Multnomah County Library Podcasts (Author Talks)

Listen to library events, as well as information about books and other library resources.

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Authors/Speakers: Stacey Lee, Isabel Quintero, Tess Sharpe, and Swati Avasthi

A recent analysis of the top 100 banned books from 2000-2009 revealed that most challenged books involved characters and issues reflecting narratives outside of the dominant culture. However, books that reflect diverse narratives represent only a tiny fraction of published books. Are certain stories censored even before they are published, or not published at all? What does diversity mean in literature? Why should you read “diverse books"? Join authors Stacey Lee, Isabel Quintero, Tess Sharpe, and Swati Avasthi, for an exciting panel discussion on the importance of diverse narratives, their current books, and more.

Presented by Multnomah County Library Intellectual Freedom Committee for MCL Banned Books Week.

Recorded Live at Central Library: October 3, 2015

Direct download: 20151003_MCLBannedBooksWeek.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 7:58am PST

Author Talk with Lindsay Hill

Lindsay Hill reads from his novel, Sea of Hooks. Sea of Hooks was named as The Oregonian's #1 Northwest Book of 2013, one of New York Magazine’s Top 10 Books of 2013, one of Publishers Weekly’s Top 5 Fiction titles of 2013, and a finalist for the 2014 Chautauqua Prize.

Recorded Live at Central Library: September 14, 2014

Direct download: Authortalk_LindsayHill_20140914.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 4:39pm PST

Wordstock at the Library

Join Wordstock and the Multnomah County Library for a festival “sneak-peek” event at the Central Library.  Portland-based festival authors will read climactic scenes from their newest books; featuring Evan P. Schneider, Jerry McGill and Alexis Smith.

Dear Marcus: A Letter to the Man Who Shot Me by Jerry McGill

A Simple Machine, Like the Lever: A Novel by Evan P. Schneider

Glaciers: A Novel by Alexis Smith

Recorded live at Central Library: October 10, 2012

Direct download: 20121009_Wordstock2012_writers.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 4:20pm PST

Telling Secrets: Mary Bowser, Black Civil War Spy

Speaker: Lois Leveen

Do you ever wonder how authors weave facts into fiction? To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, Lois Leveen discusses the inspirational true story behind her forthcoming novel The Secrets of Mary Bowser, about the African American woman who became a Union spy by posing as a slave in the Confederate White House.

Recorded live at Central Library: April 29, 2012

Direct download: 20120429_TellingSecrets.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 4:11pm PST

VoiceCatcher Author Readings

Featured Speakers: Lisa Maier, Sue Parman, Victoria Wyttenberg, Pat West, Kristin Berger, Willa Schneberg, Mary Kibbe, and Wendy Willis


Celebrating new work by seven VoiceCatcher 6 authors; VoiceCatcher Co-editor Kristin Berger emcees this lively reading of prose and poetry.

VoiceCatcher is an all-volunteer nonprofit that supports and nurtures women writers and artists in the Portland Metro area.


Recorded live at Central Library: March 31, 2012

Direct download: 20120331_VoiceCatchers.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 10:12am PST

Writers Talking: Joe Sacco

Portland cartoonist-journalist Joe Sacco talks about his work. Sacco is author of Palestine, Safe Area Gorazde: The war in Eastern Bosnia, But I Like It, Footnotes in Gaza and other works. In 1996 he won the American Book Award, and Footnotes in Gaza is a 2012 Oregon Book Award Finalist.

This podcast was recorded live at the Central Library U.S. Bank Room, February 18, 2012.

Audience: Adult


Direct download: 20120218_MCLJoeSaccoCC.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 9:40am PST

Matt de la Peña talks about growing up in National City, poverty, Mexican and White, going to college and becoming a famous author.  Absolutely hilarious!

