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The Chronicles of Now

Author: Pushkin Industries

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Short fiction torn from today’s headlines. Each week, our favorite authors write an original story inspired by the news. Featuring Curtis Sittenfeld, Roxane Gay, Colum McCann, Carmen Maria Machado and more. Because in a world gone haywire, sometimes art is the only thing to make sense of it all. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.

iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries. 

13 Episodes
The Chronicles of Now presents a special episode from Storybound, a radio theater program designed for the podcast age. Listeners are treated to their favorite authors and writers reading some of their most impactful stories, designed with powerful and immersive sound environments.  This episode features Yaa Gyasi reading an excerpt from her novel "Transcendent Kingdom," with sound design and music composition from Tim Karplus. Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. Her debut novel, Homegoing, was awarded the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for best first book, the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction, the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” honors for 2016, and the American Book Award. Tim Karplus has been working as a professional musical jack-of-all-trades in Portland, Oregon for the last 9 years.
Tommy Orange: Reopening

Tommy Orange: Reopening


As schools reopen across the country, parents are facing another round of pandemic fear and uncertainty: How safe will their kids be and for how long? And can life—and work—finally take on some semblance of normalcy? Tommy Orange, the bestselling author of There There, asks a more salient and troubling question: What are the kids thinking?  Narrated by Forrest Goodluck. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford. This is the final episode of Season 1. Thanks for listening! You can keep reading stories at
As protests erupted across the nation this summer, heavily armed militias stood off against Black Lives Matter supporters in some cities. In July, a Florida sheriff even threatened to deputize all civilian gun owners to protect Jacksonville from protesters. Dantiel W. Moniz, the author of the upcoming story collection Milk Blood Heat, takes this trend to its chilling conclusion: an America in which every citizen is either the hunter or hunted, and every small decision—where to walk, what to say, what mask to wear—could end your life.  Narrated by N’Jameh Camara. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
Laura van den Berg: 3D

Laura van den Berg: 3D


Now that Joe Biden has selected a female VP and finally claimed the nomination, can we talk about his long, weird, handsy history with women? Laura van den Berg, the author of the new story collection I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, explores why some women risked all in coming forward with stories about Biden. And more importantly, what we can learn from them today.  Narrated by Cindy Katz. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
The most uplifting news of the past six months? Two giant pandas in Hong Kong finally mate after ten years, when their zoo is closed to visitors due to Covid. But what if there was another reason it took so long for them to get into the mood? An alternate history of panda passion by Curtis Sittenfeld, the bestselling author of six novels, including most recently, Rodham. Narrated by Rachel Dratch. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
The New York Times recently revealed a top-secret Pentagon unit tasked with investigating encounters between UFOs and military pilots. Which got Hannah Lillith Assadi, the author of Sonora, wondering: If aliens touch down on earth in the near future, what will they find? And more importantly, what will they do?Narrated by Soneela Nankani. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
John Wray: Status Report

John Wray: Status Report


In late June, President Trump visited Yuma, Arizona to celebrate 200 new miles of border wall declaring, “It stopped COVID, it stopped everything.” John Wray, the acclaimed author of five novels, including most recently Godsend, imagines what the border barrier will look like long after Trump, in say, 2056—what will be standing, whom it will protect, how much it will matter. Hint: Tread carefully. Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
Three billion birds have gone missing in North America over the past 50 years. Or is that fake news? J. Courtney Sullivan, the New York Times bestselling author of five novels, including her most recent, Friends and Strangers, tells the stories of two sisters forever connected by birds and forever divided by politics. Narrated by Cindy Katz. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
What if instead of dropping off our stereos, cocktail sets and coffee tables, all those sleek white vans that sneak through our streets took our possessions away? You might call them "Recovery Operations," imagines Ben Fountain, the award-winning author of Billy Flynn's Long Halftime Walk, and most recently, Beautiful Country Burn Again. In a time of national crisis, isn't giving up your 800-thread-count sheets in the name of shared sacrifice the least you can do? Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
Who knew extinction could be the hottest ticket in town? Manuel Gonzales, the author of The Regional Office Is Under Attack! and The Miniature Wife, imagines a time when people pay to attend Extinction Witnessing Events. It’s a dark, far-fetched idea. And uncomfortably plausible. Just remember: the larger and more beautiful the animal (say, your Amur Leopards and Asian Elephants), the higher the price of admission. Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
Covid-19 has made us all prisoners of our homes. And at times, our families. If the pandemic goes well into 2021, what will an extended quarantine do to our relationships, our country, our daily lives? Roxane Gay, the best selling author of Bad Feminist and Hunger, has some ideas. Sex? Yes. Vaccine? No. Narrated by Bahni Turpin. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford.
Jess Walter: The Ponz

Jess Walter: The Ponz


Michael Cohen, Trump's infamous fixer, was just released from prison to home confinement. Jess Walter, author of the international bestseller Beautiful Ruins, imagines Cohen's life in the slammer: betterment, celebrity, and the cellmate down the hall—The Sitch from Jersey Shore. And what about that tell-all memoir in progress?   Jess Walter is the author of six novels, including the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Ruins and Citizen Vince, which won the Edgar Allan Poe Award. His new novel, The Cold Millions, will be published in October.  Narrated by Oliver Wyman. Hosted by Ashley C. Ford. Read this story and more at
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