to learn more about ways to listen on demand, read our guide here.)

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Randall Munroe is the creator of the website and the author of the books What If?, Thing Explainer, and his latest, How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems.

Photo © Viking Adult (HC) 2019

When most readers hear the name Tracy Chevalier, they correctly remember her as the author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, which was her second of eleven published novels. Her latest is titled A Single Thread, which explores a group of women who, after World War I, were charged with embroidering cushions and kneelers for Winchester Cathedral. 

Marginalia: Ben Nickol

Oct 2, 2019
Amy Scheck

Short story collections can be difficult to discuss in one sitting, but that doesn’t stop me from trying. Luckily, with his new collection, author Ben Nickol linked together some of the stories through characters and circumstances. Ben stopped by the KMUW studios recently to visit with me about the collection, Sun River.

(c) Think Moncur 2017

If you've been listening to Marginalia for a while, you've probably heard my next guest before.

Ivy Reynolds

Kate Williams is a self-described '90s kid. If you don’t believe her, a look at the pop culture references sprinkled throughout her new YA book, The Babysitters Coven, might convince you. 

Michael Pointer

Throughout her three collections of poetry and one work of fiction, author Jeanine Hathaway often weaves themes of faith into her writing. Her new collection of poems, Long After Lauds, is no exception. 

Marginalia: Brock Clarke

Aug 27, 2019
Nate Eldridge

My guest this episode is a voice you've probably heard before, especially if you've been listening to Marginalia for a while. Brock Clarke just released his 8th work of fiction, Who Are You, Calvin Bledsoe?, and he visited with me about it the day before publication.

Marginalia: Renee Rosen

Aug 13, 2019

Author Renee Rosen has penned 5 works of historical fiction. Her latest, Park Avenue Summer, focuses on two women: one fictional and one not. The setting is 1965, New York City. And the historical character that readers might recognize is Helen Gurley Brown. Through this novel, Rosen explores a four-month stretch soon after Brown was named editor-in-chief of a failing Cosmopolitan magazine.

Franco Tettamanti

Is there such a thing as a Midwestern sensibility? J. Ryan Stradal thinks so. And through both of his books he does a great job of characterizing it.

Published in 2015, Kitchens of the Great Midwest explored location and the rise of foodie culture. And now his new book take a deep dive into the world of craft beer. The Lager Queen of Minnesota features three strong women raised with stoicism and that Midwestern sensibility.

I recently spoke with J. Ryan about his books, his strong female characters, his mother, and beer.

Here’s our conversation:

Marginalia: Abi Maxwell

Jul 19, 2019
Kate Criscone

In her new novel, The Den, Abi Maxwell tells the stories of two sets of sisters. They are separated by more than 100 years, but are connected through circumstances and place: unplanned pregnancy and disappearance from the same den in a New Hampshire forest.

I recently spoke with Maxwell about the novel, her characters, their individual strengths, and the curious naming of one particular character. Here’s our conversation:


The Den by Abi Maxwell was published by Knopf.