Omar El Akkad has won 2018’s Ken Kesey Award for Fiction for his debut novel, American War. He was born in Cairo, Egypt and grew up in Doha, Qatar until he moved to Canada with his family. He is an award-winning journalist and author who has traveled around the world to cover many of the most important news stories of the last decade. His reporting includes dispatches from the NATO-led war in Afghanistan, the military trials at Guantànamo Bay, the Arab Spring revolution in Egypt and the Black Lives Matter movement in Ferguson, Missouri. He is a recipient of Canada’s National Newspaper Award for investigative reporting and the Goff Penny Memorial Prize for Young Canadian Journalists, as well as three National Magazine Award honorable mentions. He has been interviewed by Lulu Garcia-Navarro on NPR and American War has been described as a “masterful debut.” He lives in Portland, Oregon. Learn more about Omar here.
Joe Wilkins won the 2017 Stafford/Hall Prize in Poetry for his book, When We Were Birds, (University of Arkansas Press) edited by former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins. Other recent publications include Wilkins’s memoir, The Mountain and the Fathers, capturing life in eastern Montana, a poetry collection, Killing the Murnion Dogs, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the High Plains Book Award, and Notes from the Journey Westward, winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize and the High Plains Book Award. When We Were Birds part of the Millers Williams Poetry Prize Series, edited by Billy Collins, won the 2017 Oregon Book Award in Poetry. His essays, poems, and stories have appeared in a host of magazines and literary journals, including The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, The Missouri Review, Harvard Review, TriQuarterly, Orion, The Sun, High Country News, and Slate.
Danielle Cadena Deulen was a 2017 finalist for the Oregon Book Award in Poetry for Our Emotions Get Carried Away Beyond Us (Barrow Street) and 2018 Oregon Literary Fellowship Recipient. Danielle Cadena Deulen is the author of two other books as well: The Riots (U. of Georgia Press, 2011), which won the AWP Prize in Creative Nonfiction and the GLCA New Writers Award; Lovely Asunder (U. of Arkansas Press, 2011), which won the Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize and the Utah Book Award. She has been the recipient of a U. of Wisconsin Creative Writing Fellowship, three Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Awards and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award. Her poems and essays have appeared in many journals, including The Iowa Review, The Kenyon Review, The Utne Reader, and The Missouri Review, as well as several anthologies, including Best New Poets, and After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays. She is the poetry editor of Acre Books and lives in Salem, Oregon where she teaches for Willamette University.
STEVE ARNDT - Author Steve Arndt grew up in Oregon during the state’s centennial, a setting that kindled his curiosity about the region’s history. He was schooled at Portland State University and University of Oregon and served as department chair in higher education for 10 years.
LARS HEDBOR - I seek to recount the stories of our national origins during the American Revolution, bringing to life the day-to-day concerns and struggles of the men, women and children who experienced that era not as history, but as their lives.
IVONNE SAED - Graphic designer, writer, and photographer, Ivonne Saed has extensively explored the crossroads between the visual and the textual, both in her creative work and in teaching. She is the author of the novel Triple crónica de un nombre and the non-fiction Sobre Paul Auster: Autoría, distopía y textualidad. Saed teaches at Marylhurst University and Oregon State University.
VARGUS PIKE - Vargus Pike was born fully formed and thirty feet off the ground. He emerged from the eye of a maelstrom and has been stirring things up ever since. Poet and performance artist, he puts the con in conformity. Pike serves as board chairman for 9Bridges, a community of writers headquartered in Portland, and is also a member of the Oregon Poetry Association.
LINDA KUHLMANN - Linda Kuhlmann moved to Oregon over thirty years ago and has been writing most of her life. The Red Boots, released in 2011, began life as a screenplay and has since been rewritten into a novel. Her newest novel, Koenig's Spirit, is the second in the Koenig's Triple Crown Series.
GREG NOKES - R. Gregory Nokes spent 43 years in journalism, including 25 years with The Associated Press and 15 years with The Oregonian in Portland. Nokes graduated from Willamette University and attended Harvard University. Since retiring, he has embarked on a second career as a writer and lecturer on events in the history of the Pacific Northwest.
BARRY BECKER - The Ericksen Connection is Becker's first published novel. He is currently working on his second book, a Mark Ericksen series novel.
LEE BARCKMANN - Lee Barckmann lives near Portland Oregon with his wife, her cat. Lee has worked in the Info Tech industry for the last 20 years. Born and raised in New Jersey, Lee graduated from the University of Kansas in 1973. He has called Oregon home since the mid-70’s.
MICHAEL BERSHAY - Bershay writes humanistic science fiction inspired by Star Trek and The Twilight Zone. His most recent publications are Terraforming New Baas and The Mothership Departs.
WARREN EASLEY - Selected as the 2017 Up and Coming Writer by Willamette Writers Organization and winner of the 2014 Kay Snow Awards for Fiction, Easley is the author of the Cal Claxton series of mysteries which started with Matters of Doubt. His most recent Blood for Wine is set in the vineyards of Oregon and was recommended by Publisher’s Weekly.
ZOE NIKLAS - Niklas is a survivor of child abuse and the author of Driving in the Dark: A Childhood Memoir. This book has been turned into a one-woman play, presented by WilsonvilleSTAGE.
ROGER DORBAND - Roger Dorband is a native of Grants Pass, Oregon and is a sculptor and photographer with an art degree from Portland State University. He has published two books of photography in collaboration with the late Ursula K. LeGuin - Blue Moon Over Thurman Street and Out Here.
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Art of the Word festival schedule
Pop-Up Poetry w/Rhetorical Redhead
Give her a word and she’ll write you a poem!