Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
It's already sold out, but no Spring Arts Guide would be complete without mention of the upcoming lecture by author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Two of her books, Americanah and We Should All Be Feminists, are this year's selections for Everybody Reads—a partnership between the Multnomah County Library, the Library Foundation and Literary Arts. Americanah is brilliant and Adichie is a riveting speaker; if scalping tickets to book events isn't already a thing, this might be cause for it.
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, portland5.com, 7:30 pm Thursday, March 15, Sold out
Oregon Book Awards
If there are two things I love, it's books and competition, which means I'm very excited about this year's Oregon Book Awards. Hosted by Cheryl Strayed, they feature awards in fiction, poetry, nonfiction, children's literature and drama. I can't tell you who will win, but I can tell you that if Leni Zumas doesn't win the fiction award for Red Clocks, I will be all out of both pride and money.
Gerding Theatre at the Armory, 128 NW 11th Ave., literary-arts.org, 7:30 pm Monday, April 22, $12-$65
Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference
This spring, Portland not only hosts the usual spring programming by its venerable literary institutions, it will also be home to the 2019 Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference. Sponsored by writing programs across the country, this year's conference features a book fair, a membership meeting, and readings all over town. Highlights on the schedule include a happy hour with Lidia Yuknavitch's Corporeal Writing team, an edition of Kate Gray's Incite: Queer Writers Read series, and readings put on by McSweeney's and The Rumpus.
Various venues and times; see awpwriter.org for a full schedule, Wednesday-Saturday, March 27-30
Miriam Toews garnered critical acclaim in 2014 with her novel All My Puny Sorrows. Now she's returning to Portland with one of this year's most buzzed-about new releases, Women Talking. The book finds Toews once again taking on the Mennonite community (she was raised in a small one in Canada before fleeing after high school). The novel is the fictional minutes from a meeting of eight women who, after enduring heinous sex crimes, must decide whether to stay in their community. Both topical and darkly funny, Women Talking is likely to top many best-of-the-year lists.
Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., powells.com, 7:30 pm Tuesday, April 30, Free
Portland author Karen Russell is a New York Times best-selling author for both Swamplandia!, a novel about a family of alligator wrestlers, and Vampires in the Lemon Grove, a short-story collection. This spring, she will release another anthology, Orange World and Other Stories. It features tales of a man falling in love with a woman preserved in a bog, women fleeing the Depression, and a woman who breast-feeds the devil. All are delivered with the wit and brilliance through which Russell made her name.
Powell's City of Books, 1005 W Burnside St., powells.com, 7:30 pm Friday, May 24, Free