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Body of Work: Souvankham Thammavongsa & Lidia Yuknavitch

Thu, November 5 from 12:00 pm - 12:45 pm PST
Livestream at PDXBookFest.org
#PDXBookFest

Free

Souvankham Thammavongsa and Lidia Yuknavitch

 

Join us for a conversation centered on two highly acclaimed new story collections: Souvankham Thammavongsa’s debut, How to Pronounce Knife, and a new collection from best-selling Oregon Book Award winner Lidia Yuknavitch, Verge.

The stories that make up How to Pronounce Knife focus on characters struggling to build lives in unfamiliar territory, or shuttling between idioms, cultures, and values. A failed boxer discovers what it truly means to be a champion when he starts painting nails at his sister’s salon. A young woman tries to discern the invisible but immutable social hierarchies at a chicken processing plant. A mother coaches her daughter in the challenging art of worm harvesting. In a taut, visceral prose style that establishes her as one of the most striking and assured voices of her generation, Thammavongsa interrogates what it means to make a living, to work, and to create meaning.

The landscape of Verge is peopled with characters who are innocent and imperfect, wise and endangered: an eight-year-old black-market medical courier, a restless lover haunted by memories of his mother, a teenage girl gazing out her attic window at a nearby prison, all of them wounded but grasping toward transcendence. Clear-eyed yet inspiring, Verge challenges us with moments of uncomfortable truth, even as it urges us to place our faith not in the flimsy guardrails of society but in the memories held—and told—by our own individual bodies.

Moderated by Marisa Siegel, editor in chief of The Rumpus


PURCHASE HOW TO PRONOUNCE KNIFE VERGE 

All books purchased through festival events, from Annie Bloom’s BooksBroadway BooksGreen Bean Books, or Powell’s Books, support the authors and publishers who share their work at the festival and the booksellers who have worked hard to keep their businesses open during these difficult times. Please buy early and often and know that by purchasing books you are supporting the sustainability of the festival.

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Body of Work: Souvankham Thammavongsa & Lidia Yuknavitch

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Souvankham Thammavongsa

Souvankham Thammavongsa was born in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand and was raised and educated in Toronto. She is the award-winning author of four books of poetry and her fiction has appeared in Harper's, Granta, the Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best American Non-Required Reading 2018, and the O. Henry Prize Stories 2019. Her most recent book is the short story collection How to Pronounce Knife.

Purchase How to Pronounce Knife from Broadway Books, one of our Portland-based, independent bookstore partners HERE.

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Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch is the nationally bestselling author of the novels The Book of JoanThe Small Backs of ChildrenDora: A Headcase, and the memoir The Chronology of Water. Her most recent book is Verge. She is the recipient of two Oregon Book Awards and a Willamette Writers Award, and has been a finalist for the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Prize and the PEN Center Creative Nonfiction Award. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

Purchase Verge from Broadway Books, one of our Portland-based, independent bookstore partners HERE.

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Marisa Siegel

Marisa Siegel lives, writes, and edits near NYC. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her essay “Inherited Anger” appears in the anthology Burn It Down (Seal Press, 2019) and her debut poetry chapbook, Fixed Stars, is forthcoming from Burrow Press in 2022. She is editor-in-chief and owner of The Rumpus.

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