January's Top Book and Storytelling Events

Resolve to discover new writers in 2014 with January's literary events.

By Kristin Leigh January 8, 2014

While we might be short on sunshine, the next few dark Portland months are jam-packed with literary happenings. Whether you’re checking out the newest work by your favorite Portland author, or stepping up to the mic yourself, there is no shortage of book events you’ll want to attend this January. 

Cari Luna and Kevin Sampsell read at Slabtown
Thursday, Jan 9; Slabtown
Discover the new voices of Tin House Books featuring four authors reading from their recently published works: Cari Luna (The Revolution of Every Day), Dena Rash Guzman (Life Cycle), Justin Maurer (Seventeen Television), and local lit czar Kevin Sampell, who we profiled in preview of his debut novel, This Is Between Us

The Switch Reading Series at IPRC
Friday, Jan 10; IPRC
Portland gains yet another monthly reading series highlighting emerging writers, visual artists, and musicians with the Switch, and it’s popping up all over Portland in 2014. This month’s installment is hosted at the indie publishing hub IPRC, complete with live music and a curated art show in an evening celebrating Portland’s vibrant artistic community. Readers include poet Susan Landers (Franklinstein, and 248 mgs), writer C.E. Putnam (Poetry attache at P.I.S.O.R.), and Kelly Shirmann (co-author of Nature Machine, and founder of Black Cake, an audio chapbook record label)

Portland Poetry Slam’s Women of the World Qualifier
Sunday, Jan 12; Slabtown
If you’re a lady and you’ve secretly suspected you could bring down the house with your killer spoken word, Sunday is your last chance to throw your hat in the ring for the opportunity to compete in the biggest all–female poetry slam competition in the world, hosted this year in Austin.  

The Mountain Writers Series presents Steve Allred and Robin Cody
Wednesday, Jan 15; The  Press Club
The Mountain Writers Series gets 2014 off to a strong start with local author and busy literary man about town, Steve Allred (A Simplified Map of the Real World) and Oregon Book Award–winner Robin Cody (Another Way the River Has). Grab a glass of wine and settle into the cozy booths at the Press club for the first installment of this year’s intimate reading series. 

Gary Shteyngart
Saturday, Jan 18
Anointed one of the New Yorker’s 20 best writers under 40 after releasing his last book, the super-funny Super Sad True Love Story, this satirist now applies his wit to his own experience emigrating from the USSR in his new memoir, Little FailureRead our interview with Shteyngart, where the bestselling author talks about his new memoir, dealing with his parents, and kissing James Franco for his juicy book trailer.  

Gretchen Rubin
Tuesday, Jan 21; Powell’s Books Cedar Hills Crossing
Catch this two-time NYT-best-selling author read from her latest book, Happier At Home. Following her smash hit, The Happiness Project, Rubin takes on her second project armed with science, personal reflection, and a singular focus on making her home a source of simplicity, comfort, and love. 

Broadway Books Celebrates William Stafford’s Birthday
Thursday, Jan 28; Broadway Books 
Grab your favorite William Stafford poem and head out for an evening of storytelling and poetry remembering the life and work of the late Poet Laureate at Broadway Books. The event is hosted by Joanna Rose and will feature local authors Steve Allred, Jane Glazer, John Morrision, and Don Colburn.  


Michelle Williams in Meek's Cutoff

Rescheduled to April 4thBackfencePDX: “Reel Stories”
Thursday, Jan 30; Hollywood Theatre
BackfencePDX, the live, unscripted, totally true storytelling show, is changing the game this January. Featuring writer-filmmakers Jon Raymond (Rain Dragon, Meek's Cutoff), Arthur Bradford (Dogwalker, 6 Days to Air), and Brian Lindstrom (Finding Normal, Alien Boy: the Life and Death of James Chasse), Backfence presents an evening of storytelling featuring film clips intermingled with true, behind-the-scenes stories.

BackfencePDX: "Ch Ch Changes"
Saturday, Feb 1; Mission Theater
BackfencePDX's live, unscripted Mainstage Show presents dark, funny, true, and poignant stories about the pitfalls of Christian Clowning featuring the hilarious staff writer Lindy West (SEA), author of The Residue Years Mitchell S. Jackson (NYC, raised in NE PDX)This American Life contributor Gloria Harrison (PDX), school teacher Norina Beck (PDX)and Esquire magazine contributor Litsa Dremousis (SEA) 

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