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  • Box Office
Community News

Changes to events and programs due to COVID-19

[UPDATE: August 20, 2021]
Literary Arts will require proof of vaccination at all in-person classes and events through the end of 2021. Read the full policy here.

[UPDATE: April 2, 2021]
All of our classes and events will remain virtual through at least September 1, 2021 and we will be updating you in the summer about our plans for the fall.

UPDATE: October 30, 2020]
Literary Arts’ programming will remain virtual through May 31, 2021. Read more.

[UPDATE: July 29, 2020]
Literary Arts has made the decision to not host any in-person events through the end of 2020. Click here to see what this means for the programs you love.

[UPDATE: July 27, 2020]
Colson Whitehead will not be traveling in person to Portland this season. Rather than wait until 2022 for an in-person event, we have decided to make this event virtual. It will take place on Thursday, September 24, 2020. Please note, this is the final lecture of the 2019/20 Portland Arts & Lectures season, which is sold out.

[UPDATE: June 22, 2020]
2020 Oregon Book Awards reimagined as a radio broadcast. Hear the recording of our statewide broadcast on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

[UPDATE: June 18, 2020]
#Virtualandia: Reimagining Youth Programs’ Biggest Event. Blog post by Youth Programs.

[UPDATE: May, 28, 2020]
College Essay Mentoring Goes Online. Blog post by Youth Programs.

[UPDATE: May 14, 2020]
Writers in the Schools Goes Virtual: Pivoting to the Distance Learning Model. Blog post by Interim Director of Youth Programs, Emilly Prado.

[UPDATE: May 13, 2020]
Due to the ongoing public health crisis, we will not be hosting our 33rd Annual Oregon Book Awards Ceremony at Portland Center Stage at The Armory on June 22. However, we are excited to announce that the Oregon Book Awards Ceremony will take place in a different format, thanks to a partnership with OPB. Listen to a special episode of The Archive Project at 7:00 p.m. on June 22, where we will celebrate the finalists and announce the winners.

[UPDATE: April 29, 2020]
Literary Arts has allocated a significant amount from our Brian Booth Writers’ Fund to create the Literary Arts Booth Emergency Fund for Writers. This emergency fund is designed to provide meaningful financial relief to Oregon’s writers, including cartoonists, spoken word poets, and playwrights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting communities of color. Literary Arts is prioritizing funding for writers identifying as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who meet the eligibility criteria.

[UPDATE: April 15, 2020]

While we had held out hope to move the event to a later date, due to schools being closed through the end of the school year, the 2020 Verselandia! Youth Poetry Slam event will no longer be taking place.

We will still provide a creative outlet and sense of community for students by hiring local slam poets and WITS writers to record poetry lessons covering a wide range of topics including writing, performance, and the history of slam. Participating students will then have the opportunity to to receive individualized feedback on written or recorded poems, and final projects will be compiled into a cohesive online collection of student work. Students will be encouraged to post their work on social media using the hashtag #Virtualandia which we invite you to check on as content progresses. More information can be found here.

If you purchased a ticket to the live event, we can you provide you a receipt for a tax-deductible donation to Literary Arts Youth Programs. If you prefer a refund on your ticket purchase, please call the TicketsWest Box Office at 800-273-1530. We will be happy to honor all refund requests received until May 7, 2020.

[UPDATE: March 31, 2020]

All writing classes and Delve Readers Seminars taking place in April and May have been moved online or have been postponed for later dates. Other events previously held at the Literary Arts space downtown will also be moved online.

[UPDATE: March 26, 2020]

The May 7, 2020 Portland Art & Lectures presentation of Colson Whitehead has been rescheduled to next spring: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 7:30pm at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. If you have tickets to this event, please hold on to them. They will work for entry on this rescheduled date, with seating information remaining the same.

[UPDATE: March 20, 2020]

The Oregon Book Awards Ceremony has been moved to June 22, 2020. If you have already purchased tickets to the event, please hold on to them. They will work for entry on this rescheduled date.

March 16, 2020
A message to our community

Dear Friends,

I hope this finds you, your families, friends, and colleagues healthy and safe.

Yesterday, we made the decision to require our staff to work remotely as part of our response to the COVID-19 virus. In addition, all seminars, workshops, and events that were scheduled during the next four weeks at Literary Arts’ headquarters will either take place online, be postponed, or have been cancelled.  

We are carefully monitoring the health authorities and will act in accordance with all recommendations and policies. We are waiting to make a decision as to whether we will need to postpone, move online, or cancel Verselandia, the Oregon Book Awards Ceremony, and the final installment of The Portland Arts & Lectures season, an Evening with Colson Whitehead. Our first priority will be the health and welfare of our community.

Literature has always been an important resource during challenging or frightening times. It has also been a salve in times of isolation. I invite you all to turn to the books which have been the most important in your life for support. You can also continue to engage with the Literary Arts community via social media and, of course, by listening to our radio show and podcast, The Archive ProjectSome of the greatest moments in our history—from many years ago to just last month—can be found there.

We look forward to the conclusion of this challenging moment, when we can once again open wide the doors of our office and event space, the concert hall, and other venues, welcoming you back in. Until then Literary Arts’ staff is hard at work ensuring that this organization will continue to serve this community for many years to come. 

With my very best wishes,

Andrew Proctor,
Executive Director
Literary Arts

[UPDATE: MARCH 13, 2020]

Like you, we are closely monitoring daily changes occurring in our community due to COVID-19. At this time, Governor Brown has prohibited public gatherings in Oregon for four weeks beginning March 12. As East Side Slam, Verselandia!, the Oregon Book Awards Ceremony, and Portland Arts & Lectures: Colson Whitehead fall outside that window they will, at this time, be going ahead as planned.

We understand this is a rapidly evolving situation and we will communicate any changes as soon as we are able. We are immensely grateful for your support of Literary Arts, our writers, our youth, and the literary community during this extremely difficult time.

[UPDATE: MARCH 12, 2020]
Last night, Governor Kate Brown banned public gatherings of 250 or more for four weeks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Oregon. While this ban does not encompass our currently scheduled large events on April 16, April 27, and April 30, we are actively monitoring this rapidly evolving situation and discussing contingency plans in case this ban is extended or public health guidelines change. 


Literary Arts works hard to provide safe and welcoming spaces for our community. We are carefully monitoring local, state, and national public health guidance related to COVID-19. More information can be found here:

Multnomah County Health Department

Oregon Health Authority

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

At this time there is no public health recommendation in the Portland metro region to cancel or postpone gatherings or special events because of COVID-19. We are aware this is a rapidly evolving situation and any decisions made will be in accordance with public health guidelines. Until then, our office remains open and classes, readings, and other events are going ahead as planned.

These everyday actions are still the best way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses like colds and flu. We encourage our staff and volunteers to be vigilant about these preventative actions to take care of themselves, each other, and the wider community.

We will continue to update this page as the situation evolves.

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