Olivia Jones-Hall has been promoted from Youth Programs Coordinator to Youth Programs Manager. Olivia joined Literary Arts in 2018 and has been instrumental in managing the WITS anthology, and in supporting Verselandia, the East Side Slam, and Virtualandia. Olivia is also the chair of Literary Arts’ staff Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
Currently reading: The Book of Delights by Ross Gay
Favorite books or authors: This is always a difficult question, but right now my mood would say all-time favorite books are Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, and Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Favorite thing about working at Literary Arts: All the creative young people who I get to work with.
Fun fact: When I was 9, I had this book of fun facts and it included the longest words in the English language. I practiced saying them all and learning their definitions. I still have this information very much imprinted in my brain, but it has quite literally never come up.
Liz Olufson has been promoted from Public Programs Coordinator to Public Programs Manager. Liz has worked at Literary Arts in various capacities for more than 5 years, beginning in 2016 as a seasonal staff member for Literary Arts’ second-ever Portland Book Festival. She now plays a crucial production role in not only the Festival, but also Portland Arts & Lectures and The Archive Project, as well as other Literary Arts events.
Currently reading: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo; just finished: Deacon King Kong by James McBride; up next: Home Body by Rupi Kaur.
Favorite authors: Some favorite classic authors that I return to time and again are: Toni Morrison, J.R.R. Tolkien, Thomas Hardy, and Shakespeare. And a few contemporary authors I love: Hilary Mantel, Samantha Irby, and George R.R. Martin.
Favorite thing about working at Literary Arts: I love how excited and engaged our audience is. There’s something special about the readers of Oregon—so passionate, thoughtful, and dedicated. When an audience is truly engrossed in an author talk or panel, the shared emotional response is electric in the air… that’s the best feeling to me.
Fun fact: In my personal life, I can be crazy competitive about things that don’t matter in the slightest. Talk to me about bar trivia, fantasy football, board games, or the elaborate competition my friends and I concoct around the Academy Awards each year.
Emilly Prado is now the full-time and permanent Director of Youth Programs. Emilly first joined Literary Arts’ Youth Programs as a WITS writer in 2017, then became a Program Specialist, and then courageously agreed to quickly step in as Interim Director a little over a year ago.
Currently reading: T Kira Madden’s Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls and Minority Leader: How to Lead from the Outside and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrams.
Favorite authors: This is always such a hard question for me but I’ll have to go with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Carmen Maria Machado.
Favorite thing about working at Literary Arts: Getting to offer amazing literary opportunities to students and schools for free (or highly subsidized) and the progress we get to make with increasing equitable access to our resources.
Jyoti Roy has been promoted to Director of Communications. Jyoti joined Literary Arts in 2019, as Associate Director of Communications, bringing our website re-design project to a successful close in the first months of her tenure.
Currently reading: The Great Offshore Grounds, by Vanessa Veselka.
Favorite book/ authors: These books I often return to, and have different editions of: Perfume by Patrick Süskind, The Blood of Others by Simone de Beauvoir, Surfacing by Margaret Atwood, and Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson.
Favorite thing about working at Literary Arts: Our staff is small but mighty! I love being around people who are energetic and passionate about their work. You would think this is an organization of more than fifty people with everything that is accomplished—a book festival, a podcast and radio show, lecture series, writing classes, and youth work. These are my people.
Fun fact: I think I peaked in the publishing business in the late 80’s/ early 90’s when my best friend and I published a zine series dedicated to our love of New Kids on the Block. We did four issues and sent them around the world to our pen pals!