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If in-store readings and newspaper reviews don’t sate your curiosity for a particular book, one local outlet is making authors more accessible. Vertigo Books now sponsors Vertigo on the Air, a pre-taped show that airs from 11:30 a.m.-noon every Thursday on WPFW-FM (89.3). Vertigo features author profiles—of authors who make appearances at the store, of course—and is hosted by E. Ethelbert Miller, director of the African-American Resource Center at Howard University and a member of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.
“I’ve been restored to the airwaves,” says Miller, who used to interview political and literary guests as the host of WDCU’s Maiden Voyage; so far on Vertigo, he has spoken to the likes of reporter Geraldine Brooks (Nine Parts of Desire) and novelist Jewell Parker Rhodes (Voodoo Dreams), and upcoming interviewees include David Haynes, Gwendolyn Parker, and Helena Maria Villamontes. Miller feels that the radio format parallels “the interest in reading clubs, a large African-American market for books, and a lot of authors coming to town,” and he finds that listeners enjoy hearing how successful writers got their novels, nonfiction, or poetry published. For the time being, Vertigo remains a casual, 30-minute chat between host and guest, but Miller may address other literary topics in the summer, when few authors go on tour.
Speaking of Miller, he’ll be one of a panel discussing local literacy at 7:30 p.m. this Wednesday, April 19, at the District of Columbia Arts Center (DCAC); the other panelists include Tom Mandel, Joan Retallack, Tony Kroll, and Washington City Paper‘s own Jonetta Rose Barras. The $4 event benefits PLAN (Push Literacy Action Now) and the Washington Literacy Council; it also launches a new arts magazine, membrane, edited by Edmund Burke School teacher Nigel Hinshelwood. For more information, contact DCAC at (202) 462-7833.