WCSU

Colin Dwyer

For more than four decades, Jonathan Demme threaded a diverse path through the film industry — beginning as a publicist, filming everything from documentaries to comedic sendups, and finally earning the status of Oscar-winning elder statesman. He was 73.

The director died Wednesday in Manhattan from complications of esophageal cancer. His publicist, 42 West, confirmed Demme's death to NPR.

Demme made films such as The Silence of the Lambs and Stop Making Sense that have helped define their respective genres.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Al Jarreau, a versatile vocalist who defied categorization for decades, died Sunday morning at the age of 76. Earlier this week, Jarreau had been hospitalized in Los Angeles "due to exhaustion," according to his official Facebook page.

After three quarters, this game looked for all the world like a rout by the Atlanta Falcons. They were up 28-9. Their quarterback Matt Ryan, who just won the regular season MVP on Saturday night, was playing like an unstoppable Super Bowl MVP, too.

Then, something unbelievable happened: The New England Patriots came back.

Rio was good to Usain Bolt.

The record-setting sprinter left the 2016 Summer Games with more than just three Olympic golds in hand; he also had a place etched into history as the first athlete to complete a "triple-triple" — or victories in all three major sprint events in three consecutive Olympics.

It turns out Beijing, however, has not been so kind.

Just days from the end of her tenure, Loretta Lynch took the stage Sunday at a historic Baptist church in Birmingham, Ala., to deliver her final planned speech as U.S. attorney general.

"We can't take progress for granted," Lynch told the congregation. "We have to work. There's no doubt that we still have a way to go — a long way to go."

Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET

At a gala ceremony in New York City, the 67th National Book Awards gathered many of literature's leading lights in celebration of just a few authors: Colson Whitehead, who won in the fiction category; Ibram X. Kendi, in nonfiction; Daniel Borzutzky, in poetry; and Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell in young people's literature.

Say one thing for certain: The lists don't lack for leading lights.

When President Obama doled out the 2015 National Medals of Arts and National Humanities Medals on Thursday, plenty of the artists and arts patrons he draped with awards had familiar names — including Mel Brooks, Morgan Freeman, Terry Gross and nearly two dozen others.

The National Book Foundation announced Wednesday that it will soon have a new leader at the helm. Lisa Lucas, the 36-year-old publisher of Guernica magazine, is set to become only the third executive director in the history of the foundation, which oversees the annual National Book Awards.

If you've opened a novel by Patrick DeWitt before, it ought to come as no surprise to find that a pivotal scene in his new one hinges on acts unprintable. That is, at least, as far as NPR's family-friendly website is concerned. If you haven't yet cracked one of his books, suffice to say the scene I'm referring to boasts violence, sloppy nudity, acts of lewdness — and one piece of cylindrical lunchmeat, alarmingly misused.

Pages