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Aspen Public Radio is proud to present select lectures, discussions, and conversations from area events and festivals, thanks to a remarkable collection of community partners. Click here to view the full archive. Events are recorded at no cost to the partner and archived here online; select recordings are broadcast on Aspen Public Radio Sunday nights at 7 p.m.

Aspen Words Winter Words: Patrick Radden Keefe

Philip Montgomery

This event was recorded on January 9, 2023 at the Aspen Institute, as part of the 2023 Winter Words series, in partnership with Aspen Public Radio.


Patrick Radden Keefe is an award-winning staff writer at The New Yorker magazine and author of the New York Times bestsellers “Empire of Pain” and “Say Nothing,” as well as two earlier nonfiction books: “The Snakehead” and “Chatter.” His most recent book is “Rogues: True Stories of Grifters, Killers, Rebels and Crooks.”

Patrick started contributing to The New Yorker in 2006. He received the National Magazine Award for Feature Writing in 2014. “Say Nothing” received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, as well as the Orwell Prize for Political Writing, and was selected by Entertainment Weekly as one of the “10 Best Nonfiction Books of the Decade.” “Empire of Pain” was awarded the Baillie Gifford Prize for Nonfiction and was a finalist for the FT Business Book of the Year.

He is also the writer and host of Wind of Change, an 8-part podcast series, which investigates the strange convergence of espionage and heavy metal music during the Cold War, and was named the #1 podcast of 2020 by The Guardian.

Patrick grew up in Dorchester, Massachusetts and went to college at Columbia. He received masters degrees from Cambridge University and the London School of Economics, and a law degree from Yale. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, and fellowships from the New America Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

He lives in New York.


Mitzi Rapkin is the host and producer of the literary podcast, First Draft: A Dialogue on Writing. For the last eight years, Mitzi has read a book a week and interviewed the author. First Draft features fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and essay writers. With a specific focus on craft, Rapkin and her guests explore the decisions and psychology that went into the book being discussed, the themes of a writer’s work, and questions focused on the human experience. George Saunders said Rapkin “is one of the most talented and passionate interviewers in the world. What makes her great is her precision and her genuine curiosity, which transforms the interview into an urgent conversation. The time flies by, and I always learn something new about my own work.”