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Tag: Oprah Winfrey (11-20 of 22)

J.K. Rowling to appear on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' this Friday: What do you hope they discuss?

JK-Rowling-and-OprahImage Credit: Solarpix/PR Photos (2)Oprah has always had a magic touch when it comes to snagging hard-to-get author interviews. Just look at her extremely rare on-camera interview with Cormac McCarthy. Now, she’s secured a guest that also knows something about magic touches: J.K. Rowling. The Harry Potter author will be stopping by The Oprah Winfrey Show for the first time this Friday to talk about her life, her fame, and writing one of the most popular book series of all time.

The interview already took place in Edinburgh, Scotland, so barring a Time-Turner, it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to affect what questions Oprah poses to Rowling. But that doesn’t mean we can’t speculate. Personally, I hope she asks why there was so much camping in the last book. It may just be in my memory, but I feel like a third of the book took place in the woods. Some snippets of the interview have already been released. On dealing with her enormous and enthusiastic fan base, the author shares this anecdote: “There was this enormous Barnes & Noble, and I thought, ‘Oh my God.’ And the queue snaked up the street, up the Barnes & Noble, up through four floors and they took me in the back entrance.  They opened the door and they screamed. They screamed….That’s a real stand-out moment for me. I knew it was getting big in that there was press attention and so on, but at that point, that for me…was when it felt ‘Beatle-esque.’”

So, Harry Potter fans — and let’s be honest, aren’t we all? — what do you think Oprah and Rowling will talk about, just one billionaire gal to another? Any topics you hope they’ll touch on?

Oprah absolves Jonathan Franzen and picks 'Freedom' for the Book Club

Jonathan-FranzenImage Credit: Janet Mayer/PR Photos; Joe Kohen/Getty ImagesFor all the myriad words to describe Oprah Winfrey, predictable is certainly not one of them. A couple of weeks back, I presumptively quipped that the Queen of All Media would almost certainly not choose Jonathan Franzen’s new book for her Book Club, based on the “feud” the two had back in 2001. But, true to form, it looks like Oprah has surprised us all, choosing Freedom, his latest, as her first Book Club pick in nearly a year. While it won’t be officially announced until tomorrow, the AP reports that three separate book-sellers have confirmed the new pick.

For those who don’t remember the literary kerfuffle from nine years ago, Franzen had made somewhat disparaging remarks about the Club after Oprah named his novel, The Corrections, as her latest selection, which then led to Oprah rescinding the invitation to appear on her show. I can only imagine that after this display of Oprah’s capacity for forgiveness, James Frey is waiting in the wings with apology flowers and a box of chocolates.

UPDATE: Oprah officially announced today, incidentally 14 years to the day after announcing her first selection, that Freedom will indeed be her next pick, saying, “From the very first chapter, I declared it a tour de force.”

Is Nelson Mandela's memoir 'Conversations With Myself' Oprah's new book club pick?

Conversations-with-MyselfOprah Winfrey won’t officially announce her 64th book club selection until Sept. 17, but I have a sneaking suspicion that it will be Conversations With Myself, a memoir of Nobel winner Nelson Mandela assembled from journals, diaries, letters, and records of private conversations that he kept over the course of his storied life as an activist turned prisoner turned president of South Africa. A rep for the book had no comment, but here’s my thinking:

The subject matter seems very Oprah-friendly. The talk-show giant has a long-standing connection to Africa, where she’s built several schools for girls. And she’s selected several African-themed books for her club before, including Alan Paton’s novel Cry, the Beloved Country and Uwem Akpan’s story collection Say You’re One of Them (her 2009 selection).

It’s a memoir by an historical figure, with a presidential imprimatur to boot. We know that Oprah has a thing for memoirs by famous people recounting historical events, from Elie Weisel’s Night to Sidney Poitier’s The Measure of a Man. (Best not to mention her brief, much-regretted dalliance with a memoir by a regular joe named James Frey.) Mandela’s book already boasts a foreword by Barack Obama, which may make an Oprah endorsement seem like just so much frosting on the best-seller cake.

The timing and the price are right. Conversations is due to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on Oct. 11, just a few weeks after the book club announcement, so mass-shipping the title a week or two early wouldn’t be a logistical challenge. Plus, the book retails for $28 — and we already know from booksellers that the new pick is a $28 book from FSG parent Macmillan (which suggests that it’s a new release that’s not a title already available in paperback).

After scouring online book retailers, I turned up roughly a dozen titles from Macmillan imprints such as Henry Holt and Farrar, Straus and Giroux that retail at that price. (Another Macmillan imprint, St. Martin’s, generally doesn’t price books at even dollar amounts.) One of FSG’s $28 books, as other commentators have noted, is Jonathan Franzen’s much-ballyhooed novel Freedom. But after Winfrey’s fallout with the author over The Corrections nine years ago, the chance of her choosing Freedom seems about as likely as Nicholas Sparks winning the Nobel Prize for Literature. Other $28 Macmillan titles include: Wait for Me!, a memoir by Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire; Joan Biskupic’s American Original, a biography of Antonin Scalia; Mark Wyman’s Hoboes; James Schuyler’s poetry collection Other Flowers; and Michael Caine’s memoir The Elephant of Hollywood.

