Scott Simon

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.

Simon's weekly show, Weekend Edition Saturday, has been called by the Washington Post, "the most literate, witty, moving, and just plain interesting news show on any dial," and by Brett Martin of Time-Out New York "the most eclectic, intelligent two hours of broadcasting on the airwaves." He has won every major award in broadcasting, including the Peabody, the Emmy, the Columbia-DuPont, the Ohio State Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award, and the Sidney Hillman Award. Simon received the Presidential End Hunger Award for his coverage of the Ethiopian civil war and famine, and a special citation from the Peabody Awards for his weekly essays, which were cited as "consistently thoughtful, graceful, and challenging." He has also received the Barry M. Goldwater Award from the Human Rights Fund. Recently, he was awarded the Studs Terkel Award.

Simon has hosted many television specials, including the PBS's "State of Mind," "Voices of Vision," and "Need to Know." "The Paterson Project" won a national Emmy, as did his two-hour special from the Rio earth summit meeting. He co-anchored PBS's "Millennium 2000" coverage in concert with the BBC, and has co-hosted the televised Columbia-DuPont Awards. He also became familiar to viewers in Great Britain as host of the continuing BBC series, "Eyewitness," and a special on the White House press corps. He has appeared as a guest and commentator on all major networks, including BBC, NBC, CNN, and ESPN.

Simon has contributed articles to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Sunday Times of London, The Guardian, and Gourmet among other publications, and won a James Beard Award for his story, "Conflict Cuisine" in Gourmet. He has received numerous honorary degrees.

Sports Illustrated called his book Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan "extraordinary...uniformly superb...a memoir of such breadth and reach that it compares favorably with Fredrick Exley's A Fan's Notes." It was at the top of several non-fiction bestseller lists. His book, and Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball, was Barnes and Nobles' Sports Book of the Year. His novel, Pretty Birds, the story of two teenage girls in Sarajevo during the siege, received rave reviews, Scott Turow calling it, "the most auspicious fiction debut by a journalist of note since Tom Wolfe's. . . always gripping, always tender, and often painfully funny. It is a marvel of technical finesse, close observation, and a perfectly pitched heart." Windy City, Simon's second novel, is a political comedy set in the Chicago City Council. Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other, an essay about the joys of adoption, was published in August 2010.

Simon's tweets to his 1.25 million Twitter followers from his mother's bedside in the summer of 2013 gathered major media attention around the world. He is completing a book on their last week together that will appear in time for Mother's Day 2015.

Simon is a native of Chicago and the son of comedian Ernie Simon and Patricia Lyons Simon. His hobbies are books, theater, ballet, British comedy, Mexican cooking and "bleeding for the Chicago Cubs." He appeared as Mother Ginger in the Ballet Austin production of The Nutcracker.

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Simon Says
5:56 am
Sat March 28, 2015

At Last, A Fitting Farewell For Richard III

White roses adorn the statue of Richard III outside Leicester Cathedral before the reinterment ceremony of King Richard III.
WPA Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 28, 2015 10:56 am

Richard III was buried this week, two years after his abandoned bones were certified to be under a modern-day car park, and 530 years after he was the last English king to die in battle on English soil.

If you look past all the dukedoms and earldoms, the dust-up between the Houses of York and Lancaster called the War of the Roses doesn't sound dramatically different from a mob movie: thwacks, whacks, hanky-panky and blood.

Shakespeare just put that with more elegance.

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Simon Says
5:35 am
Sat March 21, 2015

Might A Brush With Death Set The Stage For Greatness?

Martin Luther King Jr., with his wife, Coretta, at a Harlem hospital after he was stabbed by Izola Ware Curry in 1958.
AP

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 10:56 am

A name from the small print of history died this week.

Izola Ware Curry was 98. She died in a nursing home in Queens in New York City. In September 1958, Dr. Martin Luther King was signing books in a Harlem department store when Izola Curry stabbed him with a letter opener.

The tip of the blade touched his aorta. A surgeon later told Dr. King that he would have died if he had sneezed before they could operate.

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Simon Says
5:30 am
Sat March 14, 2015

Seven Decades On, Anne Frank's Words Still Comfort

Anne Frank poses in 1941.
Frans Dupont AP

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 5:20 pm

A 15-year-old girl named Anne Frank died 70 years ago this week; the exact day is unknown. She died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, not long after her sister Margot, who was 19.

