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M. Allen Cunningham

  • M. Allen Cunningham on a Few Ways to Think About Character

    28 AUG 2021 · An audio excerpt from M. Allen Cunningham's talk on Six Ways of Thinking About Character, delivered recently in a university creative writing course. Cunningham includes brief readings from the work of Annie Proulx, Don DeLillo, and Ron Hansen, and branches out to look at some aspects of character in Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Hamilton." Ultimately, he encourages writers to consider how the creation of vivid characters is meaningful human work with resonance that goes beyond questions of craft or technique. (Edited from a longer recording that included student interaction) Visit to learn more about Cunningham's work as a writer, teacher, and publisher.
    34m 26s
  • Explicit

    M Allen Cunningham Reads from His New Book Q&A

    19 APR 2021 · Cunningham describes his book Q&A and then reads three short sections (which happen to feature a few "F-bombs", FYI). Inspired by true events, bold in the forms with which it evokes an agitated, media-soaked half century in America, Q&A urgently reimagines the misunderstood quiz show scandals in light of our own time, as a moment of cultural reckoning whose reverberations we feel all around us today: in reality television, TV politics, the triumph of incoherence, and the pandemic problem of how to be real in a world of screen-induced self-deception. This reading was performed via Zoom. View the video at:
    21m 47s
  • Loon Checkers - from Thoreau's Leaves: the Thoreau Podcast

    18 NOV 2020 · Have you heard THOREAU'S LEAVES? Produced and hosted by M. Allen Cunningham, it's an immersive, atmospheric podcast dedicated to the celebrated and lesser-known works of Henry David Thoreau, one of America's greatest voices. Here's a sample episode for your enjoyment: "Loon Checkers" (subscribe at, or wherever you get your podcasts). More info at:
    7m 47s
  • M. Allen Cunningham Presents PERPETUA'S KIN at Powell's Books

    14 AUG 2020 · During this event at the fabled Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, Cunningham discusses his fourth novel PERPETUA'S KIN. A sweeping story of five generations in one American family, PERPETUA'S KIN spans much of North America, from the 1820s in Iowa to the American south during the Civil War to World War II San Francisco. In a structured presentation, Cunningham describes the story's origins, his research, the themes and characters, the influence of Shakespeare's Hamlet, and why this novel was 11 years in the making. He also reads short selections from the book. The event includes an audience Q&A. It was recorded on a rainy night in November 2018.
    59m 10s
  • In the Atelier: Measures of Success

    12 AUG 2020 · Have you heard IN THE ATELIER, the creativity podcast produced and hosted by M. Allen Cunningham? Here's a sample episode for your enjoyment: "Measures of Success" (subscribe at, or wherever you get your podcasts). In this Episode: How does a writer know whether or not they are "a Success"? Mentioned in this episode: Netflix; Dreamworks; Carnegie Hall; New York Times Bestseller list; midlist author; awkward party conversations; shelving at Barnes & Noble; being on Oprah Music: "Ohio" by Low Light; "Second Smile" by LMOP; "Rising Up" by OFRIN; "Once and For All" by Ian Post (All music used courtesy of the artists through a licensing agreement with Artlist)
    8m 40s
  • Variations on a Beginning

    9 AUG 2020 · Cunningham's autobiographical essay, with musical accompaniment and slightly abridged. "Variations on a Beginning" was originally published in complete form in The Timberline Review, Issue No. 3 (summer/fall 2016). You can read the full essay here:
  • The Artist of Kouroo

    29 OCT 2019 · A reading from WALDEN by Henry David Thoreau (with musical accompaniment: "Sails" by Rodello's Machine)
    3m 13s

    24 OCT 2019 · A reading from PARTISANS: A Lost Work by G.P. Leed
    10m 48s
  • The Waves by Virginia Woolf

    16 OCT 2019 · A reading from Virginia Woolf's THE WAVES, with music. (Bach Cello Suite No. 6 in D Major, Sarabande)
    3m 41s
  • Three Paragraphs by Annie Dillard

    4 OCT 2019 · A reading from Annie Dillard's memoir An American Childhood Music: "The Fire" by Imogen Heap
    1m 59s
Audio dispatches by M. Allen Cunningham, author of the novels THE GREEN AGE OF ASHER WITHEROW, LOST SON, PERPETUA'S KIN, and Q&A.

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