Events, Readers

Oregon Writers at #PDXBookFest 2020

Celebrate Oregon Writers at this year’s virtual Portland Book Festival, presented by Bank of America.

Mark your calendar for these events featuring Oregon writers! Be sure to register at PDXBookFest.org to catch these FREE live-streamed events, and RSVP at the event pages below.

Souvankham Thammavongsa and Lidia Yuknavitch

BODY OF WORK: SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA & LIDIA YUKNAVITCH

Thu, November 5 at 12:00 p.m. PST

The landscape of Oregon Book Award winner Lidia Yuknavitch’s story collection, Verge, is peopled with characters who are innocent and imperfect, wise and endangered: an eight-year-old black-market medical courier, a restless lover haunted by memories of his mother, a teenage girl gazing out her attic window at a nearby prison, all of them wounded but grasping toward transcendence. Clear-eyed yet inspiring, Verge challenges us with moments of uncomfortable truth, even as it urges us to place our faith not in the flimsy guardrails of society but in the memories held—and told—by our own individual bodies.

A vertiginous and revelatory book whose characters—sometimes in desperate situations, and sometimes, finally, in a place of safety—have much to say about the world that we live in now. Lidia Yuknavitch is astonishing.

Kelly Link

SEEKING SALVATION: CHELSEA BIEKER & KELLI JO FORD

Thu, November 5 at 2:00 p.m. PST

Two novels about generations of women trying to survive in inhospitable places, examining what we inherit and what we must leave behind. Moderated by Kesha Ajose Fisher, winner of the 2020 Oregon Book Award in Fiction for No God Like the Mother. Possessed of an unstoppable plot and a brilliantly soulful voice, Godshot, from Oregon writer Chelsea Bieker, is a book of grit and humor and heart, a debut novel about female friendship and resilience, mother-loss and motherhood, and seeking salvation in unexpected places. It introduces a writer who gives Flannery O’Connor’s Gothic parables a Californian twist and who emerges with a miracle that is all her own.

[Godshot is an] absolute masterpiece . . . Imagine if Annie Proulx wrote something like White Oleander crossed with Geek Love or Cruddy, and then add cults, God, motherhood, girlhood, class, deserts, witches, the divinity of women . . . Terrifying, resplendent, and profoundly moving, this book will leave you changed.

T Kira Madden, author of Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls
Genevieve Hudson and C Pam Zhang

AMERICAN TALES: GENEVIEVE HUDSON & C PAM ZHANG

Fri, November 6 at 15:00 p.m. PST

A not-to-be-missed discussion featuring two of the most exciting debut novels of 2020. In Genevieve Hudson’s bewitching debut novel, Boys of Alabamaa sensitive teen, newly arrived in Alabama, falls in love, questions his faith, and navigates a strange power. While his German parents don’t know what to make of a South pining for the past, shy Max thrives in the thick heat. Taken in by the football team, he learns how to catch a spiraling ball, how to point a gun, and how to hide his innermost secrets. Boys of Alabama becomes a nuanced portrait of masculinity, religion, immigration, and the adolescent pressures that require total conformity.

Boys of Alabama perfectly captures the magic and inevitable heartache of young lust.

Kimberly King Parsons, author of Black Light

ON THE EDGES: LYSLEY TENORIO & VANESSA VESELKA

Tue, November 10 at 2:30 p.m. PST

Explorations of inheritances and mythologies—national, familial, personal—animate these stories of journeys, as these characters seek answers after family secrets are revealed. Vanessa Veselka’s The Great Offshore Grounds, longlisted for the National Book Award in Fiction, moves from Seattle’s underground to the docks of the Far North, from the hideaways of the southern swamps to the storied reaches of the Great Offshore Grounds, as a pair of half sisters and their adopted brother set of on journeys that will test their faith in one another, and their definitions of freedom.

I immediately fell in love with the phenomenal sisters at the heart of Vanessa Veselka’s supernova of a new novel, The Great Offshore Grounds. This novel is thrilling in its content, daring in heart, and makes a helix between a novel of ideas and the best damn story of women who forge their identities on their own terms that I’ve read in years.

Lidia Yuknavitch, author of Verge
Nate Marshall and Jennifer Perrine

RE:DEFINITION: NATE MARSHALL & JENNIFER PERRINE

Thu, November 12 at 12:30 p.m. PST

2019 Oregon Literary Fellowship recipient Jennifer Perrine’s Again riffs on common words—tremendous, terrific, disaster, wall, ban—that have been overused and misused in recent years, made to carry the weight of disturbing connotations. In poems that speak through both a collective voice and a singular, personal one, Again maps the emotional territories of this specific—but not unique—moment in United States history, tracing a path through this surreal landscape, illuminating a terrain of disorientation, grief, and shame at the America we have made. Moderated by Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani (In the Pockets of Small Gods).

In this stunning indictment of American culture, the poet brings considerable talents to bear on making us achingly aware of the ingrained injustice in our society. Jennifer Perrine summons poetry’s powerful devices to tell us the brutal truth.

Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita

HOW I BUILT THIS: GUY RAZ & SADIE LINCOLN

Tue, November 17 at 10:00 am PST

Guy Raz, host of the podcast and author of the new book How I Built This, in conversation with Sadie Lincoln, co-founder and CEO of barre3, a fitness company focused on teaching people to be balanced in body and empowered from within. Starting in 2008 with the flagship studio in Portland, Oregon, barre3 has blossomed into a full-blown movement made up of millions of people focused on body positivity, being empowered, and redefining what success in fitness means.

ALL BOOKS PURCHASED THROUGH FESTIVAL EVENTS, FROM ANNIE BLOOM’S BOOKSBROADWAY BOOKSGREEN BEAN BOOKS, OR POWELL’S BOOKS SUPPORT THE AUTHORS AND PUBLISHERS WHO SHARE THEIR WORK AT THE FESTIVAL AND THE BOOKSELLERS WHO HAVE WORKED HARD TO KEEP THEIR BUSINESSES OPEN DURING THESE DIFFICULT TIMES. BY PURCHASING BOOKS FROM THESE BOOKSTORES YOU ARE SUPPORTING THE SUSTAINABILITY OF THE FESTIVAL.

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