Ten Years of Overheard: Authors

To celebrate ten seasons of Overheard with Evan Smith, this special episode takes a look back at some of the guests who have educated and enlightened us – those who bring us the written word. From best selling authors like John Grisham to newcomers like Saeed Jones, the conversations are always entertaining.

Jonathan Alter (2010)

Jonathan Alter is an author and commentator, who was at Newsweek for close to three decades. He has written several New York Times best-sellers about American presidents.

John Grisham

International best-selling author John Grisham discusses his novel “The Guardians.” 

John Grisham is the author of more than thirty novels, one work of non-fiction, a collection of stories and seven novels for young readers. A master of the legal thriller, nine of his novels have been turned into films – “The Firm,” “The Pelican Brief,” “The Client,” “A Time to Kill,” “The Rainmaker,” “The Chamber,” “A Painted House,” “The Runaway Jury” and “Skipping Christmas.” There are currently more than 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 40 languages. His 2019 novel, “The Guardians,” has a strong social-justice component that shows how wrongful convictions happen. 

When he’s not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes including serving as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to more than 350 kids on 26 Little League teams. 

Susan Rice

Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice talks about her memoir, “Tough Love.”

Susan Rice began her service in the public sector in 1993. In the Clinton administration, she was a foreign policy analyst on the National Security Council and assistant secretary of state for African affairs. Under President Barack Obama, she served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and national security advisor. She is currently a distinguished visiting research fellow at the School of International Service at American University, a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. 

Rice received a master’s degree and a doctorate in international relations from Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar and her bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. She released a memoir, “Tough Love,” in 2019 that provides an insider’s look at the White House, foreign affairs and balancing work with motherhood. 

Scott Pelley

“60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley discusses his memoir, “Truth Worth Telling.”

Scott Pelley has been a journalist for nearly five decades. He is the most awarded correspondent in the history of “60 Minutes,” and he is the former anchor of the “CBS Evening News.” His work has been recognized with three duPont-Columbia Awards, three Peabody Awards, the Walter Cronkite Award for Excellence in Journalism and 37 Emmy Awards. 

In his memoir, “Truth Worth Telling: A Reporter’s Search for Meaning in the Stories of Our Time,” Pelley recounts the best and worst of his career – stories from 9/11 as he encounters extraordinary heroism, insight to the military fighting in the Middle East and the families they left behind and the grieving mothers and fathers of Sandy Hook. He gives behind-the-scenes looks at interviews with world-famous people, from Bruce Springsteen to Donald Trump, and examines both the impulse to serve and the arrogance that can sully a leader’s ethical perspective.

 

Saeed Jones

Poet and author Saeed Jones talks about his debut memoir, “How We Fight for Our Lives.”

Saeed Jones is the author of “Prelude to Bruise,” winner of the 2015 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry and the 2015 Stonewall Book Award/Barbara Gittings Literature Award. The poetry collection was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award, as well as awards from Lambda Literary and the Publishing Triangle in 2015. Jones is a former co-host of BuzzFeed’s morning show, “AM to DM,” and previously served as BuzzFeed’s LGBT editor and Culture editor. In his debut memoir, “How We Fight for Our Lives,” Jones tells his story of growing up a young, black, gay man from the South and fighting to carve out a place for himself within his family, within his country, within his own hopes, desires, and fears. Jones was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Lewisville, Texas. He earned a BA at Western Kentucky University and an MFA at Rutgers University-Newark.

 

Aarón Sánchez

Chef Aarón Sánchez talks about “Where I Come From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef.”

Aarón Sánchez is an award-winning chef, TV personality, cookbook author and philanthropist.  He is the chef/owner of Mexican restaurant Johnny Sánchez in New Orleans and a judge on FOX’s culinary competition series “MasterChef.” He co-starred on Food Network’s “Chopped” and “Chopped Junior.” A third-generation cookbook author, Sánchez has written three books. His memoir is, “Where I Come From: Life Lessons from a Latino Chef.” An active philanthropist, Sánchez launched the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund, an initiative empowering aspiring chefs from the Latin community to follow their dreams and attend culinary school. One of the world’s most distinguished Latin chefs, Sánchez is also passionate about preserving his family’s legacy through food and encouraging diversity in the kitchen.

Tim O’Brien

Tim O’Brien, author of “The Things They Carried,” talks about his book, “Dad’s Maybe Book.”

Tim O’Brien’s acclaimed novels include “The Things They Carried” (an NEA Big Read, which the New York Times said belongs on “the short list of essential fiction about Vietnam”), “If I Die in a Combat Zone,” “In the Lake of the Woods” and “Going After Cacciato” (which won the 1979 National Book Award in fiction), among others. In 2013 he was awarded the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. O’Brien was interviewed for Ken Burns’ 2017 documentary series, “The Vietnam War.” Most recently he was a co-writer on the Vietnam episodes of the NBC series “This Is Us.” His 2019 book is “Dad’s Maybe Book,” where he shares wisdom from a life in letters, lessons learned in wartime and the challenges, humor and rewards of raising two sons.

Tilman Fertitta

Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta discusses his book “Shut Up and Listen!.”

Houston native Tilman Fertitta is an accomplished businessman and self-made billionaire who is often referred to as “the world’s richest restaurateur.” He is the sole owner of Fertitta Entertainment which owns the restaurant giant Landry’s, five Golden Nugget Casinos and Hotels and the NBA’s Houston Rockets. Fertitta is one of the largest employers in the nation with more than 60,000 employees. He also is the star of a reality TV show on CNBC, “Billion Dollar Buyer.” In his no-holds-barred book “Shut Up and Listen!,” Fertitta shares advice and strategies to build a successful business. 

Anna Palmer & Jake Sherman

Politico’s Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman discuss their book, “The Hill to Die On,” a look at the Capitol Hill battle for power.

Anna Palmer is a senior Washington correspondent for Politico. She covers Congress, politics and the business of Washington. Anna previously covered House leadership and lobbying as a staff writer for Roll Call. She got her start in Washington journalism as a lobbying business reporter for the industry newsletter Influence. She has also worked at Legal Times, where she covered the intersection of money and politics for the legal and lobbying industry, first as a staff writer and then as an editor.

Jake Sherman is a senior writer for Politico. He covers the House Republican majority. Since 2009, Jake has chronicled all of the major legislative battles on Capitol Hill and has also traveled the country to cover the battle for control of Congress. Before landing at Politico, Jake worked in the Washington bureaus of The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Together, Palmer and Sherman co-authored “The Hill to Die On,” an insider’s look at divided American politics.

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