Ari Shapiro

Michael Scott Moore is a journalist who traveled to Somalia to write a book about the history of piracy in the Horn of Africa. It did not go as planned.

The title of his new book tells you what happened. It's called The Desert and the Sea: 977 Days Captive on the Somali Pirate Coast.

Moore's ordeal began just after he dropped off a colleague at a small airport in Somalia. As he was heading back into town, his car came upon a truck full of armed men.

Music and politics have always been intertwined, from "Yankee Doodle" to "A Change is Gonna Come." And that's true in Zimbabwe, too — a country that is now facing a historic political transition.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

I'm Ari Shapiro on Capitol Hill, where Senator Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, started the day trying to make a strong statement about the Senate's position on Russian interference in the 2016 elections.

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Most media outlets in Zimbabwe are state-run, and working as an independent journalist under Robert Mugabe came with serious risks. NPR's Ari Shapiro talks with Dumisani Muleya, editor-in-chief of The Zimbabwe Independent, about his hopes as a journalist now that Mugabe is out of power.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Hi, Ailsa.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Hey, Ari.

SHAPIRO: You know I was just on this big reporting trip in Zimbabwe.

CHANG: Yes. You came back very tan.

SHAPIRO: (Laughter) Nobody can hear my tan on the radio.

CHANG: (Laughter).

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Savanna Madamombe's life is very different than it was a year ago.

Originally from just outside Zimbabwe's capital Harare, Madamombe moved to Manhattan in 2000, where she worked in hotels and restaurants — and watched from afar as her country slowly crumbled under the authoritarian rule of President Robert Mugabe. She felt helpless, like she didn't even recognize Zimbabwe anymore.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The Band's Visit is a Broadway musical that tells the story of human connection and commonality between cultures. When an Egyptian police band gets stranded in a tiny Israeli town, the musicians wait in a cafe — and get to talking with the locals.

The plot is simple and the set modest, but since its debut on Broadway in late 2017, the show has become the surprise smash hit of the season. Now, the musical is nominated for 11 Tony Awards, including best musical, ahead of Sunday's award ceremony.

"Florida in the summer is a slow hot drowning." That's one way Lauren Groff describes the state in her new collection of short stories. In another part of the book, she calls Florida "a damp, dense tangle. An Eden of dangerous things." Why Florida? "I've lived here for 12 years and it's still so alien and fecund and steamy and strange to me," she says. "Reptilian, dangerous, teeming — I mean, there are so many things that you could call Florida."


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On the dangers of Florida

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