Community News

Changes to events and programs due to COVID-19

[UPDATE: March 26, 2020]

The May 7, 2020 Portland Art & Lectures presentation of Colson Whitehead has been rescheduled to 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


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.

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.