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Audio Recordings From Favorite Authors

Cassandra Neace

Staff Writer

Cassandra Neace is a high school English teacher in Houston. When she's not in the classroom, she reads books and writes about them. She prides herself on her ability to recommend a book for most any occasion. She can be found on Instagram @read_write_make

For many readers, getting to hear their favorite authors speak is a huge thrill.  It’s an amazing experience to get to see them live, but that just isn’t always a realistic option.  With current authors, we have things like Skype and Google Hangouts to close the gap. For those authors who are no longer with us, we don’t have a lot of options. Fortunately, we do have librarians, archivists, and scholars (amateur or otherwise) who are in possession of film and audio recordings from the last century.  Not only do they work to preserve these resources, but they see fit to share them with everyone via the Internet.  How cool is that? Here are a few notable recordings from some of the greatest authors of the last 100+ years.

Walt Whitman


A wax cylinder recording of the first four lines from the poem:

Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,
All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,
Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,
Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,
A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,
Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

Virginia Woolf


This is an excerpt from a 1937 BBC Radio interview, part of their “Words Fail Me” series.  The segment has been transcribed here.

F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is a recording of Fitzgerald reading a somewhat edited speech from Shakespeare’s Othello (Act 1, Scene 3).

Ernest Hemingway

A seemingly mildly intoxicated Hemingway introduces a captive audience to his latest novel, Across the River and Into the Trees. The recording is transcribed here.

Flannery O’Connor

“A Good Man is Hard to Find” 

 Part 2, Part 3, Full Audio Only, Full Text

“Some Aspects of the Grotesque in Southern Literature” (Full Text)

Both recordings appear to be from a 1957 visit to Notre Dame.

Pablo Neruda

“Poema 20” or “Puedo escribir los versos mas tristes esta noche…” 

There is no information regarding the date of recording available.  Here’s the full text of the poem in English.

We’re always on the lookout for gems like these. Do you have a favorite? Share the link below.