Portland Arts & Lectures

Welcoming the world’s most celebrated writers, artists, and thinkers to speak to our community in the historic Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Subscriptions are open for the 2020/21 Portland Arts & Lectures season.

Click here for the author line-up and currently scheduled event dates.

Please note: the Helen Macdonald lecture on October 13, 2020 will now take place as a virtual event.

Yaa Gyasi’s lecture has been rescheduled to May 18, 2021 and remains an in-person event.

There are currently no other changes to the 2021 lineup.

Click here for FAQs on Portland Arts & Lectures subscriptions



Listen to the speakers from 2019/20 on The Archive Project.

The series began on October 24 with author and staff writer for The New Yorker, George Packer. His new book is Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century. On November 14, we welcomed Amor Towles, author of the New York Times best sellers Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. The series continued on January 15 with Min Jin Lee, whose latest novel, Pachinko, was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017. On February 20, we hosted Susan Orlean, author of eight books, including her most recent, The Library Book, a New York Times best seller and a Washington Post Top 10 Book of the Year for 2018. The series was due to close on May 7 with Colson Whitehead, author of The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad, a New York Times best seller which won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award.


“By supporting readers, writers, and books, Literary Arts is doing the difficult and crucial work of building engaged communities, and for me, this is nothing short of protecting a democratic society that recognizes that you and I are deeply united by our vision of a world that is better, truer, and freer.” 

Min Jin Lee, 2019/20 Portland Arts & Lectures Speaker

Thank you to our 2020/21 season supporters:


A to Z Wineworks | Angeli Law Group | The Eberwein Family
Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund | ZGF Architects

Past Seasons

For more than three decades, Portland Arts & Lectures has presented the greatest writers and thinkers of our time. Browse past speakers by season and listen on our podcast, The Archive Project.

Learn More

“I’ve had the good luck to participate in many lecture series, and Portland Arts and Lectures is the gold standard.  They’ve established a virtuous cycle of literary engagement among local writers, local high schools, and an avid and vibrant reading community.  The visiting writer gets to reach and interact with all three, meaningfully and efficiently.” 

Jennifer Egan, Portland Arts & Lectures Author

Donate to Youth Programs

We provide local high school students with tickets and transportation to our concert hall events. Make a donation to help ensure students have access to these transformative arts experiences.

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Community Tickets

We reserve seats for local community organizations at our concert hall events. Contact our box office at la@literary-arts.org or 503-227-2583, ext. 101 for more information about receiving free or discounted tickets.

The Archive Project

In addition to live lecture events, our Portland Arts & Lectures program connects readers and writers of all ages through classroom visits and workshops for professional writers. Events are featured on The Archive Project, our weekly radio show and podcast.

Listen