Direct download: 20111017_MCL_MATTDELAPENA.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 2:12pm PST

On Sunday, April 10, 2011, an enthusiastic crowd of Devon Monk fans came to hear the author read from her upcoming book and talk about her writing. She started by reading from her soon to be published "Dead Iron: the age of steam", the first book in her new steam punk fantasy series. She then took questions from the audience which included many questions about her ongoing Allie Beckstrom urban fantasy series which takes place in Portland. Her latest book in that series, "Magic on the Hunt", just came out on April 5. (about 72 minutes)

Direct download: monk.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 6:44pm PST

VoiceCatcher Authors Reading

VoiceCatcher presents prose and poetry from its fifth women writers anthology. The work of several contributing authors will be highlighted. VoiceCatcher's mission is to publish an anthology of Portland-area women's writing reflecting a diversity of voice and genre. They offer a local publishing opportunity that respects, nurtures and promotes local artists.

Web site:      

Direct download: 20110326_MCLVoiceCatcherAuthorsReading.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 4:42pm PST

Taking the Stairs with Laura Foster

Portland’s walking expert Laura Foster has recently released her latest book, "The Portland Stairs Book: Walks, Views, Stories." Join the author as she shares with you the best and most interesting staircases in Portland. Covering 207 staircases (and 10,155 steps), Foster’s journey combines geology, architecture, history and horticulture to tell the amazing stories of twenty outdoor staircases.  The stairs include the Willamette River Bridge Stairs, The Westover Terraces Steps and Rocky Butte’s Grand Staircase.  Presented at Hollywood Library January 23, 2011.
More information about Laura Foster can be found on her website at:

Direct download: 20110123MCL_Writers_LauraFosterHwd.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 11:32am PST

Beloved novelist Tamora Pierce discusses where her ideas come from, where she gets names for her characters, and what books are in store for her readers.

Recorded October 18, 2010

Direct download: 20101018_MCL_TAMORAPIERCE.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 4:49pm PST

Join Wordstock founder Larry Colton and friends for new nonfiction readings by Portland's finest writers of the craft.

Larry Colton, No Ordinary Joes: The Extraordinary True Story of Four Submariners in War and Love and Life (Crown, 2010)

Wendy Burden, Dead End Gene Pool: A Memoir (Gotham, 2010)

Kevin Sampsell, A Common Pornography: A Memoir (Harper Perennial, 2010)

Recorded October 6, 2010

Direct download: 20101006_MCLAuthor_Talks.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 10:43am PST

Every day in the Peace Corps brings a new experience, adventure or lesson. Come listen to journal entries directly from the Peace Corps volunteers who wrote them and pick up your free copy of “A Life Inspired,” a collection of stories written by volunteers (while supplies last). A Peace Corps volunteer who served in Bulgaria will also share her personal experience, answer your questions, and provide tips to guide you through the application process.

About the Panel:
Jenny Ferro
Lesotho, Africa 2002-2006
Primary Education Resource Teacher
Reading: "Peace, Rain, Prosperity"

Vicki Crumpacker
Turkmenistan, Central Asia 2000-2001
Business Advising

Erik Vidstrand
Mauritania, West Africa 1982-1984
Health Extension

Direct download: 20090714_MCLPeaceCorps.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 1:32pm PST

Central Library hosts readings and presentations commemorating Oregon's late poet .

Featured Participants:

  • Joel Nightingale Berning presents William Stafford as a Minister. Mr. Berning is a third-year Master of Divinity student at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
  • Kate Gray published her first full-length book of poems, Another Sunset We Survive, in 2007, and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.
  • Carlos Reyes is a noted poet, writer and translator whose latest book of poetry, The Book of Shadows; New and Selected Poems, was published in 2009.
  • Penelope Scambly Schott has published several books, including A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth, which won the 2008 Oregon Book Award for Poetry.
  • Joseph A. Soldati, host for the program, has published poems and essays. Recent among his published books is Apocalypse Clam.
Direct download: 20100131_MCLWilliamStafford.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 5:42pm PST

Raves about reading Faves @your library. Title Raves: The Great Northwest was an event where people could celebrate their love of reading and local writers. Listen in here for a discussion about who favorite Northwest authors are, what book(s) were read lately and why people liked it.

Leading off the discussion will be a panel of people known around town for their love of reading and books. Sharing their insights about books, writers and writing are:

  • Lono Waiwaiole, whose Wiley crime noir series takes place in Portland
  • Dennis Stovall and Karen Brattain, publishers at PSU’s student-run Ooligan Press
  • Jeff Baker, book editor, The Oregonian

Shared faves with the group -- and the world. Title Raves recommendations are posted on the library’s website.

