How to Check Out Tin House's Superstar Authors This Month

An outsider's insider guide to the Tin House reading series

By Chelsea Bieker July 1, 2013 Published in the July 2013 issue of Portland Monthly

Tin House magazine’s annual workshop is known for a sophisto-summer-camp atmosphere: cocktails, dancing, hyperliterate small-talk ... like ’20s Paris reborn at verdant Reed College. (Well, we can dream.) Most of the fun is reserved for 225 workshop students, handpicked from this year’s record field of 600 applicants. But luckily, the masses can drop in for evening readings in Reed’s outdoor amphitheater. The workshop’s stars hold forth, books are signed, and the unwritten summer commandment to mingle culture and grass stains is fulfilled.

All readings begin at 8 p.m. and cost $5.


If laughter is important to you

Steve Almond

Hilarious contributor to The Rumpus, author of fiction and nonfiction, including Candyfreak: A Journey Through the Chocolate Underbelly of America. Tuesday, July 16


If you love America’s glowering greats (Carver, Steinbeck, O’Connor)

Charles D’Ambrosio

Portland transplant, short-story master, New Yorker regular, known for darkly humorous and affecting drama. Wednesday, July 17


If you like poetry to make you feel weird in a good way

Maggie Nelson

A nationally acclaimed poet, critic, and essayist. Her Bluets is a heartbreakingly beautiful book about, well, the color blue: “Suppose I were to begin by saying that I had fallen in love with a color....” Wednesday, July 17 


If you have a thing for Pulitzer nominees, awesome magical realism, and werewolves

Karen Russell

Author of two short-story collections, including this year’s raved-up Vampires in the Lemon Grove, and Swamplandia!, a novel nominated for the Pulitzer in 2012, when the committee notoriously declined to give a prize at all. Thursday, July 18     


If you obsessed over Wild, Portlander Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of hiking the Pacific Coast Trail

Cheryl Strayed

For those who resorted to attempting to friend the Oprah-approved local star on Facebook, or even just thought about it, here’s a chance to say hi. Friday, July 19


If you love history, travel, and elegant, penetrating prose

Anthony Doerr

With four O. Henry prizes to his credit, Doerr pens fiction and essays that roam from Idaho’s woods to Italy to Africa to New Zealand. Saturday, July 20



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