As the Justice Department sheds new light on the racist criminal justice system in Ferguson, legal scholar Michelle Alexander looks at the historical roots of what she describes as “the new Jim Crow.”

Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too. In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.

Novelist, poet and Middlebury College professor Julia Alvarez stopped by the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Center in Washington Heights this past week to talk about her family, her life and writing.

A short biography of memoirist and poet Maya Angelou. The famed poet overcame personal struggles to publish the incredibly popular autobiography “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”

A conversation with Rudolfo Anaya about “Bless Me, Ultima”

Born in New Mexico of Chicano and Apache descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was abandoned by his parents and at 13 ran away from the orphanage where his grandmother had placed him. He was convicted on drug charges in 1973 and spent five years in prison. There he learned to read and began writing poetry.

Sandra Cisneros talks about her childhood and the role libraries and education played in her life. And don’t miss the 25th anniversary edition of her classic novel The House on Mango Street, now with a new introduction by the author.

Author Ta-Nehisi Coates records the audio for a passage from his new book, BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME. Photo of Ta-Nehisi and son Samori courtesy of the author.

On the publication of his collection This Is How You Lose Her, Junot Díaz, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, talks about how he writes novels and short stories and the inspiration behind them.

Mel Donalson has taught the history of American Cinema and Film Criticism on various campuses and lectured at various cultural events. In addition to the academic and critical assessment of films, he has also been a screenwriter and director.

An introduction to the complex author of Invisible Man including the first-ever dramatized scenes from that book.

Book TV talked to Reyna Grande about her memoir, “The Distance Between Us.” In the book, Ms. Grande shares her experiences growing up in Mexico without her parents, who immigrated to the United States illegally to find work, and discusses what life was like for her and her siblings when they eventually made it here years later.

Langston Hughes was the leading voice of the Harlem Renaissance, whose poetry showcased the dignity and beauty in ordinary black life. The hours he spent in Harlem clubs affected his work, making him one of the innovators of Jazz Poetry.

The Life and Times of Zora Neale Hurston
a National Radio Documentary written and produced by Aron Myers

Into The Wild novelist Jon Krakauer tells how he was inspired to write the story.

Author Andrew Lam read excerpts from his new book of twenty-one personal essays and discussed the unexpected consequences of the Vietnamese diaspora. He concentrated on not only on how the East and West have changed, but how they are changing each other.

NVLP presents this 2004 clip of Nobel Prize winning author, Toni Morrison speaking about her motivation for writing.

The Swedish Academy described it as a book “in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.” We air clips of him speaking in his own words about writing his acclaimed book.

A story of one name & two fates: One boy grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow, and business leader. The other is serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder. Here is the story of two boys and the journey of a generation.

Barack Obama discusses his memoir, “Dreams from My Father.”

National Book Festival, Washington, D.C., September 26, 2009
Tim O’Brien “The Things They Carried”

Interview with Martha Paley Francescato about Octavio Paz when he won the Nobel Prize in 1990

Watch a short video biography about Edgar Allan Poe’s life and work, including his early life, his macabre short stories, his poem “The Raven,” and his mysterious death in Baltimore in 1849.

Victor Rios says he has lived two lifetimes. In his first, he was a gang member, juvenile delinquent and high school dropout. Now, he’s a sociology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who tries to help adolescents avoid the same mistakes he made and get second chances like he did. Ray Suarez reports.

Luis Rodriguez discusses his deep involvement in an East Los Angeles gang and his decision to leave the only life he ever knew.

Mike Rose interviewed by Bill Moyer about his book, Lives on the Boundary.

Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Sampson Davis, George Jenkins, and Rameck Hunt promised one another they would escape drugs, alcohol, gangs, crime, poverty and the negative stigma of their hometown to pursue their dreams and become doctors.

Gary Soto was born in Fresno, California, in April, 1952, to working-class Mexican-American parents. At a young age, he worked in the fields of the San Joaquin Valley. He was not academically motivated as a child, but became interested in poetry during his high school years.

Author Héctor Tobar describes the California values of his upbringing that permeate his novel The Barbarian Nurseries, California Book Award Gold Medal Winner for Fiction.

Helena Maria Viramontes is co-founder of the Southern California Latino Writers and Film Makers group and teaches at Cornell University. Her first published book of short stories, “The Moth and Other Stories” (1985), focuses on everyday oppression in the lives of ordinary women.

Alice Walker discusses the birth of her Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Steven Spielberg’s big-screen version, and her thoughts on the musical adaptation.

In 1881, Booker T. Washington founded the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, which focused on training African Americans in agricultural pursuits. A political adviser and writer, Washington clashed with intellectual W.E.B. Du Bois.

The author of ‘The Martian’ talks about his journey from computer programmer to self-published author whose book was adapted into a film starring Matt Damon.

Elie Wiesel explains that he wrote his memoir Night out of a duty to bear witness to his experiences in the Holocaust. He describes his writing style–using fewer words to give more meaning–and the difficulty of finding a publisher and selling the book, because people did not want to be burdened by his memories. As students began reading it, their parents were forced to remember what had happened and try to formulate meaning from it.

Learn more about Malcolm X, a passionate American revolutionary who encouraged a physical fight for civil rights, in this mini biography.