Please note that this Delve Readers Seminar is separate from Mitchell S. Jackson’s Everybody Reads presentation on March 10th.
Multnomah County Library’s selection for Everybody Reads 2015 is a desperate cry of last-chance hope from the heart of our city’s long-ignored African-American community. In first-person prose critics have called both gut-wrenching and beautiful, Portland native Mitchell Jackson voices the pain, illusion and promise of a mother and son fighting to free themselves from a life of drugs and limited opportunities without losing the love that sustains them. In this two-night seminar, we’ll look at Jackson’s autobiographical debut novel from a variety of angles, starting with its impact on individual readers. From there, we’ll move on to a careful consideration of its language, perspective, characters, setting and plot before viewing it through a variety of contextual lenses, including: Jackson’s own life experiences, the history of Portland’s African-American community, the African-American literary tradition, and contemporary trends in American fiction.
Guide: Michael McGregor is a professor of English and Creative Writing at Portland State University, where Mitchell Jackson was one of his students. An author of both fiction and nonfiction, he has written about Portland’s African-American community for the Oregon Historical Society and the Oregon Encyclopedia and spoken about Portland’s black-white relations on KBOO and OPB. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University and is a four-time recipient of PSU’s John Elliot Allen Award for Outstanding Teaching.
Note: Participants in this seminar will each receive a complimentary pair of tickets to attend Mitchell S. Jackson’s Everybody Reads appearance on March 10, 2015 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.