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LitWatch July: The Cheese War, illegal lumber trading, and Ursula K. Le Guin

July heats up with a revisionist anthology reconsidering "Sex and the Single Girl" and a panel discussion of Oregon author Ursula K. Le Guin.

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I know that many men and even women are afraid and angry when women do speak, because in this barbaric society, when women speak truly they speak subversively — they can’t help it: If you’re underneath, if you’re kept down, you break out, you subvert. We are volcanoes. When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change. There are new mountains. That’s what I want — to hear you erupting. You young Mount St. Helenses who don’t know the power in you — I want to hear you.”

― Ursula K. Le Guin, Bryn Mawr Commencement Address (1986)

Beloved Oregon resident and author Ursula K. Le Guin, who died at the age of 88 in 2018, was known for her speculative fiction, science fiction, and Earthsea young-adult fantasy series. While many of us may have grown up following the chronicles of A Wizard of Earthsea’s main character, Ged, as he attended wizarding school, others might be more familiar with her incredibly popular 1969 gender-disrupting novel The Left Hand of Darkness

Ursula K. Le Guin’s literary legacy will be the subject of a panel discussion July 15.

Le Guin, whose work is as poignant now as when written in the 1960s and 70s, often explores themes of feminism, gender, sexuality, and political catastrophe, drawing from Taoism and Jungian schools of teaching. She was particularly influential in her genre, inspiring award-winning contemporary authors such as Neil Gaiman and Salman Rushdie and was celebrated for her bold statements on moral development, colonialism, and imperialism ― writing heavily on matriarchal utopia with distaste and disapproval of war.

At 6 p.m. Friday, July 15, her son, Theo Downes-Le Guin, will moderate Better Worlds: A Panel on Ursula K. Le Guin’s Legacy of Pacifism and Environmentalism at Literary Arts in Portland. The panel of Becky Chambers (A Prayer for the Crown-Shy), Juhea Kim (Beasts of a Little Land), and Michelle Ruiz Keil (Summer in the City of Roses, All of Us With Wings) will discuss Le Guin’s works and legacy. Proof of vaccination must be shown to gain entry to this event.

Week 1: July 1-7

Starting the Story
Presented by Literary Arts
Noon to 2 p.m. Wednesdays, July 6-27, via ZOOM
$200, access rates available

Margaret Malone, 2016 PEN Hemingway Award finalist and author of People Like You, will host a four-session workshop about generating new written work. Participants will share excerpts of their work, read aloud, and learn ways to maintain a consistent writing practice.

Week 2: July 8-14

Tiana Clark, Vanessa Friedman & Shayla Lawson in Conversation with Katherine Morgan
Presented by Powell’s Books
5 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, via ZOOM
Free

Editors Eliza Smith and Haley Swanson bring together the contemporary voices of 24 leading feminist writers, including Tiana Clark, Vanessa Friedman, and Shayla Lawson, for an updated take on Helen Gurley Brown’s 1962 Sex and the Single Girl.  The authors will converse with Katherine Morgan, author of No Self-Respecting Woman, about the original groundbreaking book, their revisionist anthology, and finding joy as a single individual in the modern age.

Double Book Launch: Eleanor Berry and Abigail Brandt
Presented by Salem Poetry Project
7 p.m. Wednesday, July 13
Broadway Café Amphitheater
1300 Broadway St. NE, Salem
Free

Eleanor Berry, 2022 Grayson Books Chapbook Award recipient, lost her home to the Beachie Creek fire in 2020. Her new book of poems addresses the aftermath. She will be joined by co-founder of the Santa Barbara Poetry Festival, Abigail Brandt, to read from their newest books, Works of Wildfire and Bones of My Life, during a double book launch in front of Broadway Café.

Week 3: July 15-21

Sponsor
Chamber Music Northwest Lincoln Recital Hall Portland State University Portland Oregon

Better Worlds: A Panel on Ursula K. Le Guin’s Legacy of Pacifism and Environmentalism
Presented by Literary Arts
6 p.m. Friday, July 15
Literary Arts
925 S.W. Washington St., Portland
Free

Author and son of Ursula K. Le Guin, Theo Downes-Le Guin, will moderate a panel discussion by Becky Chambers (A Prayer for the Crown-Shy), Juhea Kim (Beasts of a Little Land), and Michelle Ruiz Keil (Summer in the City of Roses, All of Us With Wings) on the works and legacy of the celebrated American writer. Proof of vaccination is required for entry.

