Mark your calendar for these political discussions at this year’s virtual Portland Book Festival, presented by Bank of America.
Every book, every story, is political in some way, but these books engage specifically with some of the biggest issues of our day: voting rights, environmental justice, social media, Black Lives Matter, immigration policy, and more.
Be sure to register at PDXBookFest.org to catch these FREE live-streamed events, and RSVP at the event pages below.
Mon, November 9 at 5:00 p.m. PST
Best-selling author Carl Hiaasen discusses his new novel with fellow Floridian (turned Portlander) Karen Russell. Carl Hiaasen can brighten even the darkest of days and Squeeze Me is pure, unadulterated Hiaasen. Irreverent, ingenious, and highly entertaining, Squeeze Me perfectly captures the absurdity of our times.
Squeeze Me is funny, but as with Hiaasen’s best work, it’s grounded in genuine outrage over the corruption that increasingly defines American political and cultural life. And it turns out there’s no better place to invoke that outrage than the wealthy swamps of Florida.—Alex Shephard, The New Republic
Tue, November 10 at 5:30 p.m. PST
A discussion about burnout and politics, voting, and elections—and how politics, voting, and elections will be only way to fight the forces that lead to burnout.
Can’t Even is the Nickel and Dimed of this generation. A cogent and sober analysis of the economic lives that decades of precarity has wrought, told in Petersen’s smart, measured style.—Tressie McMillan Cottom, assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina and author of the National Book Award finalist Thick: And Other Essays
Wed, November 11 at 12:00 p.m. PST
A cross-genre discussion of environmental justice and the inseparableness of the climate crisis and economic inequality.
Thu, November 12 at 3:30 pm PST
Nine-year-old Betita knows she is a crane. Papi has told her the story, even before her family fled to Los Angeles to seek refuge from cartel violence in Mexico. He says that Betita and her family are cranes that have returned to their promised land, Aztlán, land of the cranes. But one day, Papi is arrested by Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) and deported to Mexico. Betita and her pregnant mother are left behind on their own, but soon they too are detained and must learn to survive in a family detention camp. Even in cruel and inhumane conditions, Betita finds heart in her own poetry and in the community she and her mother find in the camp. Their voices fly above the hatred keeping them caged, but each day threatens to tear them down lower than they ever thought they could be. Will Betita and her family ever be whole again?
A heartbreaking story in verse of those subjected to unimaginable cruelty, yet who still find the hope to dream and carry on.
Fri, November 13 at 5:00 pm PST
Black Talk, Black Feeling is a conversation series inspired by the ethos of Nikki Giovanni’s foundational poetry book Black Feeling, Black Talk. Conceived by Believer editors Ismail Muhammad and Niela Orr during the uprisings over the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, the series is intended to connect this critical moment to others in the past, establishing a link between the conversations folks are having now with the discussions that have been ongoing in Black writing communities. The hope is to offer a discursive snapshot of this moment that can be an archive for other Black writers, and other Black people who find it helpful. Black Talk, Black Feeling at Portland Book Festival will feature: novelist and short story author Danielle Evans, young adult author Bethany C. Morrow, and poet Khadijah Queen.
Sat, November 14 at 2:30 p.m. PST
Young adult novels about fighting for justice, which expose racism in the United States criminal justice system, and the injustices of immigration policies and the refugee crisis at the southern border. Moderated by Kenrya Rankin.
[This Is My America is] an incredible and searing examination of the often-tragic collision of racism and a flawed criminal justice system. Read and reread … and reread again.—Nic Stone, author of Dear Martin