Episode 049: Michael Silverblatt


A New York native, Michael Silverblatt graduated from the State University of New York in Buffalo and later took advanced courses at Johns Hopkins. He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s, and in 1989 created the literary talk show “Bookworm” for KCRW-FM.  The show continues to air today.

Norman Mailer has called Michael Silverblatt “the best reader in America.” Susan Sontag called him “a national treasure.” Joyce Carol Oates once called him the “reader writers dream about,” and his podcasts are so popular that New York’s independent bookstores describe a “Silverblatt ripple effect” on book sales.

As a student, he came under the influence of such cutting-edge author-teachers as Donald Barthelme and John Barth; as a radio talk-show host, he learned to appreciate a much wider range of writing—making him, he hopes, “a person of ferocious compassion instead of ferocious intellect.”

Silverblatt gave a talk on October 26, 2010, in Cornell’s Goldwin Smith Hall. This interview took place earlier the same day.