Lynn Neary

Lynn Neary is an NPR arts correspondent and a frequent guest host often heard on Morning Edition and Weekend Edition.

In her role on the Arts desk, Neary reports on an industry in transition as publishing moves into the digital age. As she covers books and publishing, she relishes the opportunity to interview many of her favorite authors from Barbara Kingsolver to Ian McEwan.

Arriving at NPR in 1982, Neary spent two years working as a newscaster during Morning Edition. Then, for the next eight years, Neary was the host of Weekend All Things Considered. In 1992, she joined the cultural desk to develop NPR's first religion beat. As religion correspondent, Neary covered the country's diverse religious landscape and the politics of the religious right.

Over the years Neary has won numerous prestigious awards including the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting Gold Award, an Ohio State Award, an Association of Women in Radio and Television Award and the Gabriel award. For her reporting on the role of religion in the debate over welfare reform, Neary shared in NPR's 1996 Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton Award.

A Fordham University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in English, Neary thinks she has the ideal job and suspects she is the envy of English majors everywhere.

Author Andrea Davis Pinkney used to sleep with a copy of The Snowy Day. "I loved that book — it was like a pillow to me," she says.

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This year, the National Book Awards ceremony comes at a time when the nation has rarely seemed more divided. The bitter presidential campaign exposed a fault line in the United States that will not easily be repaired. And while there's no one simple answer, Lisa Lucas, head of the National Book Foundation, recommends one way to understand the other side: read.

"My life is small" she says, "and I think books are a way to make your life larger."

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The 109th Nobel Prize for Literature will be awarded Thursday morning. The academy is known for its cloak-and-dagger methods to prevent leaks about its choice. NPR has a look at past winners and their reactions to winning.

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Step aside Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — a grumpy old man may soon be taking your place as America's favorite fictional Swede. Ove — that's pronounced Ooo-vah — is the lovable curmudgeon at the center of A Man Called Ove. The film, which opens in the U.S. on Friday, is based on a Swedish best-selling novel.

Every year, libraries around the country observe Banned Books Week, to remind the public that even well known and much loved books can be the targets of censorship. This year, Washington, D.C.'s public library came up with a clever idea to focus attention on the issue: a banned books scavenger hunt.

During the two decades he spent working for an investment firm, Amor Towles visited a lot of luxury hotels. One night, he was in Geneva at a hotel where he'd stayed many times before — and he noticed some familiar faces in the lobby. Towles realized they were people who actually lived there and thought to himself, "Oh that's kind of an interesting notion for a book."

Jacqueline Woodson has been writing books for children and young adults for most of her career. After winning the National Book Award for her memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, she decided she wanted to do something she hadn't done in 20 years — write a book for adults. Her new novel, Another Brooklyn, is about friendship and memory and coming to terms with death.

Publishing is a notoriously risky business.

A publishing house might give a first-time author a six-figure deal, only to see the book flop. It's always been hard to predict what will sell. Now publishers are getting some help from data that tells them how readers read — and that makes some people nervous.

Now that the latest season of Game of Thrones has ended, fans may be feeling a little untethered — and some publishers would like to fill that gap with serialized books. As TV dramas get better and better, book publishers are hoping to convert binge TV watchers into binge readers.

In this age of social media, where nothing is either sacred or secret, author J.K. Rowling wants nothing short of a miracle. She has asked theatergoers who attend previews of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in London not to reveal the plot of the play.

She made her request in a video posted online after previews began.

Author Emma Cline's debut novel, The Girls, was inspired by the infamous Manson family murders. But Cline says it wasn't the cult that fascinated her; she was more interested in exploring how a young girl can brush up against evil without even realizing it.

Screenwriter John Logan has worked on some big films. From Skyfall to Gladiator, Logan has learned well how the movie business works. So he knew his latest film, Genius, would be a tough sell.

"This movie is the worst Hollywood pitch in the history of the world," he admits.

That's because it's about editing books.

Emma Straub was raised in a house of horror — horror fiction, that is. Her father is Peter Straub, a writer who specialized in the genre. But there's no hint of horror in Emma Straub's work; her fiction tends more toward genial explorations of marriage and family and friendship. Her last book, The Vacationers, was a best-seller. Her new one is Modern Lovers, and it's set in Brooklyn's Ditmas Park neighborhood, where we met up for a stroll.

Growing up in Pennsylvania coal country, writer Jennifer Haigh learned that a lot of what matters in the state can't be seen. It lies beneath the surface, in the form of potential energy. She saw how the boom and bust cycles of mining affected the people of her hometown, which is now poised on the brink of fracking.

She's taken what she knows and turned it into a new novel, Heat and Light. But Haigh says she doesn't think of it as a book about fracking.

From Mexico City's Zócalo to Rome's Piazza Navona, public squares have always been a vibrant part of urban life. After visiting Italy a few years back, editor Catie Marron began thinking about the different roles these public spaces have played. She asked some well-known writers to share their thoughts about famous squares around the world, and the resulting essays are gathered in a new book called City Squares.

Many people know Make Way for Ducklings, but they might not know the lengths to which Robert McCloskey went to get the beloved Mallard family to look just right.

Having already written much of the text, McCloskey was feeling stuck, explains his daughter Sal McCloskey. (Sal's all grown up now, but you may remember her from one of McCloskey's other books, Blueberries for Sal.)

First, we must contend with the word "fat" itself. It should be a simple descriptor, but fat is often used as an insult — whispered by gossips, or hurled by bullies. Many people use euphemisms — heavy, plump, overweight — to avoid it all together. But now, some writers have decided that it's time to take "fat" head on.

"There's a lot of power in reclaiming words that have been hurled as stigma terms," says Joyce Huff, an English professor at Ball State University.

Before she was a writer, Sara Baume set out to be a visual artist.

"First and foremost I see; I see the world and then I describe it ..." she says. "I don't know another way to write. I always anchor everything in an image."

Baume's process works — a review in The Irish Times called her debut novel a "stunning and wonderful achievement by a writer touched by greatness."

Baume loves words, and she loves fitting words together so they flow like poetry.

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Peering back across Harper Lee's life, it can seem impossible to distinguish the novelist from her masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee died at the age of 89 in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala., on Friday morning — yet it's clear that her legacy will live on much longer than that, through her characters and the readers who have embraced them for decades.

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Herman Wouk has written a lot of well loved novels like The Winds of War, War and Remembrance and The Caine Mutiny, which won him a Pulitzer Prize. But his latest achievment is a rare one — Wouk reached a milestone that few of us will ever see: the age of 100.

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The Authors Guild has started the new year with a bang. First, the group, which represents the interests of writers, asked the Supreme Court to review an October appeals court ruling, which upheld Google's right to digitize out-of-print books without an author's permission. A few days later, the guild addressed a separate issue when it released a letter to publishers demanding better contract terms for authors.

When Harper Lee's Go Set a Watchman was published earlier this year, readers learned that this much anticipated "second book" by Lee was actually a first draft of what would later become the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee radically revised this early version of the book on the advice of her editor, Tay Hohoff. That made us wonder: How much do editors shape the final book we read?

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