Book Festival

The Essential Guide to Wordstock 2016

Portland’s beloved book festival boasts more than 100 authors all crammed into one short day. We’ve made an itinerary for the time-pressed and book-besotted.

By Portland Monthly Staff November 2, 2016

2015 wordstock cecily wong popup kfqxcs

Author Cecily Wong reads among the art at Wordstock 2015. 

Portland’s best-loved book festival is back—big, busy, and brimming with writers—and now takes in a bunch of new venues, allowing for ever more events and even more scheduling conflicts. You want our advice on how to make the best of this jam-packed day of literary delights? Read on.

Kick off your day (post caffeine, obvis) in the sumptuous Schnitz with National Book Award Winner Sherman Alexie, interviewed for OPB’s Think Out Loud by host Dave Miller. Alexie will be talking about his first picture book, Thunder Boy Jr, the tale of a boy struggling to step out of his father’s shadow. 10 a.m., Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

If you can hoof it, forage for some free-range kids and drag them to the Portland Art Museum for storytime from illustrator and author Nikki McClure, reading from her book Waiting for High Tide. 11 a.m., Portland Art Museum's Miller Gallery

Dump the children and stroll back to the Schnitz, where acclaimed novelist Colson Whitehead (who counts Obama among his readers) joins Ghanaian-born Yaa Gyasi (Ta-Nehisi Coates famously blurbed her debut novel) for a conversation with Portland’s Rukaiyah Adams on the legacy of America’s slave trade. 12 p.m., Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall

Grab a quick bite at the food carts along the way and get yourself to the Winningstad for OPB’s Female Power Hour, where Amber J. Keyser, Wendy MacNaughton, Caroline Paul, and Ruby McConnell talk sex, adventure, and wild living with OPB’s Julie Sabatier, Allison Frost, and Amelia Templeton. 1:30 p.m., Winningstad Theatre

You've got just enough time to teleport back to the Portland Art Museum for Alexandra Kleeman’s pop-up reading from her short story collection Intimations at the Warhol Exhibit. 2:30 p.m., Portland Art Museum's Main Building

Come down from your estrogen high at the United Church of Christ with a discussion of inequality in America—"Tales of Two Americas"—brought to you by Nobody’s Fool author Richard Russo, Swamplandia!’s Karen Russell, and poet Kevin Young, and moderated by writer and former Granta editor John Freeman. 3:15 p.m., First Congregational United Church of Christ

New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Lethem, Italo Calvino Prize winner Helen Phillips, and National Book Award finalist Dana Spiotta come together to discuss the stories and characters from strange worlds, with Knives & Ink author Isaac Fitzgerald moderating. 4:15 p.m., Portland Art Museum’s Whitsell Auditorium

Carrie Brownstein needs little introduction in this town, with Sleater-Kinney and Portlandia making her one of the most recognizable faces in Portland. Here she takes the stage with author Jon Raymond to talk about her memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl 5 p.m., First Congregational United Church of Christ

All this, and we haven't even mentioned Lindy West, Peter Carlin, Nicholson Baker, Sunil Yapa, Maria Semple, and appearances from Portland Monthly editor in chief Zach Dundas and arts editor Fiona McCann. And more. So much more. Clear your schedules, Portlanders. You've a busy day ahead. 

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