A Word on Words | NPT

S6 E16 | FULL EPISODE

#keepreading | Mary Laura Philpott | NPT

Dear fans of A Word on Words, we have some news. Mary Laura Philpott, who along with J.T. Ellison has hosted the series for five seasons, is leaving the show. We’ll have news about the new co-host soon. For now, enjoy this special edition of "A Word on Words" in which Mary Laura is interviewed by J.T. about her favorite, most challenging and most memorable interviews.

AIRED: October 04, 2021 | 0:03:02
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

(typewriter clicking)

- Welcome to A Word On Words.

We are gathered here today to share some bittersweet news.

Our dear Mary Laura is moving on to greener pastures

after six seasons with the show.

And I know you viewers are going to miss her terribly.

- I hope you'll consider me still part of the team,

just in a different seat.

And the seat is my sofa.

- So let's do, let's do a special

Word on Words themed lightning round.

(bell dinging) - Alright.

- Uh, what was your favorite on-site shoot?

- We did an episode with Jane Smiley

at this equestrian center, and I was so excited

that we had gotten Jane Smiley that I didn't tell anyone

I was allergic to horses.

Whole time we were shooting I kept thinking,

"Oh, I hope both my eyes are open.

Do I look alert?

Am I slurring my words?

I hope not." (laughing)

- Can you, can you possibly choose a favorite interview?

- No.

I was kind of scrolling through the website the other day

going, this is, like, every season is my favorite season.

It's just stunning.

The range of people that we got to interview from, you know,

like the, the household name kind of people, like, you know,

we got to interview Elizabeth Strout,

we got to interview Nick Hornby, Jesmyn Ward.

And then we, we, there were so many people

where we caught them at just the right moment,

just as their stars were rising, like Yaa Gyasi

and Rebecca Makkai, and, and Ocean Vuong.

And if I think about, like, the one that still

blows my mind, it would be my very last one,

which was Kazuo Ishiguro.

I still can't believe I got to talk to him

from my living room into his living room.

Like that, that to me is still surreal.

- What was your most challenging interview?

- Logistically it might've been

the conversation with Jesmyn Ward,

where we were really deep into kind of

a sad part of the conversation

and we both had, like, tears in our eyes, and we were really

close to each other on my back porch.

And then the whole house generator went off spontaneously

about 10 feet away from us,

and it sounded like a helicopter landing.

And both of us had screamed

and it completely broke the flow of the conversation.

- That's awesome. (laughing)

In addition to being the co-host of A Word on Words,

you are an author in your own right.

- I'm an essayist.

I write short, true stories,

and sometimes I pile them all together into a book.

Uh, my last book was I Miss You When I Blink,

which came out in 2019.

My next book is called Bomb Shelter.

It comes out in 2022, it's a memoir.

- Where can our viewers find you now that

they're not going to see you every Sunday morning?

- Um in my backyard, hopefully on book tour next year.

I hope, if book tours come back.

Probably in the bookstore, you know,

I'm always buying books, and, you know,

out and about walking in the park with my dog.

- And thank you for watching A Word on Words.

I'm J.T. Ellison flying solo right now.

Keep reading.

- [Mary] Hashtag keep reading.

- [J.T.] Hashtag keep reading.

- [Mary] Oh, the poor little hashtag.

It's just been sitting there for a year and a half.

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