The minds behind The Paris Review Podcast, which The New Yorker recently called “a wonder of literary delights,” will create an episode-length audio odyssey live onstage at On Air Fest in New York. New and archival stories, poems, and interviews from the pages of The Paris Review will fill the air, accompanied by live scoring from musicians David Cieri and Emily Wells and performed by stage and screen actor Quincy Tyler Bernstine and Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Vijay Seshadri. Executive producers John DeLore, Emily Nemens, and Brendan Francis Newnam will guide the performance. Presented by The Paris Review and Stitcher.

The session will include

- A reading from Vijay Seshadri of his poems
- A new story by Rebecca Makkai read by Quincy Tyler Bernstine
- Archival audio from Season 2: Toni Morrison's Writers At Work Interview
- Emily Nemens, John DeLore, and Brendan Francis Newnam discussing the podcast

Buy your tickets and find out more through the On Air Fest website.

Performer Bios


Quincy Tyler Bernstine’s acting credits include: NY Theater (selected credits): Marys Seacole (Lucille Lortel Award, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play); Our Lady of 121st Street (Lortel nomination); The Amateurs (Lortel nomination); As You Like It (Lortel nomination); Small Mouth Sounds; Peer Gynt; Grand Concourse (Lortel nomination); 10 out of 12; The Nether; Mr. Burns; Neva (Lortel nomination); We Are Proud to Present a Presentation…; born bad; Red-Handed Otter; Family Week; Ruined (2009 Obie for Performanc­e, Clarence Derwent, and Audelco Awards); In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play); The Misanthrope; A Small, Melodramatic Story; Matt & Ben, ‘nami; (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch; The Ladies. Film (selected credits): Manchester by the Sea, Easy Living, Still Alice, Ned Rifle, Red Hook Summer, While We’re Young, Hungry Hearts, Rachel Getting Married. TV (selected credits): Ray Donovan, The Code, Modern Love, Power, High Maintenance, The Good Wife, The Blacklist, Elementary, Blue Bloods, Madam Secretary, The Leftovers, The Strain, Chappelle’s Show, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Education: Brown (B.A.), UCSD (M.F.A.). 2019 Obie for Sustained Excellence in Performance, Cullman 3rd Award for Extraordinary Creativity (Lincoln Center, 2019), 2015 Lilly Award, Charles Bowden Award from New Dramatists.


David Cieri is a New York City–based pianist and composer and led the band that created the original music for both Season 1 and Season 2 of The Paris Review Podcast. He has done scoring work on documentaries produced by Ken Burns, the Ewers Brothers, Ark Media, and others. He has recorded many albums, including collaborative works with the poet Yusef Komunyakaa. His newest album is An Homage to Carl Th. Dreyer’s 1928 ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc.’


John DeLore loves sound. He is a senior editor and audio engineer at Stitcher’s NYC studio. He has worked on the following projects: The Paris Review Podcast, Stranglers, Beautiful/Anonymous, The Longest Shortest Time, Couric, Clear and Vivid with Alan Alda, Fake the Nation, The Sporkful, Household Name. Before Stitcher he worked at Gimlet (Mystery Show, Reply All, StartUp), and before that he worked at WNYC (Studio 360, On the Media, Freakonomics, Death Sex & Money, Radiolab live tour). John also writes and records music and is a big fan of Dostoyevsky. 


Emily Nemens is the editor of The Paris Review, the nation’s preeminent literary quarterly. Since its founding in 1953, The Paris Review has been dedicated to discovering the best new voices in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual art. Her first novel, The Cactus League, was published by FSG (February 2020).


Brendan Francis Newnam is a pioneer in the cultural audio space and a leading producer of today’s most lauded programs. As creator and cohost of The Dinner Party Download, a nationally syndicated radio show and podcast about arts and culture, he has interviewed, and matched wits with, the biggest stars and creative thinkers of our time. Newnam also cocreated and produced the critically acclaimed Paris Review Podcast and edited Aria Code, a collaboration between the Met Opera and WNYC Studios that the New York Times calls “luminous” and The New Yorker describes as “elegantly constructed and effortlessly listenable.” He is the founder of Public Address, a full-service audio production shop that consults and creates prestige podcasts for organizations including the Wall Street Journal and First Look Media. 


Vijay Seshadri was born in Bangalore, India, in 1954 and moved to the U.S. at the age of five. He is the author of the poetry books Wild Kingdom, The Long Meadow, and 3 Sections, as well as many essays, reviews, and memoir fragments. Over the course of his career, his work has been widely published, anthologized, and recognized with many honors, most recently the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for 3 Sections and a 2015 Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He was educated at Oberlin College and Columbia University, and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.

“Quietly transfixing” composer/producer Emily Wells is known for her varied use of classical and modern instrumentation, described as “a master of blending the worlds of classical and electronics” (NPR) and known for her “dramatic, meticulous and gothic songs” (New York Times). Onstage, Wells builds a “new instrument” out of acoustic and electronic drums, synth, and violin, and her evocative performances leave audiences equal parts dancing and grieving. Wells’s latest work, This World Is Too _____ for You, was released in March 2019 and has been hailed by NPR as “breathtaking,” “mind-blowing,” and “visionary.” The ten-song album, arranged for chamber ensemble by composer Michi Wiancko, was commissioned by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series and New York’s Metropolis Ensemble, which performs on the album along with drummer/composer Shayna Dunkelman (Du Yun, Xiu Xiu).


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