Home: Rita Dove, Lauren Groff, Qian Julie Wang
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 willbe tuning in via our custom streaming platform, PDXBookFest.org. Get your virtual festival pass here!
WEDNESDAY night, we’ll be live from ANNIE BLOOM’S Books with the theme “Home.” This evening will feature:
Rita Dove, former U.S. poet laureate, discusses her new collection Playlist for the Apocalypse with National Book Award winner Mary Szybist
Lauren Groff in conversation about her stunning new novel, Matrix, with Literary Arts executive director Andrew Proctor
Qian Julie Wang discusses her debut memoir Beautiful Country with OPB’s Jenn Chavez
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 her first volume of new poems in twelve years, Rita Dove investigates the vacillating moral compass guiding America’s, and the world’s, experiments in democracy. Whether depicting the first Jewish ghetto in sixteenth-century Venice or the contemporary efforts of Black Lives Matter, a girls’ night clubbing in the shadow of World War II or the doomed nobility of Muhammad Ali’s conscious objector stance, this extraordinary poet never fails to connect history’s grand exploits to the triumphs and tragedies of individual lives. At turns audaciously playful and grave, alternating poignant meditations on mortality and acerbic observations of injustice, Playlist for the Apocalypse takes us from the smallest moments of redemption to catastrophic failures of the human soul. Listen up, the poet says, speaking truth to power; what you’ll hear in return is “a lifetime of song.”
In Lauren Groff’s extraordinary new novel Matrix, we find ourselves in the twelfth century. Cast out of the royal court by Eleanor of Aquitaine, deemed too coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, seventeen-year-old Marie de France is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey. Marie, born the last in a long line of women warriors and crusaders, is determined to chart a bold new course for the women she now leads and protects. Equally alive to the sacred and the profane, Matrix gathers currents of violence, sensuality, and religious ecstasy in a mesmerizing portrait of consuming passion, aberrant faith, and a woman that history moves both through and around. Lauren Groff’s new novel, her first since Fates and Furies, is a defiant and timely exploration of the raw power of female creativity in a corrupted world.
“Matrix is alive with lust and glory. In the incandescent Marie de France – visionary, cantankerous and uncowed by the constraints of her sex – Groff paints a portrait of sisterhood that shines out of the past and into the lives of women today.”-C Pam Zhang, author of How Much of These Hills is Gold
In Chinese, the word for America, Mei Guo, translates directly to “beautiful country.” Yet when seven-year-old Qian arrives in New York City in 1994 full of curiosity, she is overwhelmed by crushing fear and scarcity. In China, Qian’s parents were professors; in America, her family is “illegal” and it will require all the determination and small joys they can muster to survive. Inhabiting her childhood perspective with exquisite lyric clarity and unforgettable charm and strength, Qian Julie Wang has penned an essential American story about a family fracturing under the weight of invisibility, and a girl coming of age in the shadows, who never stops seeking the light.
“Beautiful Country rings with power and authenticity. Wang’s searing exploration reveals how she and her family were forced to navigate the yawning cracks in the American Dream. An eloquent, thought-provoking and touching memoir.”—Jean Kwok, author of Girl in Translation and Searching for Sylvie Lee
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.