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Online: BIPOC Reading Series- September

Tue, September 22 from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm PDT

This bimonthly reading series is intended to prioritize the safety, creativity, and stories of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color.

The very first event of this series will be hosted by Jessica Meza-Torres, Program Assistant for Programs for Writers. Our featured readers, Armin Tolentino, Olufunke Grace Bankole, and Brianna Renae will share work on the theme of “Family.” There will be time for a few members of the audience to sign up and share their work. The readings will be followed by a short break and a community discussion.

Click here to register for this event. You do not need a Zoom account to participate. This event is open to everyone, but only people who self-identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color will be invited to read. If you have any questions, please contact Jessica at  jessica@literary-arts.org.

Armin Tolentino

Armin Tolentino is the author of the poetry collection We Meant to Bring It Home Alive (Alternating Current Press, 2019). He earned his MFA at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ and his poetry has appeared in numerous journals including Common KnowledgeArsenic Lobster, Hyphen Magazine, and The Raven Chronicles.  He is a former Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship recipient and works for Multnomah County managing education and anti-poverty initiatives. He is a phenomenal clapper, a passable ukulele player, and a bumbling, but enthusiastic, fisherman.
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Olufunke Grace Bankole

Olufunke Grace Bankole, a 2020 Oregon Literary Fellow, is a first-generation American of Nigerian parentage. After graduating from Harvard Law School, and completing a Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowship, she left law to write. Her works have appeared in ​Glimmer Train Stories, Michigan Quarterly Review, New Letters, ​and​ AGNI ​among others. She won the Glimmer Train Short-Story Award for New Writers, and the Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Scholarship in Fiction at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. She was also awarded a Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation grant, and a residency-fellowship from the Anderson Center. Olufunke is near completing a novel-in-stories depicting how secrets, lies, and prophecies upend the lives of a Nigerian mother and daughter.
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Brianna Renae

Brianna Renae is a spoken word artist from Portland, Oregon. She started writing as a way to heal herself and was pleased to find out that her words helped heal others as well. Brianna’s work centers around themes of activism for equality, the vulnerability of love, and raw black girl magic. All of her work is centered from a female perspective. Brianna’s poetry embraces her intersectionality as a black woman, but also exposes its complications. Brianna Renae was the 2018 Grand Slam Champion. She has featured for many great organizations such as Pickathon, WeMakePdx, Friends of Noise, and many more. Brianna has something to say, and is thankful for anyone ready to listen.
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Jessica Meza-Torres

Program Assistant for Programs for Writers

Pronouns: she/her Jessica is the Program Assistant for Programs for Writers at Literary Arts. Her program is comprised of the Oregon Book Awards, Oregon Literary Fellowships, Delve Readers Seminars, Writing Classes, and @Literary Arts Events. Her favorite part about working with this program is getting to serve as a resource to anyone who wishes to become more involved with the Portland literary community, be it through a formalized class or seminar, free public events, or applying for our fellowships. Prior to her role at Literary Arts, Jessica worked as a Writing Consultant, an English Teacher, and a Sales Associate for a vintage buy and sell boutique—which is to say she appreciates a good essay as much as she does a good pair of vintage denim. She earned a double B.A. in English and Politics from Willamette University.
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