Writers on a New England Stage

Writers on a New England Stage is a partnership of The Music Hall and New Hampshire Public Radio.  To view the schedule and purchase tickets, click here or call the box office at (603) 436-2400

Note: Some events require the purchase of a book voucher and are not available online; call or visit The Music Hall box office in Portsmouth to purchase tickets to these shows.

Half lecture, half intimate conversation, Writers on a New England Stage brings world-class authors to New Hampshire to read from their latest works and talk about themselves, their creative process, and their stories.  Authors are interviwed on stage by an NHPR host.

Follow the series on social media at #WNES. 


This award-winning author series, launched in 2005, has presented such celebrated authors as Dan Brown, Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, USSC Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Judy Blume, Tom Brokaw, Jodi Picoult, and David McCullough; all on stage at The Music Hall’s Historic Theater in downtown Portsmouth, NH. Each literary evening features an author presentation followed by an onstage interview with a New Hampshire Public Radio host. Live music is performed by the award-winning house band Dreadnaught. Shows are rebroadcast on New Hampshire Public Radio.

Elizabeth Gilbert Grows Up

Jul 31, 2011
(Photo by The American Libary Association via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Elizabeth Gilbert reads from her new book, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Piece with Marriage, and talks about her relationship, skipping yoga in the mornings, and why Pamela Anderson is a great philosopher.

Writers on a New England Stage: Ben Mezrich

Jul 26, 2011

This segment was produced by Shannon Dooling.

The controversial author and self-proclaimed inventor of a new genre of literary non-fiction, Ben Mezrich's bestselling books include Bringing Down the House and The Accidental Billionaires. The first was the source for the film, 21 and the second was adapted into the Academy Award-winning movie The Social Network.

Writers on a New England Stage: David McCullough

Jul 5, 2011
David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

David McCullough is widely known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning writing on great leaders and American politics, in books such as Truman and John Adams. In his newest work he turns his focus to Americans abroad in Nineteenth Century Paris.

In this edition of Writers on a New England Stage, McCullough reads from his newest book, The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris, a chronicle spanning generation, and sits down for a conversation about his work, his influences, and America's age-old fascination with The City of Light.

Writers on a New England Stage: Neil Gaiman

Jun 29, 2011
David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

Neil Gaiman is often credited for expanding the audience for comics beyond white, teenage boys with his Sandman series. But he is also a true multi-media phenom, a filmmaker, (now) recording artist, screenwriter for the likes of Dr. Who, and prolific author, including the multi-award winning, groundbreaking novel American Gods.

Ann Patchett: Write What You Know Only If It's Interesting

Jun 15, 2011

Ann Patchett's new novel, State of Wonder, is topping all the big reading lists right now. She reads from the book, tells a terrifying true story about her close encounter with an anaconda, and has a blisteringly funny conversation with Virginia.


Joyce Carol Oates Remembers

Mar 31, 2011
David J. Murray, cleareyephoto.com

Joyce Carol Oates reads from her new book, A Widow's Story, and talks about her writing life and the experience of crafting this book with Virginia Prescott.

Writers on a New England Stage: Joseph Ellis

Dec 2, 2010

Joseph Ellis, Pulitzer Prize winning author and historian, reads from his new book, First Family. He also talks about why the likes of Abigail and John Adams will never come again.


Writers on a New England Stage: Simon Winchester

Nov 10, 2010

The bestselling author of The Professor and the Madman, and Krakatoa visited the Music Hall in Portsmouth to talk about his new book, Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Disasters, Titanic Storms and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories. It’s a biography of the ocean, from its origins 195 million years ago, through centuries of discovery, trade, war, and harvest to what he calls “the forgotten ocean” of today.


Writers on a New England Stage: Margaret Atwood

Sep 23, 2010
<a href="http://www.cleareyephoto.com/">David J. Murray</a>

Today on Word of Mouth, a conversation with Margaret Atwood, recorded live at the Music Hall in Portsmouth as part of the “Writers on a New England Stage” series.  Virginia spoke with the award winning author of the dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. They talked about pessimism, hope for the future, and learning survival skills in Canada. 

Writers on a New England Stage: Isabel Allende

May 13, 2010

Today on Word of Mouth, a conversation with Isabel Allende, live from the series. Allende is the best selling Latin-American author in the world. Beginning with her 1982 debut, House of the Spirits, Ms. Allende’s novels have been praised for their historical accuracy, deep sensuality and what critics call "magical realism." She has written 17 more books including novels, memoirs and young adult stories since she was forced to leave her native Chile. She and her family fled after a military coup toppled the presidency of her father’s cousin, Salvador Allende.

Writers on a New England Stage: Michael Lewis

Apr 9, 2010

The author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, and The Blind Side joined NHPR's Jon Greenberg at the most recent installment of Writers on a New England Stage to discuss his latest work of nonfiction, The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine. It's a character-rich and darkly humorous account of how the US economy “was driven over the cliff” by a collection of professionals entrenched in the financial world.

Writers on a New England Stage: Jodi Picoult

Apr 8, 2010

Today on Word of Mouth, a conversation with Jodi Picoult, live from the "Writers on a New England Stage" series. The prolific novelist’s 17th book, House Rules, recently debuted at the #1 spot on the New York Times bestsellers list for hardcover fiction. We spoke to her about her work and her life as a mother of three here in Hanover, New Hampshire. But first, we hear Jodi Picoult reading from her new book.

