The Portland Book Festival Announces Star-Studded 2021 Lineup

National names like Brandon Taylor and Maggie Nelson will join local heavy-hitters like Willy Vlautin and Emilly Prado for a hybrid virtual/in-person bonanza.

By Conner Reed September 22, 2021

Fall is festival season in Portland, and while the persistence of the delta variant has kept us from a full-flame return to form, staples like Feast Portland and the Time-Based Art Festival have built modest, partially in-person programs that represent a slight breakout from last year's sequestered autumn. 

This morning, Literary Arts announced the lineup for its own hybrid iteration of the annual Portland Book Festival, which will run from November 8–13. It's more tightly packed than last year's two-week virtual sprawl, but a step down from the festival's typical single-day marathon. The online programming will come first, with five events spanning November 8–12, and all live engagements will take place on Saturday, November 13. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test will be required for admission to in-person events.

True to form, the roster of authors in attendance is stacked. Maggie Nelson—author of The Argonauts and the recent, lightly controversial essay collection On Freedom—will appear virtually beside the likes of Brandon Taylor (author of buzzy queer novels Real Life and Filthy Animals) and Pulitzer-winning poet Rita Dove. National Book Award-winner Louise Erdich will appear in virtual conversation with poet Trevino Brings Plenty about her latest novel, The Sentence. Critical darling Lauren Groff, author of Arcadia and Fates and Furies, will show up on the heels of her latest novel, Matrix, which the Atlantic called "another masterpiece from a writer whom few at this point can best."

Local names of interest include Willy Vlautin, author of Lean on Pete and this year's The Night Always ComesPoMo contributor Juhea Kim, whose already-acclaimed debut novel Beasts of a Little Land drops in December, teacher and Funeral for Flaca writer Emilly Prado, YA author Michelle Ruiz Keil, and of course, many more. Other local heavy-hitters, including Oregon Poet Laureate Anis Mojgani, former Book Festival attendees Chelsea Bieker, Karen Russell, and Genevieve Hudson, author/screenwriter Jon RaymondPoMo contributor Liz Crain, and Artists Repertory Theatre managing director Kisha Jarrett, will appear as moderators.

Passes to the virtual festival and in-person festival will be sold separately. Virtual passes are available on a sliding scale of $0–100, and in-person passes will go for $15 in advance and $25 day-of. For the full lineup, and up-to-date info about the festival schedule, visit the Literary Arts website, and stay tuned for additional Portland Monthly coverage as November approaches.

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