2019/2020 Portland Arts & Lectures Season
In addition to live events that are later broadcast through The Archive Project on OPB radio and iTunes, the program connects renowned authors with readers and writers of all ages through classroom visits and writing workshops.
The 35th season of Portland Arts & Lectures features some of the most engaging writers at work today. They are novelists, essayists, and journalists whose award-winning works cover the most compelling issues of our time.
All events take place at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.
Thursday, October 24, 2019
George Packer is a journalist, novelist, playwright, and staff writer for The New Yorker. His latest book is Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century, which the members of the Whiting Award grant jury—from whom Packer was awarded a grant to complete the work—say is “irreverent, fast-paced, and unfailingly rigorous. . . an enthralling nonfiction picaresque that offers incisive clues to the complexities this country faces today.” Packer’s other works include the nonfiction titles The Unwinding, recipient of the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2013; The Assassins’ Gate, which was named one of the ten best books of 2005 by the New York Times Book Review and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He was a Guggenheim Fellow and has taught writing at Harvard, Bennington, and Columbia.
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Amor Towles is the author of A Gentleman in Moscow, a New York Times best seller which O, the Oprah Magazine praised as an “elegant period piece,” in which, “Towles continues to explore the question of how a person can lead an authentic life in a time when mere survival is a feat in itself,” and was named as one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR. He also penned Rules of Civility, a New York Times best seller which was named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011, and the novella Eve in Hollywood. Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. Having worked as an investment professional for over twenty years, Towles now writes full-time.
Min Jin Lee
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Min Jin Lee’s novel Pachinko was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction and a New York Times 10 Best Books of 2017. The San Francisco Chronicle lauds it as “beautiful. . . Lee’s sweeping four-generation saga of a Korean family is an extraordinary epic.” It was on over 75 best books of the year lists, and will be translated into 27 languages. Her debut novel, 2007’s Free Food for Millionaires, was also a national best seller as well as a Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times of London, NPR’s Fresh Air, and USA Today. Lee is a recipient of fellowships in fiction from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study at Harvard.
Thursday, February 20, 2020
Susan Orlean is an author and journalist, and has been a staff writer for The New Yorker since 1992. She has written eight books, including, most recently, The Library Book, a New York Times best seller and a Washington Post Top 10 Book of the Year for 2018. Her other books include Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film Adaptation. Orlean has been called “a national treasure” by the Washington Post, and the New York Times has said that her work “has that elusive quality to it: exquisitely written, consistently entertaining and irreducible to anything so obvious and pedestrian as a theme.”
Thursday, May 7, 2020
Colson Whitehead is a novelist, essayist, and reviewer whose most recent works include 2019’s The Nickel Boys and 2016’s The Underground Railroad, a New York Times best seller which won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award and was named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year by the New York Times Book Review. NPR hailed The Underground Railroad as “an American masterpiece, as much a searing document of a cruel history as a uniquely brilliant work of fiction.” Whitehead’s other books include The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. He is a recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, a Whiting Writers Award, the Dos Passos Prize, and a fellowship at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers.