Skip to main content



Conversations from the Sun Valley Writers' Conference - 2019

Novelist Emily Ruskovich

A conversation with award-winning novelist Emily Ruskovich.

Watch the Episode

On this edition of “Conversations from the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference,” Dialogue host Marcia Franklin talks with award-winning novelist Emily Ruskovich. Ruskovich, an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre, Film and Creative Writing at Boise State University, is the author of the novel, Idaho. In 2019, it garnered the International Dublin Literary Award, which carries with it more than $100,000.

Franklin talks with Ruskovich about what it was like to win the award and how it has changed her life. The two also discuss the plot of Idaho, whose setting is based on the landscape of Ruskovich’s childhood on remote Hoodoo Mountain in northern Idaho. The story involves a mysterious murder of a young girl by her own mother, and the efforts of the father’s new wife to try and untangle what may have happened. Ruskovich also reflects on the process of writing the book.

The Dublin Literary Award judging panel called Idaho “a masterpiece on the redeeming and regenerative potential of music, poetry, literature and art.”

Historian Joanne Freeman

A conversation with Yale professor and historian Joanne Freeman.

On this week’s “Conversations from the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, Dialogue host Marcia Franklin talks with historian Joanne Freeman about her latest book, “The Field of Blood.” In the book, Freeman, a professor of history at Yale University, shows how the U.S. Congress before the Civil War was a more violent body than originally thought.

Freeman talks with Franklin about how she researched the book and whether her findings are applicable to the current political climate. She also discusses the value of the studying history, and the focus of her next book on Alexander Hamilton. Freeman edited the Hamilton papers for a previous book, and was also featured in the PBS documentary, “Hamilton’s America.”

Related Links:
Historian Joanne Freeman
“Backstory” podcast

Author Brando Skyhorse

A conversation with author Brando Skyhorse about memoir, "Take This Man."

In this episode of Dialogue, host Marcia Franklin talks with author and Indiana University Bloomington associate professor Brando Skyhorse. Skyhorse grew up believing he was the son of an activist in the American Indian movement. As a teenager, he learned that his biological father had been born in Mexico. Until he was a young adult, though, he continued to “pass” as Native American.

Skyhorse finally wrote an essay “coming clean” about his background, and then a memoir called Take This Man, in which he tries to understand why his mother pretended that the two of them were Native American. The author also delves into the personalities of the five men he called “father,” and tells readers about a discovery that changed his life forever.

Franklin talks with Skyhorse about his memoir, his writing style, the phenomenon of “passing,” and the subject of his next novel, “Wall.”

The conversation was recorded at the 2019 Sun Valley Writers’ Conference.

Related Links:
Brando Skyhorse website

Author Barry Lopez, Part One

Part One of Marcia Franklin's conversation with Barry Lopez about his life and work.

Watch the Episode - Part One

Watch the Episode - Part Two

In the second of a two-part interview with acclaimed author and world traveler Barry Lopez, Dialogue host Marcia Franklin continues her conversation with the National Book Award-winner about his newest book, Horizon. The memoir is both a look back at six regions of the world Lopez has written about, and a meditation on his concerns and hopes for the planet.

Lopez also talks about one of his next projects, and shares an experience that dramatically affected his life. The interview was recorded at the 2019 Sun Valley Writers’ Conference.

The author of more than 15 books of fiction and non-fiction, Lopez won the National Book Award in 1986 for Arctic Dreams. Of Wolves and Men, his seminal work on the complicated relationship between humans and wolves, was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1980.

Author Barry Lopez, Part Two

Part Two of Marcia Franklin's conversation with Barry Lopez about his life and work.