Most people think of reading as a solitary act, but Portlanders are not like most people. Last year, on a typically rainy November day in Oregon, more than 8,500 readers rubbed shoulders at the relaunched Wordstock: Portland's Book Festival. The festival was a little different this time around, boasting a new energy and a new presenter: Literary Arts, a community-based nonprofit with a 32-year history of serving Oregon's readers and writers. Its team gave Portland a book festival to remember with a star-studded lineup, and the city came out in droves.
In 2016, Wordstock is coming back in full force with a long list of improvements and amenities. The festival's footprint has expanded to include six new venues across the South Park Blocks area. While the core of the festival remains at the gorgeous Portland Art Museum, new stages include the 2,700-seat Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, the Brunish Theatre, the Winningstad Theatre, Oregon Historical Society, the Old Church, and the NW Film Center. Not only do these venues double the seating capacity, they offer stunning spaces to soak up lively discussions and readings from more than 100 authors. Advanced tickets are $15, and include all-day admission to the Portland Art Museum as well as a $5 book voucher to spend at the expanded book fair hosting nearly 80 vendors. Attendees can also check out local music from Portland'5's Music on Main and a perfect mix of local food trucks, including Bunk Sandwiches, Whole Bowl, Pip's Original Doughnuts, and more.
Amanda Bullock, Literary Arts' director of public programs, led the curation of this year's festival, which features authors who published work in the past 18 months. This will ensure onstage discussionswill be focused on today's most pressing and pertinent issues. At Wordstock 2016, you can spend your day taking in all the enlightenment literature can offer: Hear Colson Whitehead and Yaa Gyasi discuss the institution and legacy of the slave trade. See Portland's golden chef Naomi Pomeroy as she discusses the restaurant scene with up-and-coming author Stephanie Danler. For art enthusiasts, catch Christopher Rothko and Tin House's Rob Spillman as they investigate the ties between creative life and their families. Catch New York Times best-selling author Alice Hoffman in conversation with Multnomah County Library's Vailey Oehlke, and National Book Award–winning author and poet Sherman Alexie chat with Oregon Public Broadcasting's Dave Miller.
What do you say, Portland? Are you ready for literature to take the city by storm on Saturday, Nov. 5? Plan to join Literary Arts at Wordstock: Portland's Book Festival. Tickets and festival tickets atliterary-arts.org.