Scroll down to meet our talented 2019 authors!
Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Willy Vlautin started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and quickly became immersed in music. It was a Paul Kelly song - based on Raymond Carver's Too Much Water So Close to Home - that inspired him to start writing stories. Vlautin has published four novels: The Motel Life, Northline, Oregon Book Award-winning Lean on Pete and The Free, and several short stories. The Motel Life and Lean on Pete have both been made into feature films. Vlautin's fifth novel, Don't Skip Out on Me, is currently a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulker Award, America's largest peer-juried prize for fiction. The winner will be announced April 28. This novel has also been named one of the American Library Association's notable books of the year.
Vlautin also founded the critically-acclaimed band Richmond Fontaine, which produced 11 studio albums, and in 2014 formed The Delines, who just returned from a concert tour in the UK. Vlautin currently resides in Scappoose, Oregon.
Of his novels, Booklist notes: “Vlautin … strips away our defenses with close-to-the bone prose that leaves us utterly exposed to the tragedy of being alive—and every bit as thankful for those moments of aching humanity before the curtain falls.”
Stevan Allred has been published in numerous literary journals and websites, and he has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is the author of the short story collection A Simplified Map of the Real World: The Renata Stories, and a contributor to City of Weird: 30 Otherworldly Portland Tales, and Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life. Allred's debut novel is The Alehouse at the End of the World. He describes the process of crafting this comic epic as starting with the idea of a man swallowed by a whale, and then giving him a quest of finding his long lost beloved. "I figured if readers were still with me after I had my fisherman swallowed by a whale, I could go anywhere from there, so why not to the Isle of the Dead?" Allred lives in Portland, halfway between Hav and the Isle of the Dead, which is to say he spends as much time burrowed into his imagination as he possibly can.
Mohamed Asem's memoir, Stranger in the Pen, details his experience of being detained in Gatwick Airport in London 2016. Three days after the terror attack on Bastille Day in July 2016, Asem is held overnight by British immigration officials without cause. In an elegantly digressive, self-interrogative style, Asem describes the boredom and uncertainty of confinement, and how this specific kind of helplessness leads, inevitably, to a self-reckoning. What series of events has led to this moment? As a teenager, he was stranded in Paris with his mother during the first Gulf War, while his father remained in Kuwait. He spent his twenties dutifully trying to follow the blueprint for manhood back home in the Middle East, only to cast it all aside after his mother's early death. Stranger in the Pen examines the burden of being disconnected from one's homeland, unpacks the emotional toll of racial profiling, and illuminates the quietly surprising ways in which grief can change one's life.
David and Alexandra Brown
Alexandra and David Brown spent the first year of their relationship planning and going on a trip around the world. A Year Off is one part travel guide, one part travel essays and photos, and one part memoir documenting the story of Alexandra and David, a couple who decided to take a year off from their jobs and "regular lives" to travel the world together after only knowing each other for a few months. In the book's introduction, they say that they wrote A Year Off with the hope of sharing "some of the wisdom we gained through our collective experiences to help you define what you want; better manage the pre-, during-, and post-planning process; and engage deeply with the cultures and places you visit. In short, we wrote the book we wish we had read before we left, and we hope it helps you start your journey, even if it is just a daydream for now." The Browns are now happily married and live in Portland with their daughter.
In 2003, Courtenay Hameister began working on a new idea for a radio variety show that would become Live Wire - now a nationally-syndicated show on over 100 stations nationwide. She was the host, co-producer and head writer for the first nine years, then stepped down and became just co-producer and head writer for three more years. In 2016 and 2017, Hameister wrote a book about a year in which she tried to teach her anxious brain that everything would be okay by doing things that scared her. That book is Okay Fine Whatever: The Year I Went From Being Afraid of Everything to Only Being Afraid of Most Things.
April Henry loves to kill people - but only on paper. Henry is the New York Times-bestselling author of 22 mysteries and thrillers for adults and teens. The Body in the Woods, the first in her Point Last Seen series, won an Oregon Book Award in 2015. Her latest book, published in January, is The Lonely Dead. Henry can pick her way out of handcuffs with a bobby pin and makes a killer cinnamon roll. She has supported CPAH's HomeWord Bound event since its very first year.
Karen Karbo is the author of multiple award-winning novels, memoirs and works of nonfiction. Her best-selling "Kick-Ass Women" series includes The Gospel According to Coco Chanel: Life Lessons from the World's Most Elegant Woman, which was an international bestseller. Her latest book is In Praise of Difficult Women. Karbo's short stories, essays, articles and reviews have appeared in Elle, Vogue, Esquire, Outside, the New York Times, Salon, and other publications. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a winner of the General Electric Younger Writer Award. Karbo lives in Portland, where she continues to kick ass.
Eric A. Kimmel
Eric A. Kimmel is the author of more than 130 children's books. His latest titles are Why Worry?; Hank and Gertie: A Pioneer Hansel and Gretel; The Runaway Tortilla; Rattlestiltskin; and I Want a Real Bike! in Oregon. He and his wife, Doris, live in Portland with a cat named Doug, a poodle named Hope, a snake named Pirate, and a tank full of tropical fish.
