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2019/2020 Portland Arts & Lectures: Colson Whitehead (virtual event)

September 24, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm

Online, N/A, Portland, OR 97207

Colson whitehead will be joined POST-LECTURE In conversation with Mitchell S. Jackson.

This event is underwritten by The Eberwein Family

NOTE: Colson Whitehead will not be traveling in person to Portland this season. Rather than wait until 2022 for an in-person event, we have decided to make this event virtual and will take place on Thursday, September 24, 2020.

What you need to know:

  • High Quality: This event will have a high production value, and will deliver a unique evening with one of our greatest writers at work today.  This event will only be available to subscribers to the 2019-20 season, which is sold out, via a private channel online.
  • More Communication Coming: We will be sending you more emailed information on how you can access the event online. We appreciate your patience, as we transition to virtual programming.
  • Refund Requests Accepted: While it is not our usual policy to refund all or partial subscriptions, we understand these are unprecedented times, and will be accepting refund requests that will be one-fifth of your 2019/2020 subscription cost. Our staff is continuing to work remotely, and while we are monitoring phone lines, email is the best way to keep in touch. Questions or concerns can be sent to la@literary-arts.org or you can call us at: 503-227-2583 M-F, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Please note: this rescheduled event is NOT considered part of the 2020/21 Portland Arts & Lectures season line-up. It is the conclusion of the 2019/20 series, which is sold-out.

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.

The series will close on September 24 with Colson Whitehead, author of The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad, a New York Times best seller which won the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction and the National Book Award.

The 2019/2020 season is sold-out. 2020/ 2021 season subscriptions available now.

Subscribe to The Archive Project, Literary Arts’ radio show and podcast, to hear 35 years of lectures for free.

Colson Whitehead’s novel, The Underground Railroad, is the winner of both the 2016 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. One of the most critically acclaimed novels in recent years, the book was a #1 New York Times bestseller, an Oprah’s Book Club 2016 selection, and Amazon’s #1 book of 2016, in addition to being included on numerous 2016 best books lists, including The New York Times‘ and The Washington Post’s top ten books of the year.  Describing the book, Oprah Winfrey writes, “From the first page of Colson Whitehead’s extraordinary novel The Underground Railroad I knew I was reading something ground-shifting.” The Underground Railroad is a magnificent tour de force that chronicles a young slave’s journey during a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. The novel is a shattering meditation on the United States’ complicated political and racial history. “The Underground Railroad reanimates the slave narrative, disrupts our settled sense of the past and stretches the ligaments of history right into our own era.” (The Washington Post). In April 2017 Whitehead was named one of Time Magazine‘s “100 Most Influential People.” A dynamic speaker, Whitehead lectures with his characteristic honesty and wit. He is a winsome storyteller and captivates audiences with inspiring anecdotes about his diverse bibliography, irreverent “Rules for Writing,” and how he came to write his powerful new novel. Whitehead is the New York Times bestselling author of The IntuitionistJohn Henry DaysThe Colossus of New York (a book of essays about the city), Apex Hides the HurtSag HarborZone One, and The Noble Hustle. His writing has appeared in The New York TimesThe New YorkerNew York MagazineHarper’s, and Granta among other publications. A PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, he is the recipient of both a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has taught at universities across the country. Whitehead’s 2019 book, The Nickel Boys, is an exploration of life under Jim Crow told from the perspective of two boys in one of the country’s most notorious juvenile correction institutions, the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys, located in the Florida panhandle. This meticulously researched and searing book was an instant New York Times bestseller and won the 2020 Pulitzer Prize in fiction. It was also longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award and nominated for The National Book Critics Circle Award. Colson Whitehead will be receiving the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction during the 2020 Library of Congress National Book Festival.

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.


Portland, OR 97207


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