For more than 20 years, the Driftwood Public Library has presented the Oregon Legacy Series, four Sundays in February where people can meet accomplished authors and rising stars in a small intimate setting.
“The thing I love about these is you get to meet these great authors and learn they are just like us,” said organizer Ken Hobson. “They have this amazing ability and talent but are so down to earth, and are people that you are so thankful to have met.”
After 11 years as organizer, Hobson says being turned down by an author is rare, and is usually due only to scheduling conflicts.
“The majority of writers are very eager to do things for libraries,” he said. “Libraries are important to their development and help make people aware of them. Of course, there’s also the fact that everybody loves coming to the beach.”
Though free to structure the presentation as they see fit — read from current work, present a new project or simply tell a personal story — authors are asked to talk about Oregon if possible.
“We ask them to address the Oregon landscape, physical or cultural.” Hobson said. “But I tell them don’t sweat it, it’s just a suggestion.”
The first visiting author, Sally Tisdale, presenting on Sunday, Feb. 3, is more than happy to comply.
“My great great (and a few more greats) grandmother came here by wagon train in 1845,” she said. “Though I was actually born in northern California, my family’s roots in Oregon are deep and I’ve lived here for most of my life. One of my earlier books was about growing up as a pioneer descendant.”
Another connection for Tisdale appears in her most recent work, “Advice for Future Corpses (and Those Who Love Them),” which was named a New York Times notable book.
“Oregon was the first state to enact a right to die law about assisted death,” she said. “I have a whole chapter in the book about that.”
In addition to Tisdale’s nine books and one collection of essays, her work has appeared in Harper’s, Antioch Review, Conjunctions, Threepenny Review, The New Yorker and Tricycle, among other journals. She teaches part-time in the writing program at Portland State University, and is a lead dharma teacher at Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland.
The next visiting author, on Sunday, Feb. 10, is Camas Davis, a magazine editor and food writer who studied whole-animal butchery and charcuterie in France with a family of farmers and butchers. Upon her return, she founded the Portland Meat Collective to encourage the same transparent, hands-on processes she encountered. In 2014 Camas launched the Good Meat Project, a nonprofit whose mission is to inspire responsible meat consumption and production through experiential education across the country. Her memoir, “Killing It,” was released in the summer of 2018.
“I read about her book back in the spring and loved it,” Hobson said. “It’s an unusual memoir in an unusual profession and the more I read it the more excited I got about having her visit.”
The series continues on Sunday, Feb. 17 with a visit from playwright, poet and novelist Victor Lodato. His book, “Mathilda Savitch,” was hailed by The New York Times as “a Salingeresque wonder of a first novel” and was named a “Best Book of the Year” by The Christian Science Monitor, Booklist and The Globe and Mail. The novel won the PEN USA Award for Fiction and the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize and has been published in 16 countries.
His short fiction and essays have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Granta and Best American Short Stories. His new novel, “Edgar and Lucy,” was published in the spring of 2017.
Originally from New Jersey, Lodato will be sharing his own artist’s journey, about how his latest novel evolved and how writing it changed his life.
“I first came to Ashland to hide out and work on my new novel, which I thought would take a few months,” he said. “It ended up taking a few years, and by that point, I was too tired to move.”
The series finishes on Sunday, Feb. 24, with a visit from Leni Zumas, whose novel “Red Clocks” was a New York Times Editors’ Choice, an Amazon Best Book of the Month, an Indie Next pick and one of New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2018. Vulture named it one of the 100 Most Important Books of the 21st Century So Far. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Granta, The Cut, The Sunday Times, Portland Monthly, Tin House, Lenny Letter, The Collagist, The Elephants, & elsewhere. Leni grew up in Washington, DC and now lives in Portland where she directs the creative writing program at Portland State University.
All Oregon Legacy presentations take place in the reading room at Driftwood Public Library at 3 pm and are free. The library is located at 801 SW Hwy 101 in Lincoln City. For more information, go to driftwoodlib.org or call 541-996-1242.