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Community News

In the Community: Upcoming Events and News

Each month, Literary Arts staff will round up news, events, and more happening in Portland, and beyond. Let us know if you have any events or news to share.


World Stage Theatre Black History Festival NW 2023
Throughout February
All month long people are encouraged to make note of the fact that Black history is American history. There are numerous ways people can support and participate.

Feb 1-28 –  Art Installation at local businesses

Feb 9, 16, 23 – Legacy Luncheon

Feb 6-28 – Mobile Youth Displays at Multnomah County Library

Feb 11 – Flash Mob Dance during Portland Winter Light Festival

Feb 11 – BIPOC Drag Show at the Church Bar, $25

Feb 18 – Roll Bounce for the whole family, $10

Feb 23-26 – 17th Annual Who I Am Celebrating Me Production, $20-25, perfect for ages 6+

Feb 28 – How Well Do You Know Your Black History (free)

Color Line: Black Excellence on the World Stage (Portland Art Museum)
Throughout February at the Portland Art Museum, Main Building, Floor LL, LL3
In an exhibit at the 1900 Paris Exposition, W.E.B. Du Bois presented a remarkable portrait of African American life. A selection of these photographs and data charts at the Museum invites visitors to critically engage with the visual dynamics of race.

Isaka Shamsud-Din Rock of Ages (Portland Art Museum)
Throughout February at the Portland Art Museum, Main Building, Floor 3, Gallery 303
Isaka Shamsud-Din: Rock of Ages is an intimate exhibition celebrating the Portland artist’s masterful paintings, rich in a narrative combining personal stories and folklore. Watch a virtual walk-through video.

33rd Annual Cascade Festival of African Films
February 3–March 4 | Various times & locations
A hybrid virtual/in-person festival
Free to attend
The Cascade Festival of African Films shows us Africa through the eyes of Africans, rather than a vision of Africa packaged for Western viewers. The films celebrate Africa’s achievements, expose its failures, and reveal possibilities for a hopeful future. Although the films cannot represent an entire continent, we hope to encourage American viewers to become interested and enrich their lens of African cultures.

体验汉字书法之美 / Experience the beauty of Chinese calligraphy (Multnomah County Library)
Saturday, February 25 | 1:30–3:30 p.m. | Online via Zoom | Free to attend | Register here
想要体验传统汉字文化之美吗?欢 迎参加我们的书法体验工作坊。图书馆邀请Terri老师介绍汉字文化的歷史演變,由甲骨文、篆、隶、草、行、楷六种书体演变与特征,并以 小作品示范,让大家一起体验用毛 笔书写的乐趣,完成个人独一无二 的扇子作品。

(In English): Want to experience the beauty of traditional Chinese character culture? Welcome to our calligraphy experience workshop. The library invited Teacher Terri to introduce the historical evolution of Chinese character culture, including the evolution and characteristics of six calligraphy styles: oracle bone inscriptions, seal script, official script, cursive script, xing script, and regular script. He also demonstrated with small works, allowing everyone to experience the fun of writing with a brush and complete a personal A unique fan work. Join us for Everybody Reads, Multnomah County Library’s annual community reading project. Get tickets for the culminating author lecture at the Keller Auditorium March 16 here.

Flowers for Black Elders (curated by Onry & Joni Whitworth) at Nationale
Through February 26
Nationale is honored to present the exhibition “Flowers for Black Elders,” a multimedia oral history and financial reparations project by City of Portland artists-in-residence Onry and Joni Whitworth. Onry, one of the only Black male professional opera singers in the Pacific Northwest, honors five musical mentors who influenced and paved the way for his career. The project ultimately documents the stories of Black musicians in Northeast Portland from the 1990s to the present.

Discuss A Tale for the Time Being (Multnomah County Library + Dharma Rain Zen Center)
Monday, February 27 | 6:00–7:00 p.m. | In person at Dharma Rain Zen Center, 8500 NE Siskiyou St., Portland, OR | Free to attend
Join Multnomah County Library for a facilitated conversation around A Tale for the Time Being. Everybody Reads is Multnomah County Library’s annual community reading project. Get tickets for the culminating author lecture at the Keller Auditorium March 16 here.

Discuss A Tale for the Time Being (Multnomah County Library)
Tuesday, February 28 | 6:00–7:00 p.m. | In person at Troutdale Meeting Room, 2451 SW Cherry Park Road, Troutdale, OR | Free to attend
Join Multnomah County Library for a facilitated conversation around A Tale for the Time Being, hosted at Dharma Rain Zen Center. Everybody Reads is Multnomah County Library’s annual community reading project. Get tickets for the culminating author lecture at the Keller Auditorium March 16 here.

