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Writer Joyce Johnson and Laurie Pepper on this edition of Fresh Air. Joyce Johnson talks about her relationship to Beat icon Jack Kerouac and her book, Door Wide Open: A Beat Love Affair in Letters, which is now out in paperback. In 1957, Johnson started a relationship with the then little-known writer Kerouac. Nine months later, Kerouac's Beat classic On the Road was published. Johnson will talk about her two-year, tumultuous love affair with Kerouac and how the publication of On the Road changed Kerouac.
Door Wide Open contains many letters sent to Johnson by Kerouac. In addition to Doors Wide Open, Johnson is also the author of three novels, including In the Night Cafi. Her memoir, Minor Characters, won the National Book Critics Circle award, and her work has been published in major magazines, including The New Yorker and Harper's.
Laurie Pepper is the wife of the late alto saxophonist Art Pepper, who died in 1982 and was considered to be the greatest alto saxophonist of the post-Charlie Parker generation. Laurie Pepper has just produced a box-set compilation of Art Pepper's music called Art Pepper: The Hollywood All-Star Sessions. Pepper's updated version of her husband's autobiography, Straight Life, was released in 1996 at the time of this interview. (Broadcast Date: June 15, 2001)