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Portland Book Festival Announces 2021 Lineup, Virtual Programming

The “hybrid event” will hold in-person readings on a single day, in November, but the week preceding it will have a robust amount of virtual programming.

On Wednesday, Sept. 22, Literary Arts unveiled its plans for this year’s Portland Book Festival. Like many years before, the festival will hold in-person events on a single day—this year it’s Saturday, Nov. 13—at the Portland Art Museum and Portland’5. The week preceding it, Nov. 8-12, will have a robust amount of virtual programming.

“Virtual events will be broadcast from our bookstore partners and Literary Arts’ downtown headquarters, bringing part of Portland to viewers all over the world for these nightly literary events,” Amanda Bullock, Literary Arts’ director of public programs, said in a press release.

The festival’s virtual pass is priced on a sliding scale ($0-$100) and includes access to all five days of online programming—including talks by Maggie Nelson (On Freedom), Aminder Dhaliwal (Cyclopedia Exotica) and Lauren Groff (Matrix).

Passes for the in-person day are $15 in advance and $25 walk-up. Like many other Portland events, all attendees must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test—taken within 72 hours of event—to attend. Portland Book Festival also intends to keep capacity at the venues to 75%.

Anyone who’s attended Portland Book Festival in previous years knows there are no reservations for any of the readings or discussions, and seating is first come, first served. Past years have led to some fairly packed rooms. The audience cap simultaneously may lead to a more pleasant experience and also run the risk of shutting some out. Hopefully, the virtual programming—which actually has me as interested or more than the in-person—can offset some of that inevitable demand.

In-person attendees are no doubt hotly anticipating when they can make their STRIKE PLAN: a strategic list of what readings to attend, and a map of the most direct routes to subsequent readings—with time budgeted and difficult choices made about the likely length of the desired subsequent event’s lines.

However, Literary Arts won’t release the full schedule until October. Until then, you can read about all the presenters on the festival’s website.

Also, for now, here are the in-person and virtual lists so you can create a STRIKE PLAN of whether you want to attend the remote festival, the in-person day or both!

Virtual authors:

Julia Cooke, Aminder Dhaliwal, Rita Dove, Lauren Groff, Jasmine Guillory, Danielle Henderson, Nathan Harris, Donika Kelly, Maggie Nelson, Ruth Ozeki, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Atsuro Riley, Brandon Taylor, Devon Walker-Figueroa, Qian Julie Wang

In-person authors:

Myriam J.A. Chancy, Ash Davidson, Amelia Díaz Ettinger, Omar El Akkad, Louise Erdrich, Stacy D. Flood, Emily Kendal Frey, J.C. Geiger, Ben Hodgson & Laura Moulton, Sonora Jha, Michelle Ruiz Keil, Kate Lebo, Joshua McFadden, Teresa K. Miller, Emilly Prado, Kristen Radtke, Alissa M. Sallah, Eli Saslow, Gary Shteyngart, Dao Strom, Chris Stuck, Shruti Swamy, Theodore C. Van Alst Jr., Willy Vlautin, Claire Vaye Watkins, Douglas Wolk, Cecily Wong, Margot Wood