2017/2018 Portland Arts & Lectures Season
In addition to live events that are 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 33rd 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 12, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
George Saunders is the author of four collections of short stories, a novella, and a book of essays; his first novel, New York Times best seller Lincoln in the Bardo, was published in February 2017, and his most recent story collection, Tenth of December, is the winner of the 2015 Story Prize and the 2014 Folio Prize, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. Dave Eggers said, “George Saunders is a complete original, unlike anyone else, thank god… There is no one better, no one more essential to our national sense of self and sanity.” He is the recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant, and of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and he was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time magazine in 2013.
Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Dr. Reza Aslan is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside, and a cooperative faculty member in the department of religion. He holds a bachelor’s degree in religious studies, with a minor in Greek; a master of theological studies degree from Harvard University, in history of world religious; a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the sociology of religions; as well as an MFA from the University of Iowa. He is the host of the new CNN series Believer. Aslan edited the anthology Tablet and Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, and he has written four books on religion: No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and future of Islam; Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization; Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, a #1 New York Times best seller; and, forthcoming in November of 2017, god.
Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Jesmyn Ward received her MFA from the University of Michigan and was a recipient of a Stegner Fellowship, a John and Renee Grisham Writers Residency, and the Strauss Living Prize. She is currently an associate professor of creative writing at Tulane University and author of the novels Where the Line Bleeds and Salvage the Bones, which won the 2011 National Book Award. Her memoir, Men We Reaped, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize and the Media for a Just Society Award. The New York Times wrote that Ward is: “An important contemporary voice: a sensitive, lyrical narrator of difficult stories from the land of Faulkner and Welty.” She lives in Mississippi. Her new novel, Sing Unburied Sing, is forthcoming in September 2017.
Thursday, February 8, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Claudia Rankine is the author of five collections of poetry including Citizen: An American Lyric and Don’t Let Me Be Lonely, two plays, numerous video collaborations, and is the editor of several anthologies including The Racial Imaginary. For Citizen, Rankine won the 2016 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry, the Forward Prize for Best Collection, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the PEN Open Book Award, and the NAACP Image Award. A finalist for the National Book Award, Citizen also holds the distinction of being the only poetry book to be a New York Times best seller in the nonfiction category. Hilton Als said: “Citizen comes at you like doom. It’s the best note in the wrong song that is America. Its various realities — ‘mistaken’ identity, social racism, the whole fabric of urban and suburban life — are almost too much to bear, but you bear them, because it’s the truth.” Among her numerous awards and honors, Rankine is the recipient of the Poets & Writers’ Jackson Poetry Prize and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in California and teaches at Yale University as the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry.
Viet Thanh Nguyen
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel The Sympathizer is a New York Times best seller and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction from the American Library Association. Nguyen has published two books of nonfiction, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, a finalist for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award in General Nonfiction; and Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. His current book is a short story collection, The Refugees.
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