Episode 14: Writer Ben Greenman
Have you ever thought about sneezing on Larry King? Well, if you have, then you and Ben Greenman have that in common. Join Roberta Panjwani as she interviews Ben about some of his work and his forays into almost becoming a doctor. For the unfamiliar, Ben Greenman is the New York Times bestselling author of The Slippage and Superbad and the former longtime editor for The New Yorker. Not content to only do that, he’s also Questlove’s long-time collaborator and has written memoirs with George Clinton and Brian Wilson as well.
Episode 13: Oprah’s Book Club Director Leigh Haber
Publishing icon, editor, and former Vice President of Book at O magazine, Leigh Haber joins us this episode to discuss books, writers, audiences, and the connections between them. Join host Roberta Panjwani as we dive into Leigh’s role as Director of Oprah’s Book Club, what it’s like to interview writers (or as she calls them, Rock Stars) and the power of books to make change and do good in the world.
Episode 12: Actor Robert Sean Leonard
What do you want to do? Who do you want to be? These are the questions that Tony Award winning actor Robert Sean Leonard grapples with. Join him and Roberta as they talk about his work as an actor and some of the artists he’s collaborated with. Wondering why that name sounds familiar? You might recognize Robert as Neil Perry from Dead Poets Society, Dr. James Wilson in House MD, or onstage as Edmund on O’Neill’s A Long Day’s Journey Into Night.
Episode 11: Comedian and NPR Host Ophira Eisenberg
Hot off the release of her latest standup comedy special, Plant Based Jokes, comedian and podcast host Ophira Eisenberg joins Roberta to discuss what it’s like to tell stories at The Moth, the riskiness involved with audience interactions, and how storytelling has changed since the pandemic. Ophira is currently the host of the podcast Parenting Is A Joke and as well as hosting the now-concluded Ask Me Another, NPR’s comedy trivia show, with Jonathan Coulter for 9 years.
Episode 10: True Crime Author Sarah Weinman
Best-selling author Sarah Weinman loves true crime and loves wondering why we all love true crime. Her books probe these questions and more, bolstered by impeccable research, immensely readable prose and, at the heart of the story, the desire to present the humanity of the subjects, not the perpetrators, of the crimes. Join Roberta as she talks with Sarah from her home in Brooklyn about her books The Real Lolita, Scoundrel, & Women Crime Writers of the 1940 & 1950s and the reasons why we are all so obsessed with true crime.
Episode 9: Nina Groop & Noah Taylor: Telling the Truth to Ourselves
When one shares a story, they can become a part of a healing and empowering experience. Stories are powerful – cathartic, emotive, and full of truths, hidden or not – and our guests this week know that quite well. Nina is a life coach and the author of a new book Creek Music: What a Year in the Woods Taught Me About Seasons, Surrender and Joy. Her son Noah Taylor is a 28 year old cafe manager, storyteller and an aspiring writer. They are frequent performers at the The Moth StorySLAMS in Philly. Join host Roberta Panjwani as she talks with them about their experiences on the stage, how they got there, and the life events that shaped what they tell and how they tell it.
Episode 8: Maite Alberdi: The Most Heartwarming Spy Movie Ever Made
Director Maite Alberdi had a great idea for a new film, one that merged her love of film noir with documentaries, so she began working as an assistant to a Chilean private eye. But when the lead detective broke his hip before filming, she wound up making a very different film – a film that earned her a nomination for a 2021 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Join Roberta as she sits down with Maite to discuss The Mole Agent, filmmaking and the importance of community during any season of life.
Episodes 6 & 7: Pádraig Ó Tuama: In the Shelter of Each Other & Saying Hello to the Questions
What power does poetry have to help us navigate the challenges of life? How do we approach art and how does it approach us? Join our guest host Diane Sims for a journey through these questions, and many others, with Pádraig Ó Tuama in an episode so big, we had to split it into two.
In Part 1, Pádraig Ó shares his relationship with art, reconciliation and the ongoing road toward finding ourselves.
In Part 2, we dig into the questions of acceptance and identity Pádraig grappled with as a youth growing up in Ireland, and in the tall shadow of the Catholic Church, and what innate sensibility gave him the fortitude to step into those headwinds, instead of turning away, with a brief stop in the land of knitable television near the end.
For those new to Pádraig’s work, he is an Irish poet and the host of the hugely popular podcast Poetry Unbound – now on its sixth season – as well as a theologian and conflict mediator.
Episode 5: Curtis Duffy: One of the Best Chefs “Ever”
Before Curtis Duffy was a world-renowned, Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner, he was a troubled youth, left alone as a teenager after experiencing unimaginable tragedies. That is, until he took a mandatory middle school home economics class, introducing Curtis to the kitchen, his gift and his purpose.
Join Roberta as she sits down with Curtis from his new Chicago-based restaurant Ever to talk about those early years and his rise to the top, indomitable work ethic and passion for motorcycles, tattoos and martial arts.
Episode 4: Pippa Ehrlich: Free Dive
How did one tiny octopus change so many lives?
To combat burnout and depression, filmmaker & diver Craig Foster had taken up diving in the icy waters of South Africa’s Kelp Forest where he met one very special Common Octopus. A year of observing and filming the octopus’ short life later, he sent the film to fellow documentarian Pippa Erlich, who crafted the footage into a meditation on the importance of wildlife and a moving tale about her friend and his octopus teacher.
Join Roberta as she chats with Pippa about the Academy-Award winning documentary, her work with the Sea Change Project, and some of her favorite advice from Jane Goodall.
Episode 3: Olivia Barkley: Dreams From the Depths
Olivia Barkley loved diving. She ate, slept and breathed it, so much that her one dream was to get a full diving scholarship at a Division 1 school. After a serious accident on a dive left her with a life-altering concussion, the dream vanished…and then reformed in an unexpected new way.
Join Roberta as she sits down with Olivia to discuss how she managed the many different types of loss, how she found a new identity, and what it’s like to run an Ultra Marathon (50km!).
And did we mention she sings too?
Episode 2: Florence Williams: The Science of Awe
Florence Williams is a contributing editor for Outside magazine and the New York Times bestselling author of Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey (2022) and The Nature Fix (2017). For the unfamiliar, these books ask questions like: Why do the emotional effects of heartbreak manifest physically? and; how can exposure to nature make: us healthier, not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and socially too?
In this episode, Florence joins Roberta from her home in Washington, D.C. to discuss these questions, the difficult life changes that underpin them and how, to get us all outside, she claimed Oscar Wilde’s famously generous definition of nature: “Nature is where the birds fly around uncooked.”