Thorne Dreyer :
PODCAST | Nationally-acclaimed novelist Sarah Bird joins us on Rag Radio

Sarah Bird, member of the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, discusses her powerful and critically-praised new work, ‘Above the East China Sea.’

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Novelist Sarah Bird on Rag Radio. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Interview by Thorne Dreyer | The Rag Blog | May 22, 2014

Our Rag Radio podcast features nationally-acclaimed novelist Sarah Bird, four-times chosen “Best Austin Author” in the Austin Chronicle‘s poll. Her latest book is Above the East China Sea.

Listen to or download the podcast of our May 16, 2014, Rag Radio interview with Sarah Bird here:

Rag Radio is a weekly hour-long syndicated radio program produced and hosted by long-time alternative journalist and Rag Blog editor Thorne Dreyer. The show is recorded at the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, a cooperatively-run all-volunteer community radio station in Austin, Texas. It is broadcast live on KOOP every Friday from 2-3 p.m. (CST) and streamed live on the web.

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Novelist Sarah Bird, flanked by Rag Radio’s Tracey Schulz, left, and host Thorne Dreyer, in the KOOP studios in Austin, May 16, 2014. Photo by Roger Baker / The Rag Blog.

Sarah Bird is the author of nine novels. The latest, Above the East China Sea, was published by Alfred A. Knopf for a May 2014 release. Something of a departure for Bird, who is best known as a laugh-out-loud humorist, East China Sea “tells the entwined stories of two teenaged girls, an American and an Okinawan, whose lives are connected across 70 years by the shared experience of profound loss, the enduring strength of an ancient culture, and the redeeming power of family love.” The book is also political, dealing with isuues of “imperial ambition.”

About Bird’s latest work, Mary Wertsch wrote: “Sarah Bird, a brilliant and accomplished novelist, has topped herself with this uncommonly powerful, beautifully rendered novel. ‘Above the East China Sea‘ is a compelling tale of love, loss, and desperate search for closure, wrapped in a gripping mystery…”

Sarah Bird has been selected for the Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers series; a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship; New York Public Library’s 25 Books to Remember list; Elle Magazine Reader’s Prize; People Magazine‘s Page Turners; Library Journal’s Best Novels; and a National Magazine Silver Award for her columns in Texas Monthly.

She has been chosen “Best Austin Author” four times by the readers of the Austin Chronicle; is in the Texas Literary Hall of Fame; and received the Illumine Award for Excellence in Fiction from the Austin Library Foundation. In 2013 she was selected to be the University of Texas’ Libraries Distinguished Author speaker, and was featured on NPR’s The Moth Radio Hour.

Bird has written screenplays for Paramount, CBS, Warner Bros, National Geographic, ABC, TNT, Hemdale Studio, and several independent producers. Sarah’s screen adaptation of her sixth novel,The Flamenco Academy, is currently in development as are two original screenplays. She has contributed articles to The New York Times, Salon, O Magazine, and is a columnist for Texas Monthly. Sarah, who moved all over the world growing up with her air force family, lives in Austin, Texas.

853px-Rag_radio2Rag Radio is hosted and produced by Rag Blog editor Thorne Dreyer who was a founding editor of the original Rag, published in Austin from 1966-1977. Tracey Schulz is the show’s engineer and co-producer. And we are honored to have noted investigative journalist Ken Martin is our apprentice.

Rag Radio has aired more than 200 shows since September 2009, on KOOP 91.7-FM in Austin, Texas. Rag Radio is broadcast live every Friday from 2-3 p.m. (CST) on KOOP — and streamed live on the web — and is rebroadcast and streamed on Sundays at 10 a.m. (EST) on WFTE, 90.3-FM in Mt. Cobb, PA, and 105.7-FM in Scranton, PA. Rag Radio is also aired and streamed on KPFT-HD3 90.1 — Pacifica radio in Houston — on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. (CST).

After broadcast, all Rag Radio shows are posted as podcasts at the Internet Archive.

Rag Radio is produced in association with The Rag Blog, a progressive Internet newsmagazine, and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.

Please contact us at

Coming up on Rag Radio:
THIS FRIDAY, April 23, 2014: Performance artist, visual artist, and storyteller Aralyn Hughes, author of Kid Me Not: An anthology by child-free women of the ’60s now in their 60s.
Friday, April 30, 2014: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960-1975.

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