Tuesday, November 29 – Nicholson Baker


This week, at Bibliocracy Radio’s new time, Tuesday at noon, my guest is a novelist, nonfiction writer and, most recently, investigator of public education in America.  Nicholson Baker is a celebrated literary stylist, and author of ten novels as well as five works of nonfiction, including The Anthologist, The Mezzanine and Human Smoke.  He has won every award out there, and lives in Maine, where he indeed worked for three months as, yes, a substitute teacher in local public schools.  He is one of my own favorite writers, and last appeared to discuss the novel Traveling Sprinkler.  Acclaimed as an investigation into K-12 education, his newest nonfiction project is Substitute:  Going to School With a Thousand Kids, in which he addresses a significant public policy question but with, of course, wit and whimsy and the gently, funny humanity of the prose master whose fiction has delighted so many. His observations, nearly 1000-pages’ worth, explore the problems and challenges of teaching and learning with both an artist and storyteller’s artful skill, but also provoke and indict and demand more, of both empathy and changes in education policy.  Thanks for listening, on the radio or online, and anytime you like courtesy the free download at KPFK’s Audio Archives.  Please call in to support the station during its upcoming Winter 2016 Fund Drive.