A Windfall of Winter Readings

With the sun on its winter-long hiatus and November chock full of literary happenings, what better time to thrown on your peacoat and head out through the night to one of these storytelling events?

By Kristin Leigh November 12, 2013

Armed with our well–loved library cards and tortoise shell glasses, book-loving Portlanders enjoy an embarrassingly rich literary scene brimming with indie bookstores and swoon–worthy authors. Come wintertime, nothing beats nursing a mug of tea (or a tumbler of whiskey) and listening to gorgeously wrought stories that transport you to more inspired, if not sunnier, destination of the imagination.

  • • November 15Witness Portland’s small press guru Kevin Sampsell read from his debut novel, This Is Between Us, at Powell’s City of Books (1005 W Burnside). He breaks out of memoir and essay for his first full–length fiction tome and you won’t want to miss it. To learn more, read our profile of Sampsell.

Portland Poetry Slam—November 17 & 24: Experience firsthand the anything-goes, punk-rock ethos of Portland's slam poets (and bring along some verse to read if you dare) at this all ages, open–mike event with sign–ups closing at 7:40 pm and a suggested donation of $5 at Slabtown (1033 NW 16th Ave.).

• November 17—Check out authors Craig Dworkin (Remotes) and Elizabeth Block (A Gesture Through Time) at the Spare Room reading series, inside the light–filled, spacious Blackfish Gallery (420 NW 9th). This free series features experimental poetry starting at 7:30 pm.

• November 20—Listen to the vibrant, narrative–driven poems of Nance Van Winkle (Pacific Walkers) in person at the Mountain Writers Series at the Press Club (2621 SE Clinton St). This monthly series gathers the third Wednesday of each month in the relaxed eatery's lounge, where you can snack on crepes and sip your favorite pinot noir while local literary luminaries share their newest work.

• November 21—Fiction, poetry and short story forms head off with the Loggernaut readings series hosted at Literary Arts at 7 pm (925 SW Washington St). Lit darling Alexis Smith (Glaciers) joins up with poet extroidinare Alicia Jo Rabins (A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff), and author Gregory Spatz (Inushuk, No One But Us, and Fiddler’s Dream) for an evening themed "Drive."

• November 22—Listen to live, unscripted, true stories being told for the first time in front of a live audience at the rollicking BackfencePDX at the Mission theatre (1624 NW Glisan). Storytellers include Lauren Weedman, Julie Sabatier, Matt Sheehy, Alia Al-Humaidhi, Thom Young, Buck Ball, Erik Meharry, Ryan Gregory, and Ben Phillips. With the night’s theme titled ominously "Recipe for Disaster." what could possibly go wrong? $12.50—$20 advance per person, $16 day of show.

• November 23—Produced by the folks who bring you BackfencePDX, the Russian Roulette show at Disjecta (8371 N Interstate Ave) invites storytellers to compete for prizes, spinning a wheel of story prompts with only five harrowing minutes to prepare a true story based on the prompt. $15 advance per person, $17 day of the show.

• November 26– Everyone’s favorite lit journal has released 15th anniversary journal, The Best of McSweeney’s, to celebrate its best work to date. Authors Jess Walter (Beautiful Ruins), Arthur Bradford (Dogwalker) and Jordan Bass will be there to get the party started. 

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