Bart King, the author of more than 20 funny books for kids and immature adults, was once described as "Portland's very own Dave Barry." But it turned out the speaker was referring to "David Barry," a local dad known for his groan-inducing puns. King is a longtime teacher, and one of his books, The Big Book of Boy Stuff, was once Amazon's #5 overall bestselling title. King also writes a popular blog called Unexpectedly Bart (King!) and his first novel is a humorous science fiction adventure called The Drake Equation.
John Larison was born in 1979 in Oregon. The son of National Geographic filmmakers, much of his childhood was spent traveling, often staying in remote tropical or mountainous regions. He attended the University of Oregon and studied philosophy and literature, and stayed to earn a Master's of Education. For several years, he worked as a fly-fishing guide and high school English teacher, writing fiction in the evenings. In 2005, he left both jobs to earn an MFA at Oregon State University. To piece together a living in the years following, Larison worked as a freelance writer for outdoor magazines, an adjunct writing instructor, and a fly-fishing guide, specializing in running small boats through heavy whitewater. His first book was a how-to text on fly-fishing, The Complete Steelheader, and he published two fishing related novels, Northwest of Normal and Holding Lies. In late 2009, he began work on the novel that would become his newest book, Whiskey When We're Dry, which is a 2019 Oregon Book Award finalist, and is currently in development for a feature film. Larison lives with his family in Oregon's Coast Range mountains, where he is at work on his next novel.
Peter Nathaniel Malae
Peter Nathaniel Malae is the author of the new novel, Son of Amity, about which writer Jon Raymond notes: "Written with immense intellect and swagger, Son of Amity imbues the street-level realities of our times - in our cities, towns, prisons, and psyches - with the power of myth." Malae is also the author of novels Our Frail Blood and What We Are, a New York Times Editor's Choice, San Francisco Foundation's Joseph Henry Jackson Award winner and Pacific Northwest Booksellers finalist; the story collection, Teach the Free Man, a New York Public Library's Young Lions Award finalist, Glasgow Prize finalist and Story Prize notable book; and the play, The Question, which was an Oregon Literary Arts Fellowship winner. His prose has appeared in Cimarron Review, Glimmer Train, Missouri Review, North Dakota Quarterly, South Carolina Review, South Dakota Review, Southwest Review, Witness, ZYZZYVA, and other presses. A former John Steinbeck, Arts Council Silicon Valley and MacDowell Colony Fellow, Malae lives in the Pacific Northwest.
Anis Mojgani is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion, winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam, and multiple-time TEDx Speaker. He has been awarded residencies from the Vermont Studio Center, AIR Serenbe, The Bloedel Nature Reserve, and the Oregon Literary Arts Writers-In-The-Schools program. Mojgani has performed at numerous universities, festivals, and venues around the globe and has performed for audiences as varied as the House of Blues and the United Nations. His work has appeared on HBO, NPR, and in the pages of such journals as Rattle, Forklift Ohio, Paper Darts, Thrush, and Bat City Review. Mojgani is the author of five books: Songs From Under the River, The Feather Room, Over the Anvil We Stretch, The Pocketknife Bible, and his latest, In the Pockets of Small Gods. Originally from New Orleans, Mojgani currently lives in Oregon where he serves on the board of Literary Arts.
Dionisia Morales grew up in New York City and now lives in Oregon. She is an avid rock climber, snowboarder, hiker, and mountain biker. Morales earned her MFA from Oregon State University, where she now works as a publishing manager for the OSU Extension Service. Her writing has appeared in literary journals such as Crab Orchard Review, Hunger Mountain, Colorado Review, Calyx, and Brevity, and her work has twice made the "Notables" list for Best American Essays. Homing Instincts is her latest collection of essays, and is a finalist for a 2019 Oregon Book Award.
Rebecca Morris is the two-time New York Times bestselling author of A Murder in My Hometown, her memoir about Corvallis, Oregon; If I Can't Have You -- Susan Powell, Her Mysterious Disappearance, and the Murder of Her Children; A Killing in Amish Country -- Sex, Betrayal and a Cold Blooded Murder; Ted and Ann -- The Mystery of a Missing Child and Her Neighbor Ted Bundy; and other books. A veteran broadcast and print journalist, including in Portland, she often appears as a crime expert on network television and in numerous documentaries. She lives in Seattle.
Zulema Renee Summerfield
Zulema Renee Summerfield holds an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and her work has appeared in a number of literary journals. Every Other Weekend is her first novel, and she also has a book of flash fiction, Everything Faces All Ways At Once. In addition to her writing practice, she is also an educator and creative coach. She is deeply committed to the act of writing as a process of healing/liberation, and believes that everyone should have access to the transformative power of writing. Summerfield is also a devoted auntie and, she's been told, a pretty good dancer. She currently lives in Portland, where she is at work on a collection of short stories and a new novel.
Sallie Tisdale is the author of nine books, most recently Advice for Future Corpses (and Those who Love Them). Her other books include Talk Dirty to Me, Stepping Westward, and Women of the Way, as well as a collection of essays, Violation. Her work has appeared in Harper's, Antioch Review, Conjunctions, Threepenny Review, The New Yorker, and Tricycle, among other journals. Tisdale is the 2013 recipient of the Regional Arts and Culture Council Literary Fellowship. She has received a Pushcart Prize, an NEA Fellowship, the James Phelan Literary Award, and was a Dorothy and Arthur Shoenfeldt Distinguished Writer of the Year. Tisdale is a long-time member of PEN and was a judge for the National Book Award in 2010. She teaches part-time in the writing program at Portland State University.