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2020/21 Portland Arts & Lectures: Yaa Gyasi (RESCHEDULED)

Yaa Gyasi is the author of the forthcoming novel, Transcendent Kingdom (Knopf, August 2020). Her best-selling debut novel, Homegoing (2016), is an intergenerational saga following two split branches of a Ghanaian family through three hundred years of history. Homegoing won the PEN/Hemingway Award and the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for best first book, was shortlisted for the British Book Award – Debut of the Year, was named a New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book, and was included on numerous Best Books of the Year lists. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates praised Homegoing as “an inspiration” and “what happens when you pair a gifted literary mind to an epic task.” Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama.…

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2020/21 Portland Arts & Lectures: Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo is a renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and was named the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States in 2019. Harjo is the author of nine books of poetry—most recently An American Sunrise—several plays and children’s books, and a memoir, Crazy Brave. She has received numerous prominent awards, including the 2017 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and 2015 Wallace Stevens Award. The Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, says: “Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.” Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Harjo earned her MFA at the Iowa Writ­ers’ Work­shop and has taught Eng­lish, Cre­ative Writ­ing, and Amer­i­can Indi­an Stud­ies at numerous universities, while per­form­ing music and poet­ry…

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2020/21 Portland Arts & Lectures: Ibram X. Kendi

Ibram X. Kendi is a New York Times bestselling author and the founding director of The Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. A professor of history and international relations, Kendi is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of The Black Campus Movement and Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which won the 2016 National Book Award for Nonfiction. Kendi was awarded the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship and he was honored on The Root 100 in 2019. Kendi’s third book, How to Be an Antiracist, debuted at no. 2 on the New York Times bestseller list and was hailed by the New York Times as “the most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western…

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2019/2020 Portland Arts & Lectures: Colson Whitehead (Sold Out)

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 theNew 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. The 35th season…

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Everybody Reads 2020: Tommy Orange

Celebrate the power of books to create a stronger community by attending the 2020 Everybody Reads author event with Tommy Orange. Literary Arts is proud to host an evening with award-winning author Tommy Orange as the culminating event of Multnomah County Library’s Everybody Reads program. This year’s programming will center on Orange’s debut novel, There There. Tickets start at $15, available at Portland5.com With the selection of There There, Everybody Reads 2020 centers around the experience of urban Native Americans in Oakland, California. Through a shared reading experience, we will explore a multitude of themes in the book, from identity and ownership to the urban-rural divide. About There There: Orange’s shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow,…

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2019/2020 Portland Arts & Lectures: Susan Orlean (Sold Out)

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.” The 35th season of Portland Arts & Lectures features some of the most engaging writers at work today. Our 2019/2020 season features George Packer, Amor Towles, Min Jin Lee, Susan Orlean, and Colson…

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2019/2020 Portland Arts & Lectures: Min Jin Lee (Sold Out)

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. The 35th season of Portland Arts & Lectures features some of the most engaging…

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The Moth Mainstage in Portland

The Moth returns to Portland this December! This extraordinary performance will sell out quickly, so reserve your seats early and experience unforgettable stories told live. Literary Arts and The Moth are bringing a new lineup of storytellers to Portland. Each Moth Mainstage show features five tellers who have developed their true stories about a given theme with help from The Moth’s directors. The Moth is a nonprofit dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. Since launching in 1997, The Moth has presented over 35,000 true personal stories, told live, without notes, to standing-room-only audiences around the globe. Renowned for showcasing a broad range of human experiences, The Moth produces approximately 600 live shows each year and has an ongoing presence in 30 cities worldwide.…

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Rupi Kaur

Rupi Kaur is a poet, artist, and performer. At the age of five, her mother handed her a paintbrush and said, “draw your heart out.” At seventeen, she happened upon a local open mic night where she performed her first spoken word poem. While studying at the University of Waterloo, Rupi wrote, illustrated, and self-published her first collection, milk and honey. In the years since, milk and honey has become an international phenomenon. It’s sold over 3 million copies, been translated into more than 35 languages, and landed as a #1 New York Times bestseller—where it has spent more than 100 consecutive weeks. Rupi’s long-awaited second collection, the sun and her flowers, was published in 2017 and debuted as a #1 global bestseller. Within the first three months it sold a million copies…

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2019/2020 Portland Arts & Lectures: Amor Towles (Sold Out)

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…

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