Wordstock

As a lover of all things book-related, I was looking forward to attend this weeked’s Wordstock Literary Festival at the Oregon Convention Center in Northeast Portland. As the largest literary festival in the Pacific Northwest, it didn’t disappoint.

We spent most of the day wandering through the main exhibit hall, lined with 140+ exhibitors — independent presses, local bookstores, writers’ groups, literary magazines, MFA programs in writing, and other lit-oriented businesses.

I learned about the Oregon Historical Society Diary Contest, which I am excited about since I’ve kept a handwritten journal on-and-off over the past 25 years.

I also learned about Writer.ly, a soon-to-be launched internet-based service to connect writers with freelance editors, book designers, agents and publicists through a bid-by-project basis. As a freelance editor, I earnestly await its release.

And I supported Poetry Northwest literary magazine, who was sponsoring the coolest raffle of the day. For $5 you could get 3 tickets to enter a drawing for a gift basket filled with poetry, wine and rum. There’s no better motivation than that to get one writing, in my opinion.

Throughout the day, authors from Oregon and beyond read from their newly released works and shared insights through panel discussions. The below photo is of Chicago-based author Sara Levine. I bought a copy of her debut novel Treasure Island!!!, which I look forward to reading and reviewing in the next few weeks.

While security was tight for the 18-and-over only “Red Chair District,” I was a bit disappointed by its tameness — but maybe it’s because I just moved from Vegas. Five vendors were present, selling a range of products from sex toys to erotic books to Justin Bieber fan fiction.

I was, however, impressed by the full bar that was onsite. I tried the Oregon-made Crater Lake Gin, which went down smoothly when served on the rocks.

As a newly-published author, the husband made connections with local writers’ groups and workshops, a local book review publication, and attended a free panel discussion on book marketing — although there were in depth writers’ workshops available for a $35 fee as well.

Overall, Wordstock has much to offer for writer and reader alike, and we didn’t even venture into the largescale Little Word children’s book festival.

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