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LitWatch August: Gain writing wisdom at Willamette Writers Conference

Other literary events feature authors Carey Wong, Brittney Corrigan, Casey Parks, and tunes on a beloved Eugene piano.


Mark Oshiro and Laura Stanfill will be keynote speakers at the 53rd annual Willamette Writers Conference.

August marks the 53rd annual Willamette Writers Conference, a five-day in-person and online literary event presented by Willamette Writers. From Aug. 3 through 7 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Northeast Portland or from the comfort of your home computer, join more than 50 writing professionals as they share their wisdom through master classes, lectures, roundtables, and discussions. There will be opportunities to receive feedback and pitch finished work to agents and publishers in one-on-one virtual meetings, as well as to converse with other writers from the region.

Keynote speakers are Mark Oshiro and Laura Stanfill. Originally from New Jersey, Stanfill is the author of Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary and publisher of Forest Avenue Press. According to the author’s website, “She believes in indie bookstores and wishes on them like stars from her home in Portland, Oregon, where she resides with her family and Waffles the dog.“ Stanfill will speak from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Oshiro, author of the award-winning YA book Anger Is a Gift, will speak from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. They are the co-author with Rick Riordan of a forthcoming Percy Jackson novel and in their free time “are trying to pet every dog in the world.”

You can still register for the Willamette Writers Conference and take part in sessions including “Small Press & Indie Publishing,” “How to Write a Marketable Screenplay,” “Just the Facts: How to Sell A Nonfiction Book.” Conference registration ranges from $229 to $549. Check out the full schedule on the conference website.

Week 1: Aug. 1-7

Chelsea T. Hicks in Conversation with Trevino L. Brings Plenty
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland

Chelsea T. Hicks is a member of the Osage tribe and strives to tell the stories of young Native people, namely through heartwarming and poignant stories in her newest book A Calm & Normal Heart. She will speak with poet and musician Trevino L. Brings Plenty, a Native American author whose work “explores the American Indian identity in American culture and how it has through genealogical history affected Indigenous peoples in the 21st century.”


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Carey Wong’s work includes scenic design for Tacoma Opera’s 1999 production of “Madama Butterfly.”  Wong will sign copies of his book Aug. 6 at the Portland Chinatown Museum. Photo courtesy: Carey Wong

The World Transformed: Book Signing with Carey Wong
Presented by Portland Chinatown Museum
3 to 4 p.m. (members) and 4 to 5:30 p.m. (non-members) Saturday, Aug. 6
Portland Chinatown Museum
127 N.W. Third Ave., Portland
$20 members, $25 non-members

Carey Wong is a scenic designer and author based in Seattle whose resume includes eight seasons as general production manager and resident designer at Portland Opera. The World Transformed, a 40-year retrospective of his work, is on view at the Portland Chinatown Museum until Sept. 10. He will be signing books on Saturday.

Week 2: Aug. 8-14

In-Store Poetry Reading: Brittney Corrigan and Jessica Pierce
Presented by Annie Bloom’s Books
7 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 8
Annie Bloom’s Books
7834 S.W. Capitol Hwy., Portland

Reed College alumna Brittney Corrigan will read poems from Daughters, a collection that reconstructs traditional ideas of mythology, folklore, and fairy tales. She will be joined by Pushcart Prize nominee Jessica Pierce, poet and author of Consider the Body, Winged. Signed copies will be available for purchase at this first-come, first-served event.

Nicole Meier will lead a pair of writing workshops at Bend’s Roundabout Books.

Writing Workshop with Nicole Meier
Presented by Roundabout Books
9 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9
5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19
Roundabout Books
900 N.W. Mt. Washington Drive, No. 110, Bend
$45 per session

Author of Blueprint for a Book and Author Accelerator Certified Book Coach, Nicole Meyer will lead participants through an abridged version of her book in a writing class all about story structure and development. This class, for both fiction and memoir writers, will occur twice at Roundabout Books. Each class requires separate registration and payment.


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Adam White and Justin Taylor in Conversation
Presented by Literary Arts
7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 9
Literary Arts
925 S.W. Washington St., Portland

Writing teacher and author Adam White will talk about his debut novel, The Midcoast, with Justin Tayor, Riding With the Ghost memoirist and The Literary Review fiction editor. Their conversation will be moderated by Steve Nelson of Northwest Review.

Week 3: Aug. 15-21

Michelle Wilde Anderson

Michelle Wilde Anderson in Conversation with Kate Dwyer
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland

Author and urban law expert Michelle Wilde Anderson will talk about her new book, The Fight to Save the Town, with Kate Dwyer, executive director of Four Way Community Foundation. Anderson’s book examines the lives of people living in towns and cities devastated by poverty, often resulting from funding cuts to local government agencies. While occasionally tragic, “this book is not a eulogy or lament” (Powell’s), but instead focuses on communities are on the verge of progressing.

Week 4: Aug. 22-31

Tim Shaner and Ty Connor: Stories From the Edge of Eugene
Presented by Tsunami Books
7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25
Tsunami Books
2585 Willamette St., Eugene
Suggested donation $5-$20


All Classical Radio James Depreist

Lane Community College English Professor Tim Shaner will read from his book Noch Ein at the Stein (tales of life at the Bier Stein). He will be joined by theater professional and musician Ty Conner, playing Tsunami Books’ beloved baby grand piano. Masks are encouraged for this event.

Author and reporter Casey Parks

Casey Parks in Conversation with Anna Griffin
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 23
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland

Washington Post reporter Casey Parks, formerly a reporter for The Oregonian, will discuss her book Diary of a Misfit, in which she embarks on an epic journey to uncover the mystery of a singer from her grandmother’s past. Parks, who “is forced to reckon with her own sexuality, her fraught Southern identity” (Powell’s) travels through rural Louisiana to compile once-lost information, finding herself along the way. She will be joined by Anna Griffin, vice president of news at Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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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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