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George Saunders, Jess Walter among 2022 Portland Book Festival headliners

The Nov. 5 festival, presented by Literary Arts, is back to full in-person programming with 80 writers and presenters.


Spokane writer Jess Walter is among the headliners for the Nov. 5 Portland Book Festival.
Spokane writer Jess Walter is among the headliners for the Nov. 5 Portland Book Festival.

Literary Arts unveiled its lineup Wednesday night for this year’s Portland Book Festival, to be held Nov. 5. Returning to the downtown Park Blocks, Portland Art Museum, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, and other venues across the city after the pandemic led to hybrid online events the past couple of years, the festival is bigger than ever in its return to full in-person programming.

The lineup of 80 authors and presenters includes New York Times bestselling author George Saunders, Pulitzer Prize winner Andrew Sean Greer, The Cold Millions author Jess Walter, Diary of a Misfit memoirist Casey Parks, 2018 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Leila Mottley, New York Times bestseller Emiko Jean, and Godshot author Chelsea Bieker.

Of 40 anticipated events, two will take place in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Actress and activist Selma Blair will discuss her new memoir Mean Baby with Esmé Weijun Wang, and author of The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid, will be joined by Portland’s Cheryl Strayed.

Booker Prize winner George Saunders will be among the writers at the Portland Book Festival. Photo by: Dennis Nett

Executive Director Andrew Proctor welcomed guests to the festival’s downtown offices with a short history of the organization. Director of Public Programs Amanda Bullock spoke about the positive effects the festival is expected to have on the economic revitalization of downtown Portland, before revealing the much-awaited lineup in categories including children’s books, young adult, poetry, nonfiction, and fiction.

With the help of dozens of sponsors, Literary Arts is striving to make the Portland Book Festival – which was founded in 2005 as Wordstock – more universally appealing with additional events. A Friday Night Book Market will give attendees early access to book shopping for an additional cost of $15, and a children’s stage at the Portland Art Museum will offer arts and crafts opportunities for all ages. Youth under 18 will be admitted to the festival for free, and adult tickets range from $15 in advance to $25 day-of admission. Tickets include a $5 voucher to the book fair featuring Powell’s Books, Annie Bloom’s Books, Broadway Books, Green Bean Books, and more.

For a look at this year’s full Portland Book Festival lineup of authors and presenters, visit the Literary Arts website, and stay tuned for the announcement of the official schedule.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Amy Leona Havin is a poet, essayist, and arts journalist based in Portland, Oregon. She writes about language arts, dance, and film for Oregon ArtsWatch and is a staff writer with The Oregonian/OregonLive. Her work has been published in San Diego Poetry Annual, HereIn Arts Journal, Humana Obscura, The Chronicle, and others. She has been an artist-in-residence at Disjecta Contemporary Art Center, Archipelago Gallery, and Art/Lab, and was shortlisted for the Bridport International Creative Writing Prize in poetry. Havin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts and is the Artistic Director of Portland-based dance performance company, The Holding Project.

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