For many, Sunday afternoons are filled with a mixture of melancholy at a weekend gone too soon and mild anxiety about the rapid approach of Monday morning. But throughout February, the Oregon Legacy Series at Lincoln City’s Driftwood Public Library transforms every Sunday into a portal to other worlds.
The series, hosted by the Friends of Driftwood Public Library, began 26 years ago as a way to celebrate the library’s move to its new facility at Lincoln Square. Each year, it welcomes authors whose works have a strong Oregon connection to visit and talk about their writing.
The series opens on Sunday, Feb. 2, with a visit from Willy Vlautin, who has become one of the library’s most requested visitors since his first Oregon Legacy appearance in 2012. Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, 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. Now based in Scappoose, Oregon, Vlautin has published several novels, including “The Motel Life,” “Northline,” Lean on Pete” and “The Free.” In spring of 2018, he published his most recent book, “Don’t Skip Out on Me,” a novel about Horace Hopper, a half-Paiute, half-Irish ranch hand who wants to be somebody. Horace has spent most of his life on the ranch of his kindly guardians, who treat him like a son, but he can’t shake the shame he feels from being abandoned by his parents. Horace decides to leave the only loving home he has known to prove his worth by training to become a boxer.
On Sunday, Feb. 9, the library will welcome Portland writer Sophia Shalmiyev, author of the striking lyrical memoir, “Mother Winter.” Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev was raised in the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad. An imbalance of power and the prevalence of antisemitism in her homeland led her father to steal Shalmiyev away, emigrating to America and abandoning her estranged mother. At the age of 11, Shalmiyev found herself on a plane headed west, motherless and terrified of the new world unfolding before her. In “Mother Winter” Shalmiyev, now a mother herself, recounts her emotional journeys as an immigrant, an artist and a woman raised without her mother. Shalmiyev is an MFA graduate of Portland State University with a master’s degree in creative arts therapy from the School of Visual Arts. She lives in Portland with her two children.
The series continues on Sunday, Feb. 16, with a visit from former HBO producer Kate Hope Day, whose first novel, “If, Then,” was published last spring. The book follows the residents of the quiet mountain town of Clearing, Oregon, as they are rocked by troubling visions of an alternate reality. At first, the visions are relatively benign, but they grow increasingly troubling and, in some cases, frightening. When a natural disaster threatens them all, it becomes clear that the visions were not what they first seemed, and that the town will never be the same. Day holds a BA from Bryn Mawr College and a PhD in English from the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Oregon with her husband and their two children.
The series concludes on Sunday, Feb. 23 with a visit from Claire Rudy Foster — a queer, non-binary, trans writer of fiction, nonfiction, personal essays, screenplays and more, whose work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Rumpus and McSweeney’s. In recovery from alcoholism and addiction since 2007, Foster partnered with activist Ryan Hampton to co-author 2018’s “American Fix: Inside the Opioid Addiction Crisis and How to End It.” Based in Portland, Foster is a graduate of Reed College and also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Pacific University. Foster is the author of short story collections “I’ve Never Done This Before” and “Shine of the Ever,” a literary mixtape of queer voices out of 1990s Portland. The stories explore what binds a community of queer and trans people as they negotiate love, screwing up, and learning to forgive themselves for being young and sometimes foolish.
All Oregon Legacy Series talks start at 3 pm in the reading room of the library, located on the second floor at 801 SW Hwy. 101. For more information, contact Ken Hobson at 541-996-1242 or email@example.com.