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Freedom: Aminder Dhaliwal, Nathan Harris, Maggie Nelson

Tue, November 9 from 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm PST
Virtual Event Virtual Event

Portland Book Festival virtual events, presented by Bank of America, will feature variety-show style interviews. Each night, three authors whose work shares thematic connections will join remotely, and interviewers will be broadcasting live from Portland literary locations. The audience will be tuning in via our custom streaming platform, PDXBookFest.org. Get your virtual festival pass here!

Tuesday night, we’ll be live from Broadway Books with the theme “Freedom.” This evening will feature:

 

This year’s VIRTUAL Festival programming is presented by Bank of America. From November 8–12, Portland Book Festival will feature authors in a variety of virtual events, from live-streamed discussions to podcast and radio broadcasts. Access to the Festival’s virtual platform will be via a sliding scale ($0–$100) pass; one pass includes access to all five days of virtual events. Get your pass here.

 

MORE ABOUT TONIGHT’S AUTHORS AND THEIR BOOKS:

In Aminder Dhaliwal‘s Cyclopedia Exotica, doctor’s office waiting rooms, commercials, dog parks, and dating app screenshots capture the experiences and interior lives of the cyclops community; a largely immigrant population displaying physical differences from the majority. Whether they’re artists, parents, or yoga students, the cyclops have it tough: they face microaggressions and overt xenophobia on a daily basis. However, they are bent on finding love, cultivating community, and navigating life alongside the two-eyed majority with patience and the occasional bout of rage.

Through this parallel universe, Dhaliwal comments on race, difference, beauty, and belonging, touching on all of these issues with her distinctive deadpan humor steeped in millennial references. Cyclopedia Exotica is a triumph of hilarious candor.

“The characters in Dhaliwal’s stories sparkle. They’re tenderly rendered and their problems are real… The struggle of the cyclops unfolds in metaphors for race, sexuality, gender, and disability, tangling with ideas about fetishization, interracial relationships, passing, and representation.” —Carmen Maria Machado, In the Dream House

 

Nathan Harris’s The Sweetness of Water has been hailed as “a miraculous debut” (Washington Post)​ and “a towering achievement of imagination” (CBS This Morning)about the unlikely bond between two freedmen who are brothers and the Georgia farmer whose alliance will alter their lives, and his, forever—from “a storyteller with bountiful insight and assurance” (Kirkus). With candor and sympathy, debut novelist Nathan Harris creates an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, as gripping as it is moving, The Sweetness of Water is an epic whose grandeur locates humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances.

“This debut novel astonished us as much for its wise, lyrical voice as for its dense realization of a fictional small town in the American South at a rarely written-about moment, the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. We were incredibly impressed by the way it probes themes of trans-historical importance—about race, sexuality, violence, and grief—through meticulously-drawn characters and a patient examination of their relationships.”—Booker Prize committee

 

Maggie Nelson’s On Freedom traced the concept’s complexities in four distinct realms: art, sex, drugs, and climate. Drawing on a vast range of material, from critical theory to pop culture to the intimacies and plain exchanges of daily life, Nelson explores how we might think, experience, or talk about freedom in ways responsive to the conditions of our day. Her abiding interest lies in ongoing “practices of freedom” by which we negotiate our interrelation with—indeed, our inseparability from—others, with all the care and constraint that entails, while accepting difference and conflict as integral to our communion.

“[A] sense of optimism sits at the heart of On FreedomWhat else is possible? it asks. . . . On Freedom is an argument for how we engage with objects of analysis—and one another—in a way that is principled but not rigid, that displays care for other people’s perceptions, pains and desires, and that has respect for what we cannot know.”—Ismail Muhammad, New York Times Magazine

 

This year’s VIRTUAL Festival programming is presented by Bank of America. Access to the Festival’s virtual platform will be via a sliding scale ($0–$100) pass; one pass includes access to all five days of virtual events. Get your pass here.

Aminder Dhaliwal

Aminder Dhaliwal is a native of Brampton, Ontario and received a Bachelors of Animation from Sheridan College. She now lives in Los Angeles, where she is the Director at Disney TV Animation. Previously, she worked as a Storyboard Director at Cartoon Network and Storyboard Director on the Nickelodeon show Sanjay and Craig. She has serialized Woman World biweekly on instagram since March 2017 and has garnered over 120,000 followers. Woman World was nominated for an Ignatz Award for Outstanding Online Comic. Her most recent graphic novel is Cyclopedia Exotica.

Order Cyclopedia Exotica: annie bloom's | broadway | powell's

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Nathan Harris

Nathan Harris holds an MFA from the Michener Center at the University of Texas. He is a recipient of the University of Oregon's Kidd Prize and was a finalist for the Tennessee Williams Fiction Prize. He lives in Austin, Texas. The Sweetness of Water is his first novel.

Order THE SWEETNESS OF WATERAnnie Bloom's | Broadway | Powell's

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Maggie Nelson

Maggie Nelson is the author of several acclaimed books of poetry and prose, most recently On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint (2021). In 2016 she was awarded a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship. She teaches at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.

Order On Freedom: annie bloom's | broadway | powell's

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Tiffany Camhi

Tiffany Camhi is a multimedia journalist focusing on arts, culture and environment reporting. You can hear her throughout the state of Oregon on OPB. She spent six years at KQED Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area as a host, producer, reporter and all-around audio gopher. Tiffany is an alumni of the City University of New York, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. When Tiffany's not on the radio you can usually find her riding a motorcycle...or trying to figure out a way to talk about motorcycles on the radio.
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Gabriel Urza

Gabriel Urza is the author of the novella The White Death: An Illusion (Nouvella, 2019) and the novel All That Followed (Henry Holt & Co., 2015). His fiction and nonfiction have been published in The New York Times, The Guardian, Guernica, Politico, Salon, and elsewhere. He spent several years as a public defender in Reno, Nevada, and is now an assistant professor in the MFA program at Portland State University. He is the recipient of a 2022 Fulbright Grant for a nonfiction book about an American explorer in Peru.

Order The White DeathANNIE BLOOM'S | BROADWAY | POWELL'S

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Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen is the author of twelve books, including most recently Surviving Autocracy, the National Book Award–winning The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia and The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin. A staff writer at The New Yorker and the recipient of numerous awards, including Guggenheim and Carnegie fellowships, Gessen teaches at Bard College and lives in New York City.

Order Surviving AutocracyANNIE BLOOM'S | BROADWAY | POWELL'S

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