Literary Festival

Who Are the Writers Psyched to See at Wordstock?

The day-long lit fest hits Portland this Saturday. We asked four participating authors who they're most excited to see.

By Fiona McCann November 8, 2017

Photo coates ta nehisi coates nina subin kanecu

This guy, for one. 

Image: Nina Subin

As more than 100 authors step up on nine different Portland stages and at 60 pop-up events for this year's one-day book festival on November 11, it's easy to get overwhelmed with choice. Fear not: We have a cure for Wordstock paralysis. Four participating authors gave us their recommendations for other writers they're stoked to see. From Danez Smith to Tillie Walden, here are their picks for the day. 

Tommy Pico (Noon, Whitsell Auditorium)

“I’m excited to see Morgan Parker because she’s literally my soulmate, and I can’t wait to see Kaveh Akbar and Danez Smith because they are some of the most exciting and dynamic performers in the game right now. Crackling work and stage presence. They are life itself.”

Megan Stielstra (5:15 p.m., Brunish Theatre)

“I'm excited to see Lidia Yuknavitch. Her work showed me how I could save myself.

I'm actually on a panel with the two writers I'm excited to see! Melissa Febos, whose collection Abandon Me cut straight to my heart, plus she was recently on a Red Ink panel in New York and everything she said made me cheer. Like, I'm in Chicago, in my pajamas, reading the transcript and cheering my face off. I'm reading Kaveh Akbar's collection Calling a Wolf a Wolf right now and it's so gorgeous and gutting. I might just sit up there and high-five them both for an hour. Luckily Marisa Siegel will be there moderating to keep me on task."

Nicole Georges (10:15 a.m., Oregon Historical Society)

“I want to go to all of the events that Jess Arndt is doing. I've heard GREAT things about their book, and apparently we used to live in the same queer apartment complex, so it's a no-brainer. Carson Ellis is an all-time champ and true blue Oregonian powerhouse. I want to see her and Colin Meloy read from The Whiz Mob & the Grenadine Kid! I've been looking forward to it. Tillie Walden is a great friend of my chihuahua, Ponyo, and a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies, where I did a fellowship in 2013. I can't wait to read her book, Spinning. Ponyo can't wait to be in her arms again."

Jon Raymond (12:45 p.m., Oregon Historical Society)

Leni Zumas is an amazing and utterly original writer. Her new book, Red Clocks, is surely going to crush. I can't wait for the preview. No one must ever again mention Ben Percy's voice. Yes, he has a very deep voice. Now get over it. Henceforth, we shall only discuss what a killer writer he is. Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the indispensable writers of our time. I'm curious even to see how he ties his shoes."


9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sat, Nov 11, various venues, $15–18

Filed under
Show Comments