• October 28, 2021
          BIPOC Reading Series- October
          November 8, 2021
          Portland Book Festival Virtual Event Pass: November 8–12
          November 8, 2021
          TAP@PBF: Change with John Freeman
          November 8, 2021
          Tenderness: Donika Kelly, Brandon Taylor, and Kirstin Valdez Quade
  • Box Office
Loading Events
Virtual Event
Event Categories:

,

Art & Ambition: Shruti Swamy & Claire Vaye Watkins

Sat, November 13 from 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm PST
1219 SW Park Avenue Portland, OR 97205

These novels introduce us to women who are navigating their art alongside obligations to family and the possibility—and end—of relationships.

Shruti Swamy’s The Archer is a bold portrait of a singular woman coming of age as an artist—navigating desire, duty, and the limits of the body. It is also an electrifying and utterly immersive story about the transformative power of art, and the possibilities that love can open when we’re ready. A young woman comes of age in 1960s- and 1970s-era Bombay, a vanished world that is complex and indelibly rendered. Vidya’s childhood is marked by the shattering absence and then the bewildering reappearance of her mother and baby brother at the family home. Restless, observant, and longing for connection with her brilliant and increasingly troubled mother, Vidya navigates the stifling expectations of her life with a vivid imagination until one day she peeks into a classroom where girls are learning kathak, a dazzling, centuries-old dance form that requires the utmost discipline and focus. Her pursuit of artistic transcendence through kathak soon becomes the organizing principle of her life, even as she leaves home for college and falls in complicated love with her best friend. As the uncertain future looms, she must ultimately confront the tensions between romantic love, her art, and the legacy of her own imperfect mother.

Claire Vaye Watkin’s novel I Love You but I’ve Chosen Darkness is a darkly funny, soul-rending novel of love in an epoch of collapse—one woman’s furious revisiting of family, marriage, work, sex, and motherhood. Leaving behind her husband and their baby daughter, a writer gets on a flight for a speaking engagement in Reno, not carrying much besides a breast pump and a spiraling case of postpartum depression. Her temporary escape from domestic duties and an opportunity to reconnect with old friends mutates into an extended romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood, and a seemingly bottomless descent into the past. Deep in the Mojave Desert where she grew up, she meets her ghosts at every turn: the first love whose self-destruction still haunts her; her father, a member of the most famous cult in American history; her mother, whose native spark gutters with every passing year. She can’t go back in time to make any of it right, but what exactly is her way forward? Alone in the wilderness, at last she begins to make herself at home in the world.

Moderated by Cari Luna, author of The Revolution of Every Day.

ADVANCE PORTLAND BOOK FESTIVAL PASSES AVAILABLE NOW.

THIS EVENT IS LIVE, IN PERSON. TO PARTICIPATE, YOU MUST ATTEND IN PERSON; IN-PERSON EVENTS WILL NOT BE BROADCAST VIRTUALLY.

Please note: All attendees to the in-person Festival must show proof of vaccination, or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the event date to attend. Mask must be worn in accordance with local mandates. Read more here.

ORDER THE ARCHERANNIE BLOOM’S | BROADWAY | POWELL’S

ORDER  I LOVE YOU BUT I’VE CHOSEN DARKNESSANNIE BLOOM’S | BROADWAY | POWELL’S

Shruti Swamy

Shruti Swamy is the author of the story collection A House Is a Body, which was a finalist for the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, and was long-listed for the Story Prize. Her work has been published by the Paris Review and McSweeney’s, and anthologized in the O. Henry Prize Stories. Her debut novel, The Archer, was just published by Algonquin Books in September 2021. She lives in San Francisco.

Order The Archer: annie bloom's | broadway | powell's

Read more

Claire Vaye Watkins

Claire Vaye Watkins is the author of the novel Gold Fame Citrus and the short story collection Battleborn, winner of the Story Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award, and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other prizes. A National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, Watkins is a professor at the University of California Irvine and lives in Twenty-nine Palms, California. Her most recent novel is I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness.

Order  I Love You but I've Chosen Darkness: annie bloom's | broadway | powell's

Read more

Cari Luna

Cari Luna is the author of The Revolution of Every Day, which won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction. A fellow of Yaddo and Ragdale, her writing has appeared in The Nation, Guernica, Salon, Jacobin, Electric Literature, Catapult, PANK, and elsewhere. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Read more