Smarty Pants

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Tune in every week to catch interviews with the liveliest voices from literature, the arts, sciences, history, and public affairs; reports on cutting-edge works in progress; long-form narratives; and compelling excerpts from new books. Produced and hosted by Stephanie Bastek.

Have suggestions for projects you’d like us to catch up on, or writers you want to hear from? Send us a note: podcast [at]

Episode List:

The Global Garage Sale

What happens to all the stuff we downsize, declutter, and discard?

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, December 13, 2019

House of Mirrors

Carmen Maria Machado on her meta-memoir of a harrowing relationship

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, December 06, 2019

Getting Physical

How people experienced their bodies in the Middle Ages

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, November 22, 2019

A Good Yarn

Once upon a time, a woman adopted a 676-pound bale of wool and got an inside look at a disappearing industry

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, November 08, 2019

A Rather Haunted Episode

For Halloween, a special guest interview with Ruth Franklin

by Katie Daniels and Taylor Curry | Thursday, October 31, 2019

From Black Cabs to Blacklisted

Mike Isaac on how Uber went so wrong

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 25, 2019

Where the Wild Things Are

How a radical conservation effort is transforming a former farm into a verdant, biodiverse landscape—and challenging our ideas about what conservation looks like

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 18, 2019

Live, Laugh, Love Ancient Philosophy

Bringing self-help back to its ancient Greek roots

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 11, 2019

The Banjo and the Ballot Box

How country music has been used on the campaign trail—and in political office

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, October 04, 2019

What Makes a Refugee?

A writer explores how displaced people, and adopted countries, should respond to the highest levels of displacement on record

by Stephanie Bastek | Friday, September 27, 2019
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