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Simon Says
6:10 am
Sat February 28, 2015

Rats Blamed For Bubonic Plague, But Gerbils May Be The Real Villains

Gerbils are harmless... Right?
Peter Knight Flickr

Originally published on Sat February 28, 2015 10:40 am

Rats have a bad rap. They have for centuries. Ever since the middle of the 14th century when the Black Plague descended over Europe.

Rats took the rap for spreading the bubonic plague, which killed millions of people over the next 400 years. It has long been believed that swarms of rats spread the disease when fleas flew from their feverish, infected, furry little bodies and bit into thin-skinned humans.

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Simon Says
8:56 am
Sat February 21, 2015

The Heavy Moral Weight Of Carnegie Mellon's 800 Botched Acceptances

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 9:20 am

A lot of people saw their hopes and dreams fulfilled this week — for just a few hours.

Carnegie Mellon University emailed about 800 people who had applied to graduate school to say, 'Congratulations, you're in.' They were — to quote the message of acceptance — "one of the select few" to be accepted into Carnegie Mellon's prestigious Master of Science in Computer Science program.

A young woman in India who was accepted wrote on Facebook that she quit her job, bolstered by this act of faith in her future. Her boyfriend proposed marriage.

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Simon Says
7:12 am
Sat February 14, 2015

'Do Not Fear For Me': Remembering Kayla Mueller With Her Own Words

A woman kneels near a makeshift memorial for Kayla Mueller in Prescott, Ariz.
Brian Skoloff AP

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 10:15 am

It has been wrenching these last few weeks to hear about the hostages killed by the group that calls itself the Islamic State, and learn about the extraordinary people we have lost: humanitarian workers, independent journalists, people who chose to put themselves in one of the most dangerous spots on earth in hope that they might do something needed and good.

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Simon Says
7:56 am
Sat February 7, 2015

Oscar Romero, The Murdered Archbishop Who Inspires The Pope

People look at a portrait of Oscar Romero at the cathedral of San Salvador, where as archbishop he resisted a brutal regime. He was murdered and the Vatican has declared him a martyr.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 11:19 am

Pope Francis and the Vatican have recognized Oscar Romero as a martyr. This may move the name of the late archbishop of San Salvador a little further in the process that could one day make him a saint.

But being deemed a martyr is also holy. It means the church believes his life can inspire people; Pope Francis has said Romero inspires him.

Romero was considered a kindly, orthodox conservative parish priest when Pope Paul appointed him archbishop in 1977. He did not question El Salvador's ruling regime.

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Simon Says
7:37 am
Sat January 31, 2015

It May Take A British Actor To Make An American Story Sing

British actor Idris Elba played Stringer Bell, second-in-command to Baltimore drug kingpin Avon Barksdale, in HBO's The Wire.
Alberto E. Rodriguez Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 1:20 pm

Martin Luther King Jr. is British. Coretta Scott King, too. So is Lyndon Baines Johnson, Superman, Batman, the last Abraham Lincoln, the ramrod U.S. Marine, and the chisel-chested CIA operative in Homeland, and many of the B'almer cops and hoods on The Wire. So are Philip on The Americans, Eli on The Good Wife, and both of those stealthily adulterous Americans on The Affair.

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Remembrances
7:35 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Rod McKuen, The Cheeseburger To Poetry's Haute Cuisine

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 1:14 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Simon Says
9:05 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Let's Play Two! Remembering Chicago Cub Ernie Banks

Chicago Cub Ernie Banks, right, told NPR's Scott Simon, left, in 2014 that he had a lot of fun winning games, but the main thing in his life was "making friends."
Peter Breslow NPR

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 12:00 pm

Every Saturday just before our show begins I get on the public address system here to announce to our crew, "It's a beautiful day for a radio show. Let's do two today!"

It's an admiring imitation of Ernie Banks, the Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame baseball player who died last night at the age of 83. Ernie used to say, especially in the long years of hot summers — including this last one, when the Cubs were stuck in last place — "It's a beautiful day for a ballgame. Let's play two today!"

