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Self-Portrait: Memoir, Auto-fiction, and History

Sat, Nov 9, 2019 from 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm PST
1111 SW Broadway Ave Portland, Oregon 97205

Three books that combine and move between personal and collective histories to probe both the past and present. Part history, part memoir, Debra Gwartney’s I Am a Stranger Here Myself taps the deepest dimensions of human yearning: the need to belong, the snarl of family history, and embracing womanhood in the patriarchal American West. An electrifying, dazzlingly written reckoning and an essential addition to the national conversation about race and class, Survival Math takes its name from the calculations award-winning author Mitchell S. Jackson made to survive the Portland, Oregon of his youth. In Peter Rock’s autobiographical novel The Night Swimmers, the narrator tries to understand the months he spent, as a young man, swimming with a young widow. He digs through old notebooks and letters, clippings and quotations trying to rebuild the world he’s lost. Moderated by Elena Passarello, author of Animals Strike Curious Poses.

Advance Portland Book Festival passes available now.

Debra Gwartney

Debra Gwartney is the author of two book-length memoirs, Live Through This, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and I Am a Stranger Here Myself, winner of the RiverTeeth Nonfiction Prize and the Willa Award for Nonfiction. Debra has published in such journals as Granta, The Sun, Tin House, American Scholar, Creative Nonfiction, Freemans, and others. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, and her essay, “Fire and Ice,” was recently selected for Best American Essays, by Alexander Chee. Debra is co-editor, along with her husband Barry Lopez, of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape. She lives in Western Oregon.
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Mitchell S. Jackson

Writer; Professor, Arizona State University Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years received wide critical praise. Jackson is the winner of a Whiting Award. His novel also won The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for The Center for Fiction Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN / Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, and the Hurston / Wright Legacy Award. His honors include fellowships from the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center, the Lannan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, PEN America, TED, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Center for Fiction. His writing has been featured on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, Time Magazine, and Esquire Magazine, as well as in The New Yorker, Harpers, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Guardian, The Washington Post Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and elsewhere. His nonfiction book Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family was published in the spring of 2019 and named a best book of the year by fifteen publications, including NPR, Time Magazine, The Paris Review, The Root, Kirkus Reviews, and Buzzfeed. He teaches in the Creative Writing program at the University of Chicago. Jackson is also a well-regarded speaker who has delivered lectures and keynote addresses all over the world, including the annual TED Conference, the Ubud (Bali) Writers and Readers Festival, and the Sydney Writers’ Festival, as well as at esteemed institutions, among them Yale University, Brown University, Cornell University, and Columbia University. A formerly incarcerated person, Jackson is also a social justice advocate who, as part of his outreach, visits prisons and youth facilities in the United States and abroad.
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Peter Rock

Peter Rock is the author of the novels The Night Swimmers, SPELLS, Klickitat, The Shelter Cycle, My Abandonment, The Bewildered, The Ambidextrist, Carnival Wolves and This Is the Place, as well as a story collection, The Unsettling. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, an Alex Award and others, he is a Professor in the English Department of Reed College. 
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Elena Passarello

Elena Passarello is an actor, essayist, and recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Paris Review, and The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018, and has been translated into German, Italian, French, and Mandarin. She is the author of the essay collections Let Me Clear My Throat and Animals Strike Curious Poses, the latter of which won the 2018 Oregon Book Award in Creative Nonfiction and made the Best Books of 2017 lists in the New York Times, Guardian, and Publisher's Weekly. Passarello teaches creative writing at Oregon State University and appears weekly on the PRX radio variety show Live Wire.

Order Animals Strike Curious PosesANNIE BLOOM'S | BROADWAY | POWELL'S

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