Scott Simon

host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition”

Tuesday, March 10, 2020
7:30 p.m. - Conversation/Q&A at Page Hall, 135 Western Ave., University at Albany Downtown Campus. See map
Free and open to the public.
NOTE: An informal craft talk will take place earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m. in the Standish Room, Science Library, University at Albany, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany NY 12222. See map. Both events free and open to the public.

Scott Simon, beloved host of NPR’s “Weekend Edition” since it first aired in 1985, and one of the best-known voices on American radio, will present his new middle grade book, Sunnyside Plaza (2020).

 

The book tells the story of a developmentally disabled adult woman who seeks to solve the mystery of a number of suspicious deaths in her group home. Kirkus called it, “A tender insight into being different and wonderful.”

Simon’s weekly radio show has been called by the Washington Post, “the most literate, witty, moving, and just plain interesting news show on any dial,” and by Brett Martin of Time-Out New York “the most eclectic, intelligent two hours of broadcasting on the airwaves.” He has won every major award in broadcasting, including the Peabody, the Emmy, the Columbia-DuPont, the Ohio State Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Sidney Hillman Award. 

 

Simon has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times of London, The Guardian, and Gourmet among other publications, and won a James Beard Award for his story, “Conflict Cuisine” in Gourmet. He has received numerous honorary degrees. 

The novel’s title, Sunnyside Plaza, is the name of a fictionalized group home on the north side of Chicago, based on the center where Simon worked while attending the University of Chicago.

He discussed his novel in a Publisher's Weekly story:

"I remember the first time I had walked in there being a little bit staggered. ‘How will I communicate with these folks? What I am doing here?’ ” he recalled. He figured it out. “It’s an overworked phrase, but it was a transformative experience for me.”

His night shift left him free to attend classes during the day and eventually pursue a career as a reporter.

 

“I was charged with putting the people in my caseload to bed, helping them brush their teeth and wash their faces, lining them up to take their medications,” he said. “I loved it while knowing I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life. I felt so blessed to have learned from them to be humble about looking into the lives of other people, and about not making judgments too quickly.”

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Photo by Marcos Galvany