Direct download: 20090407_MCLTitleRavesGreatNorthwest0.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 5:25pm PST

VoiceCatcher presents prose and poetry from its fourth women writers anthology. The work of six contributing authors will be highlighted. VoiceCatcher's mission is to publish an anthology of Portland-area women's writing reflecting a diversity of voice and genre. They offer a local publishing opportunity that respects, nurtures and promotes local artists.

Web site:

Direct download: 20100327_MCLVoiceCatcherAuthorsReading.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 4:48pm PST

Bonnie Jo Campbell’s energy and biting wit make her work both brutal and laugh out-loud funny. All is weird, immediate and raw in Campbell’s stories and poems. Bonnie Jo Campbell’s new story collection, American Salvage, was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award. She is also the author of the novel Q Road, and the story collection Women & Other Animals. She has won the AWP award for short fiction, the 2008 Eudora Welty fiction prize, and a Pushcart prize, and she was named a Barnes & Noble Great New Writer. The New York Times has called her stories "Bitter but sweetened by humor," and Publisher’s Weekly said Campbell details, "domestic worlds where Martha Stewart would fear to tread."

Presented in partnership with Pacific University's Master of Fine Arts in Writing program.

Direct download: 20100217_MCLWritersTalkingBonnieJoCampbell.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 5:04pm PST

Celebrate Oregon Through Poetry with Liz Nakazawa and Rosemary Lombard

How would you describe Oregon through poetry? Do you have a favorite Oregon poet? Have you written a nature poem about Oregon?  Liz Nakazawa, editor of the anthology "Deer Drink the Moon," read from her book, which features the works of 33 esteemed poets of Oregon. She also invited audience members to share their favorite Oregon nature poems. 



Direct download: 20091004_MCLDeerDrinktheMoon.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 4:41pm PST

2009 Teen Author Lecture

M.T. Anderson is perhaps best known for his National Book Award and Printz Honor-winning duet, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation. (Volume 1: The Pox Party and Volume 2: The Kingdom on the Waves.) Feed, his satire on consumerism and the decline of language, is both critically acclaimed and controversial, and has been challenged in many schools, including some here in the Pacific Northwest. He is also the author of several picture books; a vampire novel, Thirsty, published before the current craze; and a series for younger readers, Pals in Peril, (Whales on Stilts, The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen, and Jasper Dash and the Flame-Pits of Delaware), which satirizes classic children's adventure books.

Youth Services Director Ellen Fader welcomes the audience, Hillsdale Library Teen Council member Ulysses Duckler introduces Mr. Anderson. Among other topics, Anderson's wide-ranging talk touches on writing as a way to travel through time, how the incessant marketing messages directed at teens attempt to convince them that unless they continue buying, they will always be found wanting, and how a writer's dark vision can be a spur for readers to change a broken world.

Date of Event: October 12, 2009

Target Audience: Teens and Adults

Direct download: 20091012_MCL_MTANDERSONCC.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 2:24pm PST

Three local crafter-writers discuss their writing in the context of the followng questions:  1. How did each of you become crafty authors?  2. What is your best advice for someone who aspires to write a craft book?  3. Name a favorite craft book and/or a local resource for craft supplies.  4. How do you go about searching for interesting craft materials?

Susan Beal is a non-stop crafter and writes the blog, West Coast Crafty. She is the author of Button it Up : 80 Amazing Vintage Button Projects for Necklaces, Bracelets, Embellishments, Housewares & More; Beadsimple : 150 Designs for Earrings, Necklaces, Bracelets, Embellishments, and More :  Essential Techniques for Making Jewelry Just the Way you Want It; and Super Crafty : Over 75 Amazing How-to Projects.  Diane Gilleland is the author of Kanzashi in Bloom : 20 Simple Fold-and-Sew Projects to Wear and Give, and the blog, CraftyPod.  Alicia Paulson is the author of Stitched in Time : Memory-Keeping Projects to Sew and Share and the blog, Posie Gets Cozy.  The audience question and answer period is included.