In 1993, Greg Mortenson had hoped to climb K2, the world’s second highest mountain in memory of a sister who had recently passed away. He never made it to the top, and got lost on his way down, but when he finally stumbled into the town of Korphe, Pakistan his life would change forever. A promise to the villagers of Korphe embarked Greg Mortenson on a mission to build schools, especially for girls, in Pakistan. He recounts this mission in the bestselling book Three Cups of Tea.

The acclaimed author of The Poisonwood Bible, The Bean Trees, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle was at the Music Hall in Portsmouth to take part in our Writers On A New England Stage series. Kingsolver reads from her new book The Lacuna, talks with Laura Knoy and takes questions from the audience. Today we play back the highlights from the evening’s event.

Writers on a New England Stage: Tracy Kidder

Oct 20, 2009
<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rorris/">Rich Orris</a>

Tracy Kidder tells true stories. He is one of the masters of the narrative non-fiction genre. He’s won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for works which combine fine writing with solid reporting, often from places we would never choose to go.

As the author of Ragtime, Billy Bathgate and The March, E.L. Doctorow is considered one of America's preeminent writers. On Wednesday, Doctorow stopped by the Music Hall in Portsmouth for the next installment of Writers on a New England Stage. He discussed his new novel, Homer and Langley, and his career with NHPR's Laura Knoy.

For almost her entire professional life Ruth Reichl has been able to combine her two loves, food and writing. A long time restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times, Reichl became editor of Gourmet Magazine in 1999. Her books book have also been a combination of memoir and food, but in her latest offering, Not Becoming My Mother, Reichl looks back at her mother’s life through almost a century of letters and how her challenges influenced her daughter’s career.

The best-selling and critically lauded novelist is back with The Hour I First Believed, his first new work in nine years. It follows the story of a couple relocating from Colorado to Connecticut after the wife survives the 1999 murders at Columbine High School. At the latest Writers on a New England Stage event, Lamb talked about his books and his career with NHPR's Laura Knoy. Today we bring you that event.

Massachusetts-born writer Anita Shreve is the author of 14 books, including The Pilot’s Wife, chosen as an Oprah Book Club Selection, and The Weight of Water, a murder mystery set on the Isles of Shoals. Her latest offering, Testimony, opens the door to a sex scandal at a New England boarding school that starts with a video tape and ripples out into an entire community. This week Anita Shreve traveled to The Music Hall in Portsmouth to be a part of our Writers on a New England Stage series.

She's been called the "first lady of American journalism," known for her talent as a news anchor and for her historic interviews of leading newsmakers. In her new memoir, Audition, Barbara Walters shares her own story, reflecting on her professional and personal lives and sharing both the challenges and successes she's had in a life in the news.

Best known for her portrayals of the complex, intertwined history of Native and White Americans, a heritage the author herself shares, Louise Erdrich came to The Music Hall in Portsmouth to talk about her new book “The Plague of Doves” and take questions from the audience and Exchange host Laura Knoy. Today we bring you part of that performance.

NPR's contributing senior news analyst Cokie Roberts is one of the most recognizable women political reporters today. In 2004 she penned “Founding Mothers” about America's early revolutionary women; her new book, “Ladies of Liberty,” picks up where “Founding Mothers” left off. Last week, Cokie Roberts came to Portsmouth to talk about her new book in the latest installment of our Writers on a New England Stage series. Today we play back for you part of that performance.

On Monday, award-winning documentary film maker Ken Burns addressed a live audience at the Music Hall in Portsmouth as part of our Writers on a New England Stage Series. Burns’s latest documentary, called “The War”, details the stories of soldiers, families and loved one in four American cities during the four years of American involvement in World War II. Burns' companion book to his documentary is called “The War: An Intimate History 1941-1945”. Today we play back for you part of Monday night’s event.

Richard Russo won the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for his novel Empire Falls, which the Christian Science Monitor described as "[possibly] the last great novel of the 20th Century." Russo was on hand at The Music Hall in Portsmouth to talk about his new novel, Bridge of Sighs, for the latest installment of Writers on a New England Stage.

We play back for you the latest in our "Writers on a New England Stage" series, with Diamant on her new book "The Last Days of Dogtown". It's historical fiction set in post-colonial Massachussetts, an account of a real community that slowly died out. The show is an edited-for-broadcast version of last Thursday night's event at the Music Hall in Portsmouth.

Best-selling author Mitch Albom gained international fame with his book Tuesdays with Morrie. Now he's back with a new work, called For One More Day that raises similar issues: the lessons that death can teach us about life. Mitch Albom came to the Music Hall in Portsmouth on Friday as part of our Writers on a New England Stage series, where he talked about his book then host Laura Knoy joined him on stage for a few questions of her own and from the live audience.

Although born in Pennsylvania, legendary author John Updike has been a New England writing institution since he moved to Massachusetts North Shore in 1957. Author of the classic book "The Witches of Eastwick" and his famous "Rabbit" series of novels, his compelling new work of fiction is called, "Terrorist". "Terrorist" tells the story of Ahmad Ashmawy Mulloy, half Irish American, half Egyptian, Ahmad struggles throughout the book between his newly found Islamic beliefs and the materialistic, hedonistic society he sees around him in his working class home town of New Prospect, New Jersey.

Dan Brown, author of one of the most popular and controversial books of the last century, The Da Vinci Code, spoke on Sunday, April 23rd in Portsmouth as part of our Writers on a New England Stage series. Brown talked about his famous book, its adaptation to a new film and the controversy surrounding both. In the second part of the show, host Laura Knoy joined him onstage for a few questions of her own. Today we broadcast some of that performance. (Note: This show is an edited version of the performance.)