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Episode 23 of 23

Episode 23: Jonathan Franzen on the pleasures of birding

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station description Bird Podcast by Shoba Narayan
‎Bird Podcast
Duration: 52:43
Jonathan Franzen is arguably America’s greatest living fiction writer. He has won numerous accolades and awards.  His latest book, Crossroads, is just out. Like many of his novels, it has little to do with his other passion. As Jonathan says in this interview, he doesn’t bird very much when he is wo
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Jonathan Franzen is arguably America’s greatest living fiction writer. He has won numerous accolades and awards.  His latest book, Crossroads, is just out. Like many of his novels, it has little to do with his other passion. As Jonathan says in this interview, he doesn’t bird very much when he is working. Now to birding.  In his New Yorker essay, “My Bird Problem,” Franzen says that he began birding in 1999 at the age of 40. Since then, he has written a number of lyrical essays about birds, conservation and his birding adventures from Africa to Antarctica. My second favourite is this one in the New Yorker which talks about him going to search for Masafuera rayadito in faraway Chile. My absolute favourite is this one in the National Geographic which talks about the sheer joy of birding and the number of species he has seen. It is both a ringing, yet seemingly self-evident, endorsement for birds and a fine argument for conservation. A more incisive and heartbreaking essay is this one in the National Geographic on seabirds. He also speaks about how he fell in love with birds and protecting them in this Youtube video. Franzen also lends his name and voice to conservation efforts that matter to him such as this interesting one about the Chatham albatross.  Watch it. This New York Times piece, which put him on its 2018 “The Greats” cover, gives an idea of where he is at currently. For more details, visit his website: https://jonathanfranzen.com Franzen has also written controversial pieces about climate change that have evoked responses from Audubon.
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