A resident of Portland since 1959, Ursula K. Le Guin is an incredibly influential writer, particularly in science fiction and fantasy. She received multiple Hugo and Nebula awards, among many other distinguished honors — despite experiencing numerous rejections at the beginning of her career. Le Guin gained widespread popularity in the 60s and 70s with her short stories and Left Hand of Darkness, a novel pioneering the feminist science fiction genre. Her influence extends to renowned authors such as Salman Rushdie, Neil Gaiman, and even George RR Martin, who lists her as a highly respected fantasist that impacted his own novels. Le Guin's daring themes — especially that of gender and androgyny in Left Hand of Darkness — admirably transformed her readers' perspectives.
Octavia Butler would have turned 69 last week. Though she struggled to earn mainstream acceptance of her work early in her career, Butler is now considered one of the most influential and important Science Fiction writers of the late 20th century. She came up through the Clarion Workshop, where there is now a scholarship in her honor to support writers of color. From there she went on to write several novels, publishing her last book in 2005. Hailing originally from Pasadena, she found a home in the Pacific Northwest, dying in Lake Forest Park in 2006.
Koon Woon, influential Seattle poet and winner of the Pen Oak/Josephine Miles and American Book Awards, will be reading at Couth Buzzard Books tomorrow, Thursday, June 23. Stop by to hear about his experiences and his memoir, Paper-son Poet.
Terry McMillan, who our own Paul Constant called "a goddamned legend", is reading Monday at the main branch of the Seattle Public Library, in support of her new novel I Almost Forgot About You.
Time Magazine correspondent, and author of Broad Influence, Jay Newton-Small is in town next Tuesday to talk about leveraging female political power.
Tomorrow Night, Friday, June 10th, come see these paintings in person! Push/Pull Gallery, and the Seattle Review of Books, are putting on a show at Essentia Mattresses Store on 1st Avenue. We'll be joined by Lesley Hazelton, Maged Zaher, and Sarah Galvin. More information is here on the Facebook invitation. Please come and say hello.
And for your calendar next week, did you know that I'm having an art opening with paintings featured here in Portrait Gallery on Friday, June 10th? It's true! It's put on by Push/Pull Gallery, and the Seattle Review of Books, and is taking place at Essentia Mattresses Store on 1st Avenue. We'll be joined by Lesley Hazelton, Maged Zaher, and Sarah Galvin. More information is here on the Facebook invitation.
For my thirtieth portrait for Portrait Gallery, I picked Seattle's own Lindy West. She has been everywhere lately: we reviewed her book, and Paul did this amazing interview with her. She was at Town Hall last night, but if you missed it, you can still catch her tonight at Third Place Books in Lake Forest Park before she's off to events around the country and in the UK.
Seattle superstar Sherman Alexie is appearing next Tuesday at University Temple United Methodist Church, an event thrown by University Bookstore to present his new book Thunder Boy Jr. (And don't forget, Alexie will be showing up at Bumbershoot for a Seattle Review of Books event).
Today is the 152nd birthday of Nellie Bly, whose real name was Elizabeth Cochran Seaman. Bly was a journalist in the early 20th century, best known for an undercover investigation into the horrid conditions of mental hospitals, and for an around-the-world trip, to realize the fictional travels of Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days (she did it in seventy-two). In 1922 she died, at fifty-seven, from pneumonia.
Nancy Rawles is appearing Sunday at the Columbia Branch of the Seattle Public Library to run a writing workshop on how to write dialog. Don't miss it!
Mal DeFleur will be appearing tonight as part of APRIL Festival's annual event "A Poet, a Playwright, a Novelist and a Drag Queen". Miss DeFleur, the drag queen, will be appearing with EJ Koh, the poet, Sara Porkalob, the playwright, and Brian McGuigan, the novelist/memoirist. Doors open at 7:30. Tickets are still on sale, but this event does sell out, so act fast.
Christine Marie Larsen is off for the next few weeks, no doubt hand-assembling brushes from rarified animal hairs, gathering pigment from the mineraled rocks atop the highest peaks, and making paper from the miraculous cotton rags used to clean the paintings of the old masters in the Louvre.
In her absence, you can always see her work in our archive of the Portrait Gallery. She'll see you all in a few weeks.
Judy Blume is certainly somebody we don't need to say very much about, other than tomorrow is her birthday. Millions of kids learned about themselves, and their friends, neighbors, and siblings through her empathetic and big-hearted works. If she were here, we'd say thank you Judy Blume! We here at the Seattle Review of Books wish you a very happy birthday.
Here's a painting of Seattle's own beloved son Ivar Haglund. Folk singer, restauranteur, accidental port commissioner, trouble-maker, inveterate punner (he's listed as the "flounder" of his seafood restaurant, Ivar's), and of mixed Scandehoovian lineage (his mother was Norwegian and his father was Swedish, nearly a Capulet/Montague situation). On Sunday, come to the West Seattle branch of the Seattle Public Library to hear historian Paul Dorpat discuss Haglund's life and legacy.