This episode of The Archive Project features highlights from the opening day of the 2020 Portland Book Festival, presented by Bank of America. Listen to excerpts from longer discussions. Novelists Emily Nemens, National Book Award-winner Charles Yu, and moderator Jon Raymond talk about ambition, disappointment, family, and the possibility of a new story. Claire Messud and Lydia Millet get into a cross-genre discussion, moderated by Alexander Chee. And finally, poets Nate Marshall, Jennifer Perrine, and moderator Anis Mojgani discuss language and the ways words shape our collective American cultural consciousness.
To listen to full discussions from this episode, and the rest of the Festival, visit the Video Library tab at PDXBookFest.org.
Each year, the Portland Book Festival presents a diverse range of writers who have recently published novels, story collections, works of nonfiction and poetry. There are over 100 writers in the festival this year and they hail from all over the country. Some are among our most famous writers at work today, and some publishing their first book. All are accomplished artists with powerful ideas and stories that can illuminate our understanding of ourselves and our world.
Alexander Chee is a novelist and essayist and an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, an editor at large at The Virginia Quarterly Review, and a critic at large at The Los Angeles Times. He has written the books How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, The Queen of the Night, and Edinburgh.
Nate Marshall is an award-winning writer, rapper, educator, and editor. He is the author and editor of numerous works including Wild Hundreds, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Finna. Nate is a member of The Dark Noise Collective and co-directs Crescendo Literary. He is an assistant professor of English at Colorado College. He is from the South Side of Chicago.
Claire Messud is the author of six works of fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers The Emperor’s Children and The Burning Girl, which was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her most recent book is the essay collection Kant’s Little Prussian Head and Other Reasons Why I Write. A recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships and the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, she lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her family.
Lydia Millet has written twelve works of fiction including, most recently, A Children’s Bible. She has won awards from PEN Center USA and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her books have been longlisted for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and named as New York Times Notable Books. Her story collection Love in Infant Monkeys was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. She lives outside Tucson, Arizona.
Anis Mojgani is Oregon’s current Poet Laureate and the author of five books of poetry. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in journals Bat City Review, Rattle, Buzzfeed Reader, Thrush, and Forklift Ohio, amongst others. A two time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam, Anis has done commissioned work for the Getty Museum, the Peabody Essex Museum, and the Portland Timbers, and has been awarded artist residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, AIR Serenbe, and the Bloedel Nature Reserve. Originally from New Orleans, Anis currently lives in Portland, OR, where he serves on the Board of Directors for Literary Arts.
Emily Nemens is the editor of The Paris Review. She was previously the co-editor of The Southern Review. Her work has been published in Esquire, n+1, The Gettysburg Review, Hobart and elsewhere, and she is the author of The Cactus League.
Jennifer Perrine is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Again (Airlie Press, 2020). Their other books include No Confession, No Mass, winner of the Publishing Triangle Audre Lorde Award and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize; In the Human Zoo, which was selected for the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize; and The Body Is No Machine. A recipient of fellowships from Literary Arts and the Vermont Studio Center, Perrine lives in Portland.
Jon Raymond is the author of three novels, Rain Dragon, The Half-Life, and Freebird, and the short-story collection Livability. His work has appeared in Tin House, the Village Voice, Bookforum, and other places. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Charles Yu is the author of three books, including the novel How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe (a New York Times Notable Book and a Time magazine best book of the year) and, most recently, Interior Chinatown. He received the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Award and was nominated for two Writers Guild of America Awards for his work on the HBO series, Westworld. He has also written for shows on FX, AMC, and HBO. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Wired, among other publications.