Standing on the Atlantic side of the Florida keys, a sailor asked long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad to stick her tongue out, and report the taste. “We definitely tasted something grainy, crunchy, you know…” Nyad assumed it was salt, and told the sailor as much. She was corrected: “No. It is the Sahara dust,” she was told, sand grains that had blown from Africa clear across the ocean.
Lauren Redniss weaves Nyad’s story into her new book Thunder and Lighting, a spellbinding mix of visual art, science and history that beautifully articulates the many dimensions of weather. She uses the Saharan dust crossing the Atlantic as a means to explain global wind patterns, those that jets fly along and temper local climates. Within the section on wind alone we get Nyad alongside Herman Hesse and Raymond Chandler, a bit of Greek Mythology, and the tale of a geoengineer working to use wind to cool the Grand Mosque at Mecca.
Genre blending, time jumping and scientific speculation are all fair game here. We at Wordstock are excited to host a lunchtime conversation on nontraditional storytelling with Lauren Redniss, a joint collaboration with Tin House Books deemed “Unconventional History: Past, Present and Future.” The talk will include Luc Sante and Zach Dundas, both of whom tell unexpected stories about places and people we think we know. Later in the afternoon we will host an exciting conversation between Diana Nyad and Cheryl Strayed, where Nyad will discuss her new memoir, the chronicle of an unwavering spirit in the face of seemingly great natural barriers.
2019 Oregon Book Awards Ceremony
April 22, 2019
Join Literary Arts’ annual celebration of the state’s most accomplished writers in…
PDX JAZZ: The Resilience of Jazz
April 24, 2019
Join PDX Jazz for a lecture in their Discover Jazz series. The…
April 25, 2019
Celebrate Portland’s youth poets during our eighth annual Verselandia! poetry slam. Students…
One Page Wednesday
May 1, 2019
Writers, escape the solitude of your desk. Readers, come hear great fresh…
Oregon Book Awards Author Tour: Newport
May 5, 2019
An afternoon of reading and conversation with three Oregon Book Awards authors:…
Ooligan Press Writers of Color Spring Showcase
May 22, 2019
Literary Arts and Ooligan Press (part of Portland State’s graduate program in…