2014/2015 Portland Arts & Lectures Season
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Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 7:30 PM
James McBride won the National Book Award in 2013 for his third novel, The Good Lord Bird. Ann Patchett calls the book “the most electric, provocative, and funny (I mean really funny) book I’ve read in years.” McBride is also the author of the bestselling memoir The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother and his first novel, Miracle at St. Anna, was adapted for the screen in a movie directed by Spike Lee. An accomplished musician and composer, McBride has also toured as a saxophone player and written songs for Anita Baker and Grover Washington, Jr. He is currently a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University.
Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 7:30 PM
Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1999; before that, she was a reporter for The New York Times. Her article on climate change, “The Climate of Man,” won a National Magazine Award and was the basis for her book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe (2006). Her most recent book is The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014) which Michiko Kakutani says “is the very model of explanatory journalism, making highly complex theories and hypotheses accessible to even the most science-challenged of readers, while providing a wonderfully tactile sense of endangered (or already departed) species and their shrinking habitats.”
Thursday, January 15, 2015 at 7:30 PM
Bestselling author Michael Chabon published his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), when he was twenty-five. His second novel, The Wonder Boys (1995), was made into a film starring Michael Douglas, and his third book, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), won the Pulitzer Prize. His other books include The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, and his most recent novel, Telegraph Avenue. Jennifer Egan says, “Chabon has made a career of routing big, ambitious projects through popular genres, with superlative results.”
Thursday, February 19, 2015 at 7:30 PM
Ruth Ozeki is a novelist, filmmaker, and Zen Buddhist priest. Her most recent novel, A Tale for the Time Being (2013), was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle. Elizabeth Gilbert calls it “a beautifully interwoven novel about magic and loss and the incomprehensible threads that connect our lives,” and Junot Diaz says, “Ozeki is one of my favorite novelists and here she is at her absolute best—bewitching, intelligent, hilarious, and heartbreaking, often on the same page.” Her other novels are My Year of Meats (1998) and All Over Creation (2003), which Michael Pollan called a “smart and compelling novel about a world we don’t realize we live in.” Her independent films have been shown at Sundance and other festivals.
Thursday, April 23, 2015 at 7:30 PM
Katherine Boo is an investigative journalist and author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (2012), winner of the National Book Award. Janet Maslin calls Boo “one of those rare, deep-digging journalists who can make truth surpass fiction, a documentarian with a superb sense of human drama.” She has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003. Before that she was a reporter for the Washington Post. She’s been awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service and a MacArthur Genius Grant. Boo herself says, “Very little journalism is world changing. But if change is to happen, it will be because people with power have a better sense of what’s happening to people who have none.”