Arizona PBS’ original production “Books & Co.” returns for its 20th season, offering a personal and in-depth look into the creative process of award-winning authors and their book writing.
The new season of “Books & Co.” premieres Friday, March 24, at 11:30 p.m. and features thirteen episodes with host Alberto Ríos. Ríos is an award-winning author and poet, an ASU Regents’ Professor of English, and was the first “Books & Co.” guest in 1993. Since 2009, Rios has hosted the program and carries forward the series’ legacy by speaking with prominent authors.
“As I prepare for the show and read the authors’ books, I write out a list of questions, but I have no agenda,” Ríos said. “It’s not so much an interview but instead I listen to the authors and have a conversation with them on their terms.”
Highlights from Season 20 of “Books & Co.” include:
Brad Taylor, “Ring of Fire”
Taylor is a New York Times best-selling author and a former Delta Force officer. He currently serves as a security consultant on asymmetric threats for various agencies in addition to his writing career. He has written a total of 11 novels. In “Ring of Fire,” taskforce operators Pike Logan and Jennifer Cahill return in this thriller that revolves around the release of the Panama Papers.
Sanderia Faye, “Mourner’s Bench”
Faye grew up in the Arkansas Delta, graduating from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff with a degree in accounting. During her years as an accountant, she came to the decision that her passion was for writing, which led her to earn an MFA in creative writing from Arizona State University. Her first novel, “Mourner’s Bench,” won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award winner for debut fiction.
Linda Valdez, “Crossing the Line: A Marriage Across Borders”
Pulitzer Prize finalist Valdez is a columnist and editorial writer for The Arizona Republic, where she is also on the editorial board. A graduate of the University of Arizona, Valdez received the Scripps Howard Walker Stone Award for her commentary opposing Arizona’s anti-immigration laws. Her memoir “Crossing the Line: A Marriage Across Borders” chronicles the challenges faced by Valdez and her husband, who is from Mexico.
Linda See, “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane”
New York Times best-selling author See has written books ranging from mystery to historical fiction to a memoir of her Chinese American family. “The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane” tells the story of Li-Yan, who lives with her family in a remote mountain village where life revolves around tradition, ritual and farming tea.
Viet Thanh Nguyen, “The Refugees”
Nguyen is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of English and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. His first novel “The Sympathizer” is a New York Times best-seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His current book is a short-story collection, “The Refugees.”
‘Books & Co.’ is unique in that the program is about the craft of writing. The author and Alberto talk about the work, but the conversation can go anywhere,” producer Suzanne Guery said. “It’s often rare for authors to have a full 30 minutes to discuss just their work. Alberto is a writer himself so he understands the creative process.”
Arizona PBS’ back-catalog of authors from all literary genres includes well-known names like Stuart Woods, Laurie Notaro, Bill Bryson, James Ellroy, Clive Cussler, E.L. Doctorow, Sandra Day O’Connor, Barbara Kingsolver, Colin Powell, Jack Gantos, John Lescroart, Joyce Carol Oates, Jodi Picoult and Anne Rice. This diverse array of writers and subject matter has been collected into an online archive, which includes extended online-only content, at http://www.azpbs.org/books/.
Arizona PBS has been part of ASU since the station launched in 1961.