Novelist Toni Morrison. She has a new novel "Jazz," (published by Knopf) and a new book of essays, "Playing in the Dark," (by Harvard). Her novel, "Beloved," won a Pulitzer prize. She's written six novels in all.
The iconic author of The Feminine Mystique believes that the women's movement needs to move toward what she calls "the second stage," which focuses on cultural and policy changes which foster a greater balance of work and home life.
Lorde is open about her identity as a black lesbian feminist; she hopes her visibility will help other women like her feel less alone. She joins Fresh Air to talk about her romantic relationships with men and women, and the tensions between African American and feminist communities. Her new collection of essays, A Burst of Light, deals with her experience with breast cancer.
Historian and author Nell Irvin Painter is a Professor of American History at Princeton University. She's written a biography of the ex-slave and fiery abolitionist who was born Isabella Van Wagenen and rechristened herself Sojourner Truth, called "Sojourner Truth: A Life, A Symbol."
Emily Wortis Leider has written a new biography of Mae West, "Becoming Mae West" (Farrar, Straus, Giroux). Leider’s book examines the early, formative years of West who was famous for witty one-liners, promiscuity, and being censored. Mae West started out as a vaudeville performer before launching a successful career in film. In the 1930’s she starred in "She Done Him Wrong," based on her play "Diamond Lil" and "I'm No Angel," two of her biggest films.
Historian Ellen Carol Dubois teaches at the University of California, Los Angeles. She's the author of the new biography: "Harriot Stanton Blatch and the Winning of Woman Suffrage" (Yale University Press). Blatch was the daughter of the famous suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton. When her mother died, Blatch carried on her mother's work, encouraging women of all classes to participate. Dubois also edited "The Elizabeth Cady Stanton-Susan B. Anthony Reader" (Northeastern University Press)
Ms. Magazine co-founders Gloria Steinem and Pat Carbine discuss renewed efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. They see coalition-building among politicians, men, and gay and straight women as crucial to the passage of more protective legislation and further progress for the women's movement.
Writer Grace Paley is a master of the short story form. Paley's work is interested in the stories of women, and Paley has been involved in the peace and feminist movements. Paley's latest collection is "Later the Same Day."
Activist Eleanor Smeal was the president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) from 1977-1982. She is also the author of "Why and How Women Will Elect the Next President." Smeal's book examines the political "gender gap," women's political issues, organizing women, getting out the vote, and women running for election. Smeal joins the show to discuss the women's movement and the upcoming election in which Smeal endorses Walter Mondale.
Writer Alice Walker. Her new book, "Possessing The Secret of Joy," is about Tashi, an African woman who lives most of her life in North America, and yet submits to the tribal custom of female circumcision. Walker's other books include "The Color Purple," which was made into a film starring Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey, and "The Temple of My Familiar." The character Tashi has made peripheral appearances in those books. ("Possessing The Secret of Joy" is published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.)
When the novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie moved from Nigeria to the United States for college, she was suddenly confronted with the idea of what it meant to be a person of color in America. Her new novel explores issues of race in contemporary America.
In January, DuVernay became the first African-American woman to win Sundance's best directing award for her second feature-length film, Middle of Nowhere. It's about a young woman who puts her life and dreams of going to medical school on hold while her husband is in prison.
As more women come forward with charges of sexual harassment, and more high profile men are brought down, a talk with Jane Mayer and Rebecca Traister about some of the tough questions being raised, and a look back at another earlier turning point when Anita Hill testified against Clarence thomas during his confirmation hearings.
Michael Cecchi-Azzolina talks about what it's like to be a Maitre D' at the fanciest restaurants in New York City. He has worked in the business for three decades telling wealthy diners, celebrities and even the mafia whether or not they can have the table by the window. His memoir is called Your Table is Ready.