¡No nos preocupemos por los desastres o los cambios! ¡Preparémonos en comunidad! / How to learn to stop worrying and love emergency planning (and your neighbors) (Multnomah County Library)
Tuesday, February 28 | 6:00–8:00 p.m. | Online via Zoom | Registration required
Cómo manejar las preocupaciones y crear un plan de emergencia que incluya a mi comunidad. Cuando enfrentamos desastres naturales y cambios sociales, es fácil sentirse preocupado y pensar: ¿Qué puedo hacer frente a eventos devastadores?
(In English): How to manage concerns and create an emergency plan that includes my community. When we are faced with natural disasters and social changes, it is easy to feel worried and think: What can I do in the face of devastating events? Join us for Everybody Reads, Multnomah County Library’s annual community reading project. Get tickets for the culminating author lecture at the Keller Auditorium March 16 here.

Kathleen McLaughlin in Conversation With Leah Sottile (Powell’s Books)
Tuesday, February 28, at 7:00 p.m. | In person at Powell’s City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St, Portland, OR
The Invisible Kingdom meets Empire of Pain in Kathleen McLaughlin’s Blood Money, an explosive and shocking account of a multi-billion dollar underground medical industry and the American underclass it drains for blood and profit. McLaughlin will be joined in conversation by Leah Sottile, author of When the Moon Turns to Blood.

Hillsboro Reads: Local Authors: Keynote and Author Talk with Renée Watson (Hillsboro Public Library)
Friday, March 3 | 5:30–6:30 p.m. | In person at Hillsboro Public Library, Brookwood, 2850 NE Brookwood Pkwy, Hillsboro, OR
Hillsboro Public Library is excited to host Hillsboro Reads: Local Authors and share the achievement of local authors with our community.  Join us March 3 to 18 for author talks, panels, storytimes, workshops, and pop-up programs. You’ll meet the authors, discuss their works and writing practices, and learn what inspires them. The program begins by featuring Literary Arts board member Renée Watson, a #1 New York Times bestselling author, educator, and community activist. Her books have sold over one million copies. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor.

Historians and the News: Beverly Gage (Oregon Historical Society)
Monday, March 6 | 5:30–6:30 p.m. | Online via Zoom | Free to attend
OHS is pleased to continue the popular “Historians and the News” series with a conversation between two nationally renowned historians that promises to offer valuable insights, informed by years of scholarly analysis of the past, into the news stories that fill our screens and newspaper pages. OHS is thrilled to host historian Beverly Gage, who has analyzed the history of terrorism in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and has published a groundbreaking biography of J. Edgar Hoover, whose directorship of the FBI from 1924 to 1972 helps explain the trajectories of governance, policing, race, ideology, political culture, and federal power as they evolved over the course of the twentieth century.

I Fucking Hate Shakespeare (by Gina Femia, Directed by Ephriam Harnsberger)
March 3–26 at Bag&Baggage Productions, The Vault Theatre, 350 E. Main Street, Hillsboro, OR
Use code A&S5OFF for $5 off the opening night production
Gina Femia is a playwright. William Shakespeare is a playwright, too—maybe you’ve heard of him? Through the lens of different Shakespeare plays, and juxtaposing him with the abusive relationships that defined her coming of age, Gina discusses how her experience with The Bard has shaped her origin story as a playwright. I Fucking Hate Shakespeare, is described as, “Raw, vulnerable, exposed and open. A beautiful, moving play that is funny at times and heartbreaking too.” Don’t worry . . . we are not going to abandon the bard’s work, but we promise this play is going to be amazing.


Writing Awards (Sustainable Arts Foundation)
Deadline: February 24
Up to 20 awards of $5,000 each are given annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers with children. Writers with at least one child under the age of 18 are eligible. Using only the online submission system, submit up to 10 poems totaling no more than 15 pages or between 10 and 15 pages of prose with an artist statement of up to 500 words and a $20 entry fee by February 24. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Balcones Prizes (Austin Community College)
Deadline: February 28
Two prizes of $1,500 each are given annually for a poetry collection and a book of fiction published during the previous year. Authors or publishers may submit three copies of a book published in 2022 (poetry collections must be at least 42 pages) by February 28. Translated works are also eligible. The entry fee is $25 for poetry and $30 for fiction. Visit the website for an entry form and complete guidelines.

First/Second Poetry Book Contest (Omnidawn Publishing)
Deadline: February 28
A prize of $3,000, publication by Omnidawn Publishing, and 20 author copies is given annually for a first or second poetry collection. Sawako Nakayasu will judge. Using only the online submission system, submit a manuscript of 40 to 120 pages with a $35 entry fee by February 28. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

James Welch Prize for Indigenous Poets (Poetry Northwest)
Deadline: February 28
Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Poetry Northwest are given annually for a single poem by an Indigenous poet. The winners will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to read with the judge in the fall of 2023. Writers who have published no more than one full-length book and who are community-recognized members of tribal nations within the United States and its territories are eligible. Heid E. Erdrich will judge. Using only the online submission system, submit up to three poems of any length by February 28. All entries are considered for publication. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

Self-Publishing Literary Awards (Black Caucus of the American Library Association)
Deadline: February 28
Two prizes of $2,500 each are given annually for a poetry e-book and a fiction e-book by an African American writer self-published in the United States during the previous year. The awards honor books that depict “cultural, historical, and sociopolitical aspects of the Black Diaspora.” Using only the online submission system, submit an e-book self-published in 2022 by February 28. There is no entry fee. Visit the website for complete guidelines.