I’m sticking with my guess: This fall, a lot of us will be reading a lot about the anti-apartheid movement, the prison on Robben Island, and the struggle for true democracy in South Africa.

Oprah will finally be choosing her new Book Club book. What do you think she should she pick?

oprahImage Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty ImagesAlmost a full year after her last pick, and just in time to decidedly not choose the new Jonathan Franzen, Oprah Winfrey will soon be announcing the next inductee into that all-powerful pantheon of literature: Oprah’s Book Club. Now, there are two possible routes: She could pick a new work, like she did with, say, A Million Little Pieces, or she could go for the reconstituted classic like she did with Love in the Time of Cholera or East of Eden. Personally, I hope she does the former, if only to avoid the slightly saddening prospect of a sticker that reads “Crime and Punishment: As Seen on Oprah!”

According to the AP, the Queen of All Media—including books—will announce her latest Book Club pick live on-air on September 17, exactly 14 years after she announced her first choice, The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard. Since this is going to be the final season of The Oprah Winfrey Show, it’s unclear how much longer the club will continue, and this may even end up the last pick ever. What do you think Shelf-Lifers? Any ideas as to what you think Oprah might choose? Any books you hope she does?

Kitty Kelley talks Oprah's sexuality, secrets, and time as a 'teenage prostitute'

oprahImage Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty ImagesKitty Kelley has gone where most biographers have been too afraid to go before: She wrote the life story of the all-powerful Oprah Winfrey. Kelley spent four years of her life researching the talk show maven for her new unauthorized biography, Oprah (hits shelves tomorrow). We got the author on the phone today to talk about her research and the secrets she discovered in Oprah’s own autobiography, which was withdrawn before publication. (Kelley claims that was probably because it contained reveals regarding Oprah’s life as a “teenage prostitute,” among other secrets)

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You wrote that you had met Oprah years ago. At what point did you begin thinking about writing about her?
KITTY KELLEY: Decades later. I had absolutely no intention or idea at the time. It just was one of those coincidences. And I remembered it so well. It was in 1981, and I was promoting a book in Baltimore. But I didn’t decide to write this book until 2006.

What started to get you interested in writing it?
I didn’t think I’d do another one. And I’m going to tell you now I’m never going to do another one. But I just thought her life story from the little I knew of it was absolutely fascinating. But I told my agent that that’s what I would like to do, and he said, “There is no way. Nobody is going to publish this book.” And I say, “In my contract, I have to go back to my publisher.” And we went back to my publisher, and they said no. But Crown Books thought it was a fabulous idea. And they saw it the same way as I saw it. I thought the life story was unbelievable. She’s so powerful and she’s had such an impact on our society, that I thought a biography that would tell people more to understand her would be great. So that’s how it came about. READ FULL STORY

Crown announces on-sale date for Kitty Kelley's Oprah bio

Kitty Kelley — the best-selling author of numerous unauthorized biographies — will publish her highly anticipated bio of talk show maven Oprah Winfrey on April 13. Random House imprint Crown has ordered more than 500,000 copies for the 544-page book’s first printing. Kelley interviewed 850 sources during her three years of research.

“Oprah has spent years eliciting intimate confessionals from her subjects, but she herself has a carefully guarded persona,” says Crown executive director of publicity David Drake. “This is the first complete portrait of her — it will reveal Oprah as she has never been seen before.” When pressed to divulge details, he would only say, “It will cover all aspects of her life…It will be evenhanded. Kelley understands Oprah’s cultural importance and that is something she covers at length.” Drake went on to say that the company is not worried about any kind of backlash from Oprah herself, even though the book-loving talk-show queen remains on the air another 18 months (and there’s no telling how she’ll cover books on her new cable network, though she surely will). “I spoke to the people at Harpo this morning, and they were gracious to me,” Drake says. He pointed out that Oprah has been aware of the book for some time and that “she even said, a few years ago, something along the lines of, ‘I’m not encouraging it, I’m not discouraging it; this is America.'”

Kelley’s other biographies, best-sellers all, include The Family (about the Kennedys), Nancy Reagan: The Unauthorized Biography, and His Way (about Frank Sinatra). But somehow we suspect that this one will never be an Oprah Book Club pick.

Photo credit: Adam Larkey/ABC

We read (and watched) Sarah Palin so you don't have to

In her new book — and ubiquitous press appearances — Sarah Palin sounds off on everything from caribou to Katie Couric. Here’s what she had to say:

On John McCain asking her to be his running mate:

“I’d known it was only a matter of time before others saw Alaska’s potential to contribute to America’s future. Now the time was right.”

On Katie Couric:

“Where do I begin?” Palin muses of the infamous 2008 sit-down with the CBS anchor. “In the harried pace of the campaign, I mistakenly let myself become annoyed…with many of her repetitive, biased questions.” (Couric tells EW “the interview speaks for itself.”)


