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“Song Exploder” Creator Hrishikesh Hirway Presents “Book Exploder,” A New Limited Podcast Series Hosted by Celebrated Author Susan Orlean

Part of Radiotopia from PRX, episodes of “Book Exploder” will be released via the “Song Exploder” podcast. The biggest names in literature reveal their inspiration and creative process, as guests will include Min Jin Lee, George Saunders, Celeste Ng, James McBride, Michael Cunningham, Tayari Jones, and Carmen Maria Machado

Susan Orlean and Hrishikesh Hirway of “Book Exploder” — photo by Jake Michaels

Hrishikesh Hirway — host and creator of the acclaimed series “Song Exploder”— today announced “Book Exploder,” a new podcast series where the biggest names in literature today take apart their words to show how they write. The special eight-part series will be hosted by bestselling author and “New Yorker” staff writer Susan Orlean (“The Orchid Thief”).

Part of Radiotopia from PRX, episodes will be released free in the “Song Exploder” podcast feed every other Wednesday. Continuing to break new ground by extending the reach and scope of “Song Exploder,” Hirway also recently announced “Canción Exploder,” a Spanish-language spin-off of the music series, made in partnership with Adonde Media and Radiotopia.

Episode 1 of “Book Exploder” is available now:

“This project was a daydream for a long time, and I’m so thrilled to finally share it with everyone,” said series creator and executive producer, Hrishikesh Hirway. “Part of the thesis of ‘Song Exploder’ is that you can learn a lot about who an artist is by hearing them talk about the creative decisions they made, and why they made them, in the process of writing and producing a song. I wanted to hear those kinds of insights from authors that I love. And since I know my interviews on ‘Song Exploder’ are heavily shaped by my experience as a musician, I asked one of my favorite authors, Susan Orlean, to step in, and have these conversations with some of her favorite authors — her peers.”

In conversation with Orlean, authors on “Book Exploder will focus on one passage from one of their books, guiding listeners through a piece of their work while revealing the inspiration and creative process that went into it and the problems they had to solve to bring it to life. Through a close reading of each passage, guests will also discuss the specific choices they made about character, structure, and language. Each episode concludes with the author reading the passage they’ve been discussing.

Host Susan Orlean and titles that will be featured on “Book Exploder”

Susan Orlean said, “What could be more interesting than to talk to writers about how they have built their best sentences and stories? Digging in deep to the way writing happens — and along the way, getting to know these creators — is a delight. I love this way of looking at the creative process through a tight focus and a trained eye.”

The series launches with Orlean herself as a guest, in conversation with Hirway, discussing a passage from her acclaimed title, “The Library Book,” a “New York Times” bestseller. Additional episodes will feature iconic authors of fiction and nonfiction, including Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Cunningham (“The Hours”), National Book Award finalist Min Jin Lee (“Pachinko”), Man Booker Prize winner George Saunders (“Tenth of December”), Oprah’s Book Club author Tayari Jones (“An American Marriage”), #1 “New York Times” bestselling novelist Celeste Ng (“Little Fires Everywhere”), Lambda Literary Award-winning memoirist Carmen Maria Machado (“In the Dream House”), and National Book Award winner James McBride (“Deacon King Kong”).

“Book Exploder” is made possible by presenting sponsor Audible.

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About Hrishikesh Hirway

Hrishikesh Hirway is a musician and podcast creator. He is the host and creator of the “Song Exploder” podcast, and host and executive producer of the Netflix original series adaptation. Hrishikesh produced and co-hosted the award-winning podcasts “Home Cooking,” with chef and author Samin Nosrat as well as “The West Wing Weekly,” with actor Joshua Malina. He’s worked with Mailchimp as the creator and host of the podcast “Partners,” and as a creator and executive producer of the “The Jump with Shirley Manson.” He helped Google launch their first original podcast, serving as host and producer. As an artist and songwriter, he’s released four albums and three EPs, and he’s composed original scores for film, television, podcasts, and a video game. Hrishikesh is a frequent contributor, as a voice actor, to the children’s storytelling podcast “Circle Round.” He serves the Library of Congress as an advisor on digital strategy. In 2021, “Fast Company” named him one of the Most Creative People in Business and “Adweek” named him to their Creative 100 list, as an “innovator reshaping the media landscape.”

About Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at “The New Yorker” since 1992. She is the “New York Times” bestselling author of multiple books, including “The Library Book,” “Rin Tin Tin,” “On Animals,” “Saturday Night,” and “The Orchid Thief,” which was made into the Academy Award–winning film “Adaptation.” She lives with her family and her animals in Los Angeles and may be reached at and on Twitter @SusanOrlean.

About Radiotopia from PRX

Created in 2014, Radiotopia from PRX is today one of the most creative and successful podcast networks. Radiotopia has received recognition from the Peabody Awards, the duPont-Columbia Awards, the Tribeca Festival, and the Pulitzer Prizes, and is comprised of acclaimed titles such as “Song Exploder,” “Ear Hustle, “The Stoop,” “Radiotopia Presents: S***hole Country,” “The Memory Palace,” and “Passenger List.” Radiotopia has also been named one of the most innovative companies in media by “Fast Company” and in 2019 was named the network of the year by “Adweek.” Visit for more.



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