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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Marginalia: Mona Awad

Jul 5, 2019
Brigitte Lacombe

When writing her novel Bunny, Mona Awad created a setting that mimics Brown University in Providence, RI, one of the schools from which she earned a degree. Her main character, Samantha, is a lonely MFA student in a workshop with the “bunnies”--a group of rich air-kissing, hair-braiding, sweater-set donning young women who are a bit off. While Bunny dabbles in the magical, Awad grounds it in realism.

I recently spoke with Mona Awad about the novel. Here’s our conversation:


Jacqueline Dallimore

I recently spoke with Samantha Downing about her debut thriller, My Lovely Wife. We couldn’t get into a lot, because it’s a domestic thriller which I don’t want to ruin with spoilers. It’s about a husband and wife who go to great lengths to keep their marriage fresh. I’d tell you their names, but I only know hers. I’d tell you more, but this is one book with a plot that you should probably for yourself. I will say that the publisher describes My Lovely Wife as Dexter meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith. So you get the gist.

Sylvie Rosokoff

In her new book, Rules for Visiting, author Jessica Francis Kane has created a charming character in May Attaway. A fan of The Odyssey, May decides to contemplate Penelope’s actions when determining action in her own life. Perhaps it is when we see May name a suitcase after Beowulf’s Grendel, or follow along as she is guided by Emily Post’s book on etiquette, explore with her as she consults the OED--somewhere along the way the reader discovers that May is whip smart, but also awkward and not exactly self-aware.

Beth Navarro

Author Stewart O’Nan has devoted more than a thousand pages to the Maxwell family. A saga, of sorts, three books--Wish You Were Here, Emily, Alone, and now, Henry, Himself--have been released in reverse chronological order. And despite this reversal, more insights are gained as time is erased.

I recently spoke with O'Nan about the Maxwell family and his time with the books. Here's our conversation:


Henry, Himself by Stewart O'Nan was published by Viking.

Jeff Wojtaszek

Before she began her career as a full-time writer, Lisa Scottoline earned a law degree and clerked for the Pennsylvania Superior Court and the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Scottoline has penned more than 30 legal thrillers, and her latest, Someone Knows, is also a domestic thriller that was influenced, in part, by Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

I recently spoke with Scottoline about the book — and when not guilty doesn’t mean innocent.



John Burnham Schwartz has six novels under his belt, he’s written extensively for the screen and television, and he was nominated for the 2018 Writers Guild of America Award. His subject matter varies, and he’s not a stranger to historical fiction. 

What is new this time around is his family connection to the subject.

The Red Daughter by John Burnham Schwartz is the story of the only daughter of Joseph Stalin, Svetlana Alliluyeva, who defected to the United States in 1967. That’s where John’s family comes into the picture.

I recently spoke with John Burnham Schwartz about that family connection and The Red Daughter.

Here's our conversation:


John Burnham Schwartz will be at Watermark Books on Monday,  May 13, for a 6:00 p.m. reading and book signing.

Marginalia: David R. Dow

Apr 26, 2019

It’s often said that authors should write what they know. David Dow took that advice when he penned the novel Confessions of an Innocent Man

Erin Scabuzzo

In her new novel, Lydia Fitzpatrick tells the story of two teenage brothers--Ilya and Vladimir--who live together in Russia. While the boys have always dreamed of escape from their life in Russia, it’s only Ilya who gets to come to the United States in an exchange student program. Ilya exchanges one refinery town in Russia for another in Louisiana, and although his body has escaped the physical location, family drama will not release his heart, mind or soul.

I recently spoke with Lydia Fitzpatrick about her novel, her characters, and her process.

Here’s our conversation:

Stephanie Mitchell

At the beginning of 2019, NPR, Publishers Weekly, Lit Hub, and other national media flagged at Jericho Brown's new poetry collection as one to watch. The book was released last week during Brown's visit to Wichita as WSU's 2019 Distinguished Visiting Poet. He stopped by the KMUW studios to talk with Beth Golay about his work.

Tiffany Pham is the founder and CEO of Mogul, which provides information access, economic opportunity, and education to girls and women. As a coder, she developed the first version of Mogul, which now reaches millions across 196 countries.