The 2023 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant
Deadline: April 25
The 2023 Whiting Creative Nonfiction Grant of $40,000 will be awarded to as many as ten writers in the process of completing a book-length work of deeply researched and imaginatively composed nonfiction for a general readership. It is intended for multiyear book projects requiring large amounts of deep and focused research, thinking, and writing at a crucial point mid-process, after significant work has been accomplished but when an extra infusion of support can make a difference in the ultimate shape and quality of the work. Projects must be under contract with a publisher in Canada, the UK, or the US by April 25 to be eligible. Contracts with self-publishing companies are not eligible.

2023 Waterston Desert Writing Prize (High Desert Museum)
Deadline: May 1
The High Desert Museum is now accepting submissions for the 2023 Waterston Desert Writing Prize. The Prize honors outstanding literary nonfiction that illustrates artistic excellence, sensitivity to place, and desert literacy with the desert as both subject and setting. Emerging, mid-career and established nonfiction writers are invited to apply.

Oregon Media Arts Fellowship
Applications accepted Jan. 31–March 31, 2023
The Oregon Media Arts Fellowship is a biannual award provided by the Oregon Arts Commission and overseen by the Portland Art Museum’s Center for an Untold Tomorrow (PAM CUT) for outstanding achievement and creativity in the field of media arts in the state of Oregon. 

Pick Your Wilderness Writing Adventure (Fishtrap’s 2023 Outpost Programs)
June 19–24 and September 3–8
Give yourself the time to explore a remote, natural environment as a way to find solitude, connect to the landscape in a meaningful way, and write about your experience. Registration opens December 1, 2022. Each Outpost experience includes a week of discovery, writing instruction, meals, and camping in an inspiring and unforgettable setting.


Miller Family Museum Free Day (Portland Art Museum)
Sunday, February 19 | 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
In person at Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR
Enjoy free admission all day in celebration of the special exhibitions special exhibitions Dakota Modern: The Art of Oscar Howe and Jeffrey Gibson’s They Come From Fire and To Name An Other. Information on special programs will be shared as the date gets closer. You may reserve your free admission tickets online beginning the Wednesday prior to the free day.  A limited number of tickets are also available for walk-in visitors on the day of.

Coping with Stress: A workshop for teens (Multnomah County Library)
Thursday, February 23 | 4:00–5:00 p.m. | In person at Rockwood Library, 17917 SE Stark St., Portland, OR | Free to attend | Registration required
Teens, are you feeling stressed? Not sure how to cope? Join the YouthLine for this workshop that will help you understand and identify the stress in your life. You’ll come away with coping strategies and know where to find support. Everyone will receive YouthLine’s Getting Through Today brochure and an interactive wallet card. Tomorrow needs you. Reach out by texting Teen2Teen to 839863, calling 877.968.8491, or online at theyouthline.org.
Join us for Everybody Reads, Multnomah County Library’s annual community reading project. Get tickets for the culminating author lecture at the Keller Auditorium March 16 here.


A Voice Among the Stars: Poem by U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón Will Ride to Europa on NASA Spacecraft
U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón is writing an original poem dedicated to NASA’s Europa Clipper mission. The poem will be engraved on the spacecraft, as a way to connect two water worlds – Earth and Europa, a moon of Jupiter believed to contain a vast ocean. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. We’re so excited for this!

Black History Month 2023: How Michelle Lewis and Charles Hannah gave Third Eye Books national cred
We’re big fans of Third Eye Books, and are thrilled to see them gain national cred.

Can Poetry Heal a Broken World? (Elle Magazine)
A profile of Ada Limón, the first Latina US poet laureate (and our final 22/23 Portland Arts & Lecture speaker), who believes that the power of words can help us navigate this time of crisis.

Introducing Grown, a new podcast from The Moth
Co-hosts Aleeza Kazmi and Fonzo Lacayo—two graduates of The Moth’s Education Program—guide listeners through topics like mental health, heartbreak, family drama, and everything in between by sharing their own personal experiences along with Moth stories conversations with the storytellers, on the street interviews, audio diaries from young voices, and more.

Grown is a podcast that reminds us that no matter how old we are, we’re never fully grown. The first two episodes will premiere on Wednesday, February 8th, on all streaming platforms!

The Academy of American Poets to Award Capacity-Building Grants to Fifty-Three Literary Organizations Across the US (Poets.org)
Literary Arts is honored to be among the nonprofit recipients of grants supporting work serving poetry and poets.

The 2023 Oregon Book Award finalists were covered in KOIN-6, Library Journal, Locus Mag, Portland Monthly, and Willamette Week.


A Reading List for Black History Month 2023 (CLMP)

Kelly Link in Praise of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Genuine Magic (Lit Hub)

Kendrick Lamar’s New Chapter: Raw, Intimate and Unconstrained (The New York Times)
This incredible profile was written by Literary Arts board member Mitchell S. Jackson.

Powell’s 2023 Book Preview: The First Quarter

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