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Music
8:44 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Rainy Day Women Ages 55 And Up: Bob Dylan Makes Cover Of AARP Magazine

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 12:00 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The times they are a-changin'. But should you ever doubt that, the cover and featured interview in the next issue of the AARP Magazine will be Bob Dylan.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOREVER YOUNG")

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Media
8:44 am
Sat January 24, 2015

From A Frequent Flier To SkyMall, Thanks For The Memory Foams

Originally published on Sat January 24, 2015 12:08 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Animals
7:41 am
Sat January 17, 2015

Are Stripes A Zebra's Cooling System?

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 11:57 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Simon Says
6:14 am
Sat January 17, 2015

Remembering Al Bendich, Fierce Defender Of Free Speech

Comedian Lenny Bruce, following one of his arrests.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 11:57 am

When Alan Ginsberg wrote, "I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked" in 1955, his poem "Howl" wasn't immediately acclaimed a masterpiece. Some people read the explicit parts and said it was mere porn.

Shig Murao, a clerk at City Lights Bookstore, was arrested when he sold a copy of Howl and Other Poems to an undercover San Francisco policeman. Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who published the book, was arrested, too; the men were tried for obscenity.

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Strange News
10:14 am
Sat January 10, 2015

The Plan To Report The End Of The World

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 11:31 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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Simon Says
7:50 am
Sat January 10, 2015

Satire May Be Uncomfortable, But Humor Makes Us Human

A man holds a pencil in the air during a minute of silence in Paris on Thursday for the cartoonists and other victims of gunmen on the offices of French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Matthieu Alexandre AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 11:31 am

Satire is a tricky business. The punch lines quickly get stale. The same people who laugh at one joke can get offended by the next.

But this week, with the targeted killings of the cartoon satirists of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, we were reminded how dangerous people with no sense of humor can be.

The Onion ran a headline: "It is Sadly Unclear Whether This Article Will Put Lives At Risk."

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Simon Says
10:56 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Despite Its Beauty, Cuba Isn't Quite Ready For Tourists

In 1959, Fidel Castro imposed a law forbidding the import of foreign cars, so many Cubans drive and maintain older models.
Kate Skogen JetKat Photo

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 11:39 am

I've always had a good time in Cuba. The people are friendly and funny, the rum is smooth, the music intoxicating and the beaches wide, white and soft.

But you're accompanied everywhere by government minders. They call them responsables. Any Cuban you interview knows your microphone might as well run straight to their government.

If you want to talk to someone with a different view, you have to slip out of your hotel in the middle of the night without your minder — though dissidents say other security people follow you.

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Simon Says
8:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Outrage Over Chinese Takeout Brings To Mind A Maxim

Ben Edelman told boston.com the food he ordered was "delicious."
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 2:21 pm

"There's a Harvard man on the wrong side of every question," and this week that man may have been Ben Edelman, an associate professor at Harvard Business School.

Edelman, a Harvard Ph.D and lawyer, has been called the Sheriff of the Internet for pursuing companies he believes have committed online fraud.

Edelman ordered take-out from Sichuan Garden, a family-run restaurant in Brookline: sauteed prawns, stir-fried chicken, braised fish, napa cabbage with roasted chili, and shredded chicken with garlic sauce.

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Simon Says
5:42 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Helmets Aren't Always Enough To Keep Players Safe

Cricketer Phillip Hughes celebrates a score in 2011. Hughes was wearing a helmet this week when a ball struck him on the neck and killed him.
Eranga Jayawardena AP

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 12:05 pm

Australian cricket player Phillip Hughes died this week in Sydney after he was struck on the back of the neck by a bounced pitch that's an ordinary and routine part of cricket.

Mr. Hughes was 25, an accomplished and admired player. There's been an outpouring of grief in Australia and around the world over his death. Cricket fans from India and Pakistan to New Zealand have observed a minute of silence before a match, and worn black armbands. Cricket fans have put out cricket bats in tribute. Rory McIlroy, the great Irish golfer, played with a black ribbon in his cap.

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Simon Says
5:48 am
Sat November 22, 2014

Remembering 'Comic Meteor' Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols was born Michael Igor Peschkowsky. He could barely speak English when he arrived in the U.S. at age 7.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 22, 2014 3:24 pm

There are just a few words in the last four minutes of Mike Nichols' 1967 film, The Graduate.

"Elaine! Ben! It's too late! Not for me..."

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