Direct download: 20090920_MCLWriters_HwdCrafters.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 3:12pm PST

Deborah Hopkinson from Oregon Reads 2009: Meet the Authors Oregon Reads 2009 is a community reading program that took place in nearly every public library and in every county in Oregon during the state's sesquicentennial, January through April of 2009. Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson was selected as a title for younger readers for the Oregon Sesquicentennial. In this talk, Hopkinson talks about Oregon's state symbols and what makes a writer. She also shares the stories from her books Apples to Oregon, Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, and the forthcoming Stagecoach Sal.
Direct download: 20090427_MCLOregonReads_Hopkinson.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 2:36pm PST

Virginia Euwer Wolff from Oregon Reads 2009: Meet the Authors Oregon Reads 2009 is a community reading program that took place in nearly every public library and in every county in Oregon during the state's sesquicentennial, January through April of 2009. Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff was selected as a title for younger readers for the Oregon Sesquicentennial. In this talk, Wolff shares some of her inspirations for the book and illuminates her writing process. At the beginning of this event, a group of sixth grade girls from Metropolitan Learning Center act out a reader's theater presentation excerpted from Bat 6.
Direct download: 20090427_MCLOregonReads_Wolff.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 1:03pm PST

2009 Children's Author Lecture Jon Scieszka’s many books have won awards and sold over 11 million copies. Scieszka is also the founder of Guys Read, a nonprofit literacy organization. In 2008 the Library of Congress chose Jon Scieszka to be the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, a two-year position in which Scieszka’s mission is to get kids excited about reading. In his lecture, Scieszka talks about the cool stuff he has acquired since becoming an Ambassador, tells stories about his books and his childhood growing up as the second oldest of six brothers, and answers questions from kids in the audience.

Date of Event: Monday, April 20, 2009
Target Audience: Everybody
Direct download: 20090420_MCLJonScieszka.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 1:08pm PST

An evening with Randy Shaw, author of the new book Beyond the Fields: Cesar Chavez, the UFW, and the Struggle for Justice in the 21st Century . In "Beyond the Fields," Shaw reveals the untold story of how the spirit of "Sí Se Puede" that began with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in the 1960s still sets the course for today’s social justice movements. Shaw finds that the influence of Chavez and the UFW has ranged far and wide: in labor campaigns like Justice for Janitors, in the building of Latino political power, in the fight for environmental justice, in the growing national movement for immigrant rights, and even in Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. SEIU Executive Vice-President Eliseo Medina praises Shaw’s book as a "stirring account of how the UFW transformed people’s lives," and LeRoy Chatfield of the Farmworkers Documentation Project says it is a "must read" for former UFW volunteers.

Direct download: 20090304writers_RandyShawCentral.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 12:16pm PST

Writers Talking:  Jean Johnson

Jean Johnson reads and presents no-fuss recipes from her book, Cooking Beyond Measure: How to Eat Well without Formal Recipes.

Demonstrations included simple no-cook recipes — like sliced pears dipped in flax meal laced with cardamom, cottage cream and raspberries with homemade whole grain muesli, or roasted garlic on whole-grain bread.

Direct download: 20090315_MCL_writers_JeanHwd.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 4:21pm PST

LeAnn Locher writes the popular Portland blog, LeLo in NoPo. She'll talk and share photos of her 3-year experience of creating and growing her blog, how it began as a personal journey and self exploration, and what she found along the way. Blogging creates connections to people, issues, cultures, and even social change, and has led to real-world connections, clients, and friends. She'll share a case study of blogging a topic that grew into a quick community action, with a flurry of news throughout the blogosphere and local media outlets. With writers now blogging and bloggers now writing, is there a place for the two to meet?

Direct download: 20080518_MCLWritersTalking_LeAnnLocher.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 1:34pm PST

Kristian Williams, a journalist and a member of Rose City Copwatch, is the author of Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America and American Methods: Torture and the Logic of Domination. Jules Boykoff teaches political science at Pacific University in Forest Grove and is the author of Beyond Bullets: The Suppression of Dissent in the United States. The authors discuss their books and answer questions from the audience.

Direct download: 20080406_MCLWritersTalkingKristianWilliams.mp3
Category:Author Talks -- posted at: 12:26pm PST