The Downtown Eugene Public Library will host a number of free events as part of the fifth annual Northwest Women Writers Symposium. The 2016 theme is “Crossing Borders: Women’s Stories of Immigration, Migration, and Transition.”
Reyna Grande will give a keynote talk titled “From Iguala to El Otro Lado: A Young Girl’s Journey to the American Dream" on First First Friday, May 6, 6:00 p.m. Grande is a novelist and memoirist whose honors include an American Book Award, the El Premio Aztlán Literary Award, and the Latino Book Award.
Grande’s latest book, “The Distance Between Us,” is an inspirational coming-of-age memoir and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In it, Grande writes about her childhood as an undocumented Mexican immigrant in the United States. Grande’s novels, “Across a Hundred Mountains” and “Dancing with Butterflies,” were also critical and popular successes.
Born in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico, Grande was two years old when her father left for the U.S. to find work. Her mother followed her father north two years later, leaving Grande and her siblings behind. At ten years old, Grande entered the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant.
Later, Grande became the first in her family to graduate college, then pursued an M.F.A. in creative writing. Now, in addition to her work as an author, she teaches creative writing at UCLA Extension and is an active promoter of Latino literature with a national speaking schedule.
Ariel Gore and Debra Gwartney will read from their works on Saturday, May 7, 4:00 at the Downtown Library.
Ariel Gore will read from her latest book, “The End of Eve,” which chronicles the years spent caring for her dying mother. It has been described as “Terms of Endearment meets Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?” This memoir was honored with the Rainbow Award for Best Lesbian Book. Gore’s lyrical memoir, “Atlas of the Human Heart,” a recounting of her travels as a teenager, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She received a LAMBDA Literary Award for her anthology “Portland Queer: Tales of the Rose City.” Gore is editor and publisher of the Alternative Press Award-winning magazine “Hip Mama” and teaches online at Ariel Gore’s School for Wayward Writers.
Debra Gwartney will read from her book “Live Through This: A Mother’s Memoir of Runaway Daughters and Reclaimed Love,” which was a finalist for an Oregon Book Award, PNBA Award, and National Book Critics Circle Award. Gwartney is co-editor, with her husband Barry Lopez, of “Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape,” and has published essays widely, from the Kenyon Review to The New York Times. She is a member of the nonfiction faculty for Pacific University’s MFA in Writing program.
Also on Saturday, May 7, 9:30 a.m. to noon, a panel will address the theme “Crossing Borders: Women’s Stories of Immigration, Migration, and Transition.” Panelists will be Reyna Grande, Ariel Gore, Ana-Maurine Lara, and Gabriela Martinez, moderated by Barbara Pope.
From 1:30 - 3:30 p.m., writing workshops will be offered, with pre-registration required for limited spaces (call 541-682-5450 to sign up). The workshops will be led by Jennifer Burns Bright (travel and food writing), Ana-Maurine Lara (poetry), Miriam Gershow (fiction), and Ariel Gore (memoir).
The fifth annual Northwest Women Writers Symposium is sponsored by UO Center for the Study of Women in Society in cooperation with Eugene Public Library. Free events will be held at the University of Oregon and the Downtown Eugene Public Library. Information: 541-682-5450 or www.eugene-or.gov/library.