“[Amy Poehler] was very pregnant,” Palin recalls of her campaign stop on NBC’s Saturday Night Live. “She and [my daughter] Bristol compared belly sizes…. Very nice of Amy, I thought. Very down to earth.” She adds, “Josh Brolin, Mark Wahlberg, and the singer Adele were also on the show that night, as was director Oliver Stone, who made a cameo appearance. Unbelievably, he is a supporter of Communist dictator Hugo Chavez, who in a 2006 speech to the United Nations referred to the president of the United States as ‘the devil himself.’ I did not shake Stone’s hand.”

On meeting her husband, Todd:

Love at first sight? Not exactly. READ FULL STORY

Mackenzie Phillips details drug use and incest in new memoir

High-on-Arrival_lHigh on Arrival, a memoir from actress Mackenzie Phillips, hits stores today, the same day that Phillips will make the requisite trip to Oprah’s couch to bare all. Oprah’s website has been touting the interview all week: “Mackenzie Phillips speaks out on the heroin and cocaine bust, Mick Jagger and the explosive family secret she says she’s kept for 31 years.”

And just what is that secret? Phillips is best known as a TV star (One Day at a Time) and as the daughter of John Phillips (founding member of the Mamas & the Papas). But she is also an addict, and hers is a book not about celebrity life, but about the frantic, unremitting scramble to get high. She did her best to obliterate a miserable childhood by shooting, snorting, and swallowing every drug possible. She says she was raped at 14 by a stranger and at 19 by her own father, then continued a pattern of using and detoxing until an August 2008 drug arrest at LAX forced her, she says, to embrace sobriety once and for all. Though Phillips’ incest revelations will make the headlines, the rest of the book — a raw glimpse into the mind of a junkie — is equally dispiriting. “It was, as I’ve said, a hard decision to reveal the sordid side of my relationship with my father,” she writes in the book’s afterword. “But these are complex, painful, heart-wrenching truths that infiltrate lives, many lives, not just mine. I can’t be the only one. And I needed to tell that part of the story because I wanted to earn the right to talk about forgiveness.”

What do you think? Is this a book you’ll read?

For more on Mackenzie Phillips: Clark Collis’ article in The Music Mix

Uwem Akpan: The first post-Oprah interview

We had a chance to chat briefly this afternoon with Uwem Akpan, the Nigerian-born Jesuit priest whose short story collection, Say You’re One Of Them, was anointed by Oprah hours ago as her next Book Club pick.

Do I call you Father Akpan?

Actually, you call me Father Uwem.

Father Uwem, how do you reconcile two powerful callings — that of being a priest and that of being a writer?

They both require time and commitment and energy. But when you are writing fiction, you can set your characters aside. I can’t manipulate the people of my parish. If someone needs counseling, they need counseling. If someone is dead, they need to be buried. But the two callings also go together. For anyone to be a success on the pulpit, they must be a storyteller: They are using words to get into the heart of the congregation. Don’t forget that Jesus was a priest and a poet.

Are you currently on a church posting?

Yes, I have a parish in Lagos.

Does the church vet your writing?

I have permission to write, but I do not need an imprimatur from the church — that is more for people who are writing about theology and philosophy. They see that I am writing fiction and assume it is made up. I suppose it’s possible one day they could pose questions.

Are you working on another book yet?

Not yet. My parish has been very busy.

What kinds of books do you like to read?

I read the Bible a lot — other than that I am very eclectic. The stories from the Bible still amaze and baffle me. I especially like reading the Old Testament.

How did it feel when you learned Oprah had picked your book?

I couldn’t tell anyone because the contract was so full of confidentiality agreements. It was surreal. I’m very, very humbled by all of it.

Thank you, Father Uwem.

No, thank you. Entertainment Weekly has been very good to me.

New Oprah Book Club pick: 'Say You're One of Them' by Uwem Akpan

say-youre-one-of-them_lOprah Winfrey announced her new Book Club selection today and the choice, as many had predicted, is Uwem Akpan’s debut story collection, Say You’re One of Them. EW critic Jennifer Reese had named Say You’re One of Them, made up of five fictional accounts of modern Africa from the point of view of child protagonists, as her top fiction title of last year. “The book should be depressing, but the blazing humanity of the characters and the brilliance of Akpan’s artistry make this one of the year’s most exhilarating reads,” Reese wrote in her review. Expect Akpan, a charismatic Nigerian-born Jesuit priest, to make a striking impression on Oprah’s audience — and to echo the host’s long-standing interest in the often strife-torn continent; she has already built two schools for South African youth.

The selection is another windfall for Akpan’s publisher, Hachette, which is already flush from the success of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series as well as this week’s publication of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy’s memoir, True Compass. A spokeswoman for Hachette’s Little, Brown confirms that it’s releasing 650,000 copies of an Oprah edition of Say You’re One of Them.

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