2016/2017 Portland Arts & Lectures Season
In addition to live events that are broadcast statewide on OPB radio, the program connects renowned authors with readers and writers of all ages through classroom visits and writing workshops.
The 32nd season of Portland Arts & Lectures features some of the most influential writers at work today. They are novelists, essayists, and poets who have won the most prestigious awards in their profession:
Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Louise Erdrich is the author of 15 novels as well as volumes of poetry, children’s books, short stories, and a memoir. Her most recent novel, LaRose (Harper, 2016), is the conclusion of a loose trilogy set on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota that includes National Book Award winner The Round House (Harper, 2012) and Pulitzer Prize finalist The Plague of Doves (Harper, 2008). The statement announcing her 2015 Library of Congress Prize in American Fiction lauded: “Louise Erdrich has portrayed her fellow Native Americans as no contemporary American novelist ever has. Her prose manages to be at once lyrical and gritty, magical yet unsentimental, connecting a dreamworld of Ojibwe legend to stark realities of the modern-day.”
Don DeLillo in conversation with Noah Hawley
Thursday, November 17, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
Don DeLillo is the author of 16 novels, a novella, a collection of short stories, several plays, and a screenplay. The New York Review of Books famously dubbed him the “chief shaman of the paranoid school of American fiction,” and a fellow giant of the American canon, Philip Roth, has praised the “combination of terror and comedy and sheer song” in DeLillo’s work. His many honors include the National Book Award (White Noise), the Pen/Faulkner Award (Mao II), the Jerusalem Prize, the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction, the William Dean Howells Medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, and the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
Noah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. He has published four novels, most recently Before the Fall (Grand Central Publishing, 2016). Hawley is currently executive producer, writer, and showrunner of FX’s award-winning series, Fargo, and is adapting Don DeLillo’s Zero K for film.
Friday, February 24, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. (rescheduled due to weather)
Colum McCann is the author of six novels, including Let the Great World Spin (Random House, 2009), and three collections of stories. His most recent book is the collection Thirteen Ways of Looking (Random House, 2015), a novella and three stories, which earned him praise from the Wall Street Journal: “McCann is a passionate writer whose impulse is always toward a generous understanding of his diverse characters.” Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, he has been the recipient of many international honors, including the National Book Award, the International Dublin Impac Prize, a Chevalier des Arts et Lettres from the French government, election to the Irish Arts Academy, the 2010 Best Foreign Novel Award in China, and an Oscar nomination. He is the co-founder of the nonprofit global story exchange organization, Narrative 4, and he teaches at the MFA program at Hunter College.
Tracy K. Smith
Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Tracy K. Smith is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Ordinary Light (Knopf, 2015), a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award, and three books of poetry, including the 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning collection Life on Mars (Graywolf, 2011). Toi Derricotte said of Smith’s work: “The surfaces of a Tracy K. Smith poem are beautiful and serene, but underneath, there is always a sense of an unknown vastness. Her poems take the risk of inviting us to imagine, as the poet does, what it is to travel in another person’s shoes.” Among her many honors and awards, Smith was the recipient of the 2014 Academy Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, which is awarded to one poet each year in recognition of distinguished poetic achievement. She is currently the Director of Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program.
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Siddhartha Mukherjee is the author of The Gene: An Intimate History (Scribner, 2016), which Anthony Doerr calls “prodigious, sweeping, and ultimately transcendent. If you’re interested in what it means to be human today and in the tomorrows to come, you must read this book.” Dr. Mukherjee was awarded the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in general nonfiction for The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Scribner, 2010), heralded by The New Yorker as “an extraordinary achievement.” Dr. Mukherjee is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a cancer physician and researcher. A Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford, and Harvard Medical School. He has published articles in Nature, The New England Journal of Medicine, The New York Times, and Cell.