Portland Book Festival Announces 2020 Lineup

The all-digital, 17 day festival will feature heavy hitters like Margaret Atwood and local favorites like Colin Meloy.

By Riley Blake September 15, 2020

Get ready for some reading, Portland. The Portland Book Festival, presented by Literary Arts, returns for its 16th iteration this November, but things look a little different than before. The festival is going digital this year, announcing a lineup this morning that includes acclaimed writers Margaret Atwood, Isabel Wilkerson, Jonathan Lethem, Veronica Roth, and plenty more. In fact, the festival will feature over 100 writers in a span of 17 days, compared to the typical one-day in-person festival.

Starting on November 5th and running until November 21st, Literary Arts will host virtual readings, classes, and events that cater to ages across the board. Local favorites this year include Lidia Yuknavitch, whose fictionalized 2012 Freud fic Dora: A Headcase received critical acclaim; Vanessa Veselka, author of The Great Offshore Grounds; young adult author Kim Johnson, of This is My America; Karen Russell, who spoke with us last year about her short story collection Orange World; Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy, whose most recent authorial credit is the picture book Everyone’s Awake; Liz Crain, whose food writing hinges on a deep love for the Northwest; and so many more.

Looking beyond Portland’s backyard, this year’s festival will also feature prolific writer and long-time Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen; Lisa Hanawalt—the animator behind Netflix’s Tuca and Bertie and BoJack Horseman—whose novel I Want You just hit shelves; Jonathan Lethem, writer of Motherless, Brooklyn and winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award; and writer/podcaster Roman Mars, whose soon-to-come book The 99% Invisible City applies the inquisitive spirit of his popular podcast to urban design.

The festival, which typically attracts around 10,000 annual attendees, will be mostly free of charge this year. For the discussions with Margaret Atwood, Jess Walter, and Isabel Wilkerson, there is one small fee: attendees have to purchase their book from Powell’s, supporting the author as well as an iconic Portland establishment.

For more information about writers, events, and schedules, visit the Literary Arts website.

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