Saul Bellow
University of Chicago Photographic Archive
Saul Bellow

Newly-launched ‘Brattleboro Words Trail Podcast’ releases new episode on author Saul Bellow

BRATTLEBORO — The Brattleboro Words Project announced that a special July episode of the newly launched Brattleboro Words Trail Podcast features insights into author Saul Bellow and his connection to Vermont, including exclusive interviews with his biographer and editor, to honor the famed writer's birthday and the love he had for Green Mountain summers.

Bellow lived and wrote for nearly the last third of his life near Brattleboro part-time and is buried in the town cemetery. Nobel Literature laureate, Pulitzer Prize winner, and the only writer to win three National Book Awards for fiction, Bellow helped launch the first Brattleboro Literary Festival in 2002 and generally enhanced the strong literary identity of southeastern Vermont.

The episode, "Saul Bellow's Good Place," features exclusive interviews with Bellow biographer Professor Emeritus Zachary Leader of Roehampton University in London, observations of local friend Larry Simons, and a special 15-minute bonus episode with Beena Kamlani, Bellow's longtime editor at Viking Penguin Press on working with Bellow in Vermont.

The best part is hearing Bellow himself comment on the writing process and reading from his work.

"One of the things that I was always persuaded of as a writer, was that you had to give some happiness to the people who were reading your books. It didn't have to be frivolous happiness, you might be writing about a murder, but still some kind of delight. And I took it as an obligation." Bellow says in archival tape from a 1986 talk at Howard Community College (used by permission of HoCoPoLitSo, the Howard County Poetry and Literature Society, in the episode).

The podcast is free on Apple, Google, Spotify, Amazon, and other places people typically find podcasts.

Saul Bellow's Good Place can be listened to at, and Bellow editor Beena Kumlani's A Race Against Time bonus audio can be heard at

The Brattleboro Words Trail Podcast launched on May 1, 2023, to enhance the reach of the community-created audio stories currently available in place-tagged segments on the GPS-triggered Brattleboro Words Trail.

Visitors can download the free Brattleboro Words Trail app, grab a free map at locations downtown, and walk, bike, or drive to the sites associated with the people, writing and "all things words" that makes Brattleboro a unique literary destination.

Organizers say while use of the app is growing, they want to highlight the wealth of story content on the Trail to a worldwide audience by creating a podcast.

"Some of the people and stories on the Trail really stand out as of interest to a much wider audience only a podcast format can provide," host and Executive Producer Lissa Weinmann explained. "Some of these longer stories were separated on the Brattleboro Words Trail app as five-to seven-minute segments to facilitate listening on the go. We've re-assembled and updated them to create a longer form listening experience."

Weinmann, who lives in Brattleboro, works with engineering support from Alec Pombriant and original mixes mastered by Guilford Sound. The Bellow episode was produced and narrated by Donna Blackney with help from Sandy Rouse of the Brattleboro Literary Festival.

The first of the monthly episodes focused on the story of Brattleboro's own Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams. In June, Guilford-based author and inequality activist Chuck Collins was featured. Others expected to be featured in the months ahead include area personalities Andrew Kopkind (first openly gay syndicated radio show), Clarina Howard Nichols (early newspaper editor and feminist), Rudyard Kipling (famed author of The Jungle Book), John Kenneth Galbraith (author and economist), John Humphrey Noyes (founder of the Oneida Community) and others.

Organizers plan to feature visiting hosts and guests associated with the different stories in the months ahead as new content is created.

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