The Great Word Regatta, courtesy of The Poetry Box

The Great Word Regatta
Presented by The Poetry Box
7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, July 16
Rose City Book Pub
1329 N.E. Fremont St., Portland
Free

The Poetry Box will present co-founder and publisher Shawn Aveningo-Sanders (Liquid Perishable Hazardous) along with authors Michael Schein (What She Was Wearing), Annie Lighthart (Pax and Iron String), and Matthew Brouwer (The Gospel According to Matthew) performing work from their newest chapbooks at an event celebrating local poets. Proof of vaccination is required for entry.

Lyndsie Bourgon in Conversation With Ed Jahn
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Tuesday, July 19
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free, signed books available

Lyndsie Bourgon, author of Tree Thieves, uncovers the dark truths of the illegal lumber trade in her new book from publisher Little Brown Spark. Through investigative reporting, she follows three timber-poaching cases while exploring environmental impacts, timber cartels, and the connection between preservation and marginalized communities. Bourgon will be joined by Ed Jahn, executive editor for OPB Science & Environment.

Cannon Beach Reads: James Agee, “A Death in the Family”
Presented by Cannon Beach Library
7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, via ZOOM
Free

Phyllis Bernt will lead a discussion based on the Cannon Beach Reads July book club pick, A Death in the Family by James Agee. While some knowledge of the autobiographical story of love, tragedy, and family conflict is encouraged, new members are always welcome to this virtual event. Email Joe Bernt at berntj@ohio.edu to join the discussion.

Local Author Event With Brenda Johnson
Presented by Tsunami Books
7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 21
Tsunami Books
2585 Willamette St., Eugene
Free

“I’ve written a memoir, and you might say, What? Brenda isn’t famous. Right. But the famous — the Nelson Mandelas and Maya Angelous — write autobiographies. Those who want to tell a story, and we all have a story about love and loss, the wise and worn, the silly and sublime, write memoirs,” says author Brenda Johnson. She will appear at Tsunami Books to read from her new book, Get Over It (maybe not all of it), about sorrow, suffering, and the things she wants to get over.

Sisters Linda Kirk (left) and Marilyn Milne wrote “Cheese War“ to add to the historic record and try to figure out what the fight was about.
Sisters Linda Kirk (left) and Marilyn Milne wrote “Cheese War“ to add to the historic record and try to figure out what the fight was about.

Marilyn Milne & Linda Kirk: “Cheese War”
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Thursday, July 21
Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills Crossing
3415 S.W. Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton
Free

Sisters Marilyn Milne and Linda Kirk were there when Tillamook County’s small local dairy farms started turning into large factories that dictated the market during the 1960s. The so-called Cheese War ensued, as small farmers found themselves in a fight tied to the American obsession with faster food supply and efficiency over quality. Milne and Kirk’s book “is the story of the very human factors behind one of Oregon’s most iconic brands.” (Oregon State University Press)

Week 4: July 22-31

Jon Raymond in Conversation With Leni Zumas
Presented by Powell’s Books
7 p.m. Wednesday, July 27
Powell’s City of Books
1005 W. Burnside St., Portland
Free

First Cow, Meek’s Cutoff, and Mildred Pierce screenwriter Jon Raymond will read from his newest futuristic thriller Denial. In 2052 in a world devastated by climate change, Pacific Northwest journalist Jack Henry makes an unlikely friend of a fugitive oil tycoon partially at fault for the decaying state of the planet. Raymond will be joined by Leni Zumas, author of Red Clocks.

Michael Pollan will discuss his book, “This Is Your Mind on Plants,” with Dave Miller of “Think Out Loud.” Photo by: Tabitha Soren

Michael Pollan in Conversation With Dave Miller
Presented by Literary Arts
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 27
Newmark Theatre
1111 S.W. Broadway Ave., Portland
$28 plus service change, includes one book

Michael Pollan will be joined by OPB’s host of Think Out Loud, Dave Miller, to discuss Pollan’s latest book This Is Your Mind on Plants, which focuses on three main plant drugs: caffeine, opium, and mescaline. Pollan will discuss the difference between licit and illicit drugs, our human attraction to psychoactive plants, and how they can affect us in positive ways.

Amy Leona Havin is a writer, choreographer, and filmmaker based in Portland, Oregon. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, Washington, and is the Artistic Director of Portland-based multi-media dance company The Holding Project. Her works can be read in Humana Obscura, San Diego Poetry Annual, The Dust Magazine, The Chronicle, Mountain Bluebird Magazine, and others, and she has been shortlisted for the Bridport International Writing Competition Prize in Poetry. Havin’s artistic process is rooted in classical and somatic movement practices, non-fiction writing, and honoring the landscape of the natural world.

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