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Community News

In the Community: Upcoming Online Literary Events and Connections

Each week, Literary Arts staff will round up news, events, and more happening in the literary community. Let us know if you have any events or book news to share.

Oregon Book Award Winner Alicia Joe Rabins’ Film Chosen for NW Film Center’s Future/future Competition

Highlighting boundary-pushing new cinema from emerging filmmakers, ≠≠PIFF’s Future/future competition represents some of the most exciting new voices in global cinema. A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff explores the system that allowed Madoff to function for decades through the eyes of musician/poet Alicia Jo Rabins, who watches the financial crash from an abandoned office building on Wall Street. Watch the trailer here.


How I Wrote This
January 28 | 7:30 p.m. PST
Join Esmé Weijun Wang, Muse 2020 Fellow in Non-Fiction, to discuss her singular essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. This conversation  will be as much about the process of writing and publishing The Collected Schizophrenias as about the content of the book itself.

Consider This with David French
February 2 | 5:00 p.m. PST
a conversation with David French, senior editor for The Dispatch and author of Divided We Fall: America’s Secession Threat and How to Restore Our Nation. We’ll talk about how divides over ideology and even basic facts affect democracy in the United States.

Moth Pacific Story Slam
February 8 | 7:30 p.m. PST
Prepare a five-minute tale about a love that made you go OUCH. The agony of deferred love! The misery of good love, gone bad! The anguish of one-way love! Bring stories of your heart, kicked to the curb by the people or places or things you love…or used to love. Love that “Hurts So Good” also welcome.

Lit Fest Bergen
February 10–14
By showcasing high-quality non-fiction and fiction from across the globe, this event aims to increase understanding of our world and humanity’s place in it. 

Vermont Studio Center Book Discussion: Heavy
February 11 | 7:00 p.m. PST
A personal narrative that illuminates national failures, Heavy is defiant yet vulnerable, an insightful, often comical exploration of weight, identity, art, friendship, and family that begins with a confusing childhood—and continues through twenty-five years of haunting implosions and long reverberations.

Morristown Festival of Books @Home
February 20 & 21
Featuring Kristin Hannah, V.E. Schwab, David Michaelis, and debut memoirist Nadia Owusu.

Moth Mainstage
February 27
Five storytellers take the virtual stage and share a true, personal story from their life: joy and heart, in equal measures. Stories of glory and defeat, taunting fate, laughing in the face of danger, and the moments that forever changed the course.

Barry Lopez: ‘We Don’t Need the Writer. What We Need is the Story, Because This Keeps Us Alive’
Literary Arts’ Executive Director Andrew Proctor interviewed Barry Lopez at the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, where he received the Writer in the World Prize, given to a writer whose work expresses that rare combination of literary talent and moral imagination, two weeks before his death. Listen to their conversation below.

Photograph of author Barry Lopez smiling and reaching towards the camera.

“And you have to, I think, as a writer, be cognizant… and aware that the women and men who read are looking, often quietly, for some way to feel healed. And that is part of the function of story, is to take care of people.”

Barry Lopez

A New Graphic Novel Shows the History of the Black Panther Party
Portland comics artist David F. Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson’s collaboration reveals that the Black Panthers weren’t without faults, yet the organization’s focus from the beginning was always giving Black communities the strength and power to be informed of and fight for the rights they deserved.

Powell’s Inauguration Reading List
Powell’s has put together a reading list based on President-elect Biden’s publicized policy goals for his first 100 days in office. From pandemic response and criminal justice to immigration and the economy, these books are a starting point for understanding the social issues that underlie the policy priorities of the incoming administration.


Hindsight 2020 Seeking Submissions
Seeking nonfiction stories from around the world that capture what it was like to wake up every day to a new normal — whether that means navigating emergencies as a first responder or tying the knot over Zoom. We’re particularly interested in material that gets up close and personal with the struggles of 2020, rather than headlines or commentary on current events. Rolling deadline.

Fields Artist Fellowship
Deadline: February 15
The Fields Artist Fellowship aims to support artists who are at a pivotal moment or inflection point in their careers, where the fellowship can provide meaningful impact. Oregon Community Foundation and Oregon Humanities will award four Fields Artist Fellows $100,000 each over a two-year period; along with robust professional development, networking and community building opportunities. In addition, a one-time sum of $10,000 will be awarded to eight finalists.

2020 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction
Deadline: February 15
This contest is open to any short fiction writer of English. The prize includes a $2,000 cash award and publication of the winning manuscript. Judged by Alice Sebold.

Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships
Deadline: February 23
The 2021 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowships are $50,000 awards given to honor poets of literary merit appointed to serve in civic positions and to enable them to undertake meaningful, impactful, and innovative projects that engage their fellow residents, including youth, with poetry, helping to address issues important to their communities. 

Dramatist’s League Foundation
DGF provides emergency financial assistance to individual playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists in dire need of funds due to severe hardship or unexpected illness.

Waterson Desert Writing Prize
The Prize annually honors literary nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy  with the desert as both subject and setting. Inspired by author and poet Ellen Waterston’s love of Central Oregon’s High Desert, the Prize recognizes the vital role deserts play worldwide. Emerging, mid-career and established nonfiction writers are invited to apply. Previous applicants who have not won an award are eligible to submit a new project. The Prize is awarded to a nonfiction full-length book proposal.


2021 Voyage YA First Chapters Contest
Deadline: February 28
Voyage wants to see the first chapters of your Young Adult novels! Guest judge, Melissa de la Cruz, will choose three stories from a shortlist.

A Kids Book About Live Q&A
Tuesdays | 10:30 a.m. PST
Interviews with A Kids Book About authors hosted by kids! Hosted live on their Instagram. Topics include A Kid Asks About: MLK Day, Systemic Racism, Belonging, Emotions, and more!

Lesson Plan: Discuss 22-year-old Amanda Gorman’s inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb”
In this lesson, students examine the poetry of Amanda Gorman, who was chosen to read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2021. Gorman’s poem complimented Biden’s message and themes of “unity.”

Bodecker Foundation Virtual Workshops
Dates vary
Led by professional artists, writers, musicians, and educators, our FREE creative workshops for high school students include a mix of online group activities and offline individual and/or collaborative project work. February offerings include Socially Engaged Art with Patricia Vázquez Gómez and Lyric Writing with Chris Funk. See all available classes here.

Penguin Random House Creative Writing Awards Program in Partnership with We Need Diverse Books
Deadline: March 2, 2021
Calling all high school seniors attending a public high school in the United States! We Need Diverse Books and Penguin Random House are happy to announce that submissions are open for the 2021 Creative Writing Awards, a scholarship program dedicated to furthering the education of students with unique and diverse voices.

Waterson Student Essay Competition
Deadline: May 1, 2021
The student award contest is open to all high school-age students (grades 9-12), 18 years old or younger, who reside in Crook, Deschutes, Harney, Jefferson or Lake County. Public school, private school and home-schooled students are eligible.


Bright Passage by Taylor Johnson (Poetry Foundation)

Sam Gilliam, Light Fan, 1966, Courtesy Smithsonian Art Museum

Sometimes I’d get lost looking for my breath, I’d walk the city with my eyes closed calling its many names: bad as hell walking in front of me, Potomac River, Nacotchtank, crossroads, southside hills, deer-by-the-creek, my second mind, unending.

Blog cover image from A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff.

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