July 14-20: Free Readings from The Port Townsend Writers’ Conference

(Pictured above: Kate Lebo)

During the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference, a rich and diverse gathering of prose writers and poets read from their work. Unless otherwise noted, all readings take place at the Joseph F. Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park.

All readings are free, and open to the public.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

  • 7:15—Readings by Kristen Millares Young; Gary Copeland Lilley; Paisley Rekdal

Monday, July 15, 2019

  • 7:00—Readings by Daniel Orozco; Elissa Washuta; Yashika Graham

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

  • 7:00—Readings by Kate Lebo (pictured above); Melissa Febos; Kim Barnes

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

  • 7:00—Readings by Phong Nguyen; Erin Belieu; Jourdan Keith

Thursday, July 18, 2019

  • 7:00—Readings by Jonathan Evison; Claudia Castro Luna; Debra Gwartney

Friday, July 19, 2019

  • 7:00—Readings by Sam Ligon; Rebecca Brown; Priscilla Long

Saturday, July 20, 2019

  • 7:00—Readings by Susan Landgraf; Robert Wrigley; Carl Phillips


Kim Barnes

Kim Barnes was born in Lewiston, Idaho, and, one week later, returned with her mother to their one room shack on Orofino Creek, where her father worked as a gyppo logger. The majority of her childhood was spent in the isolated settlements and cedar camps along the North Fork of Idaho’s Clearwater River.. In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country, her first memoir, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, received a PEN/Jerard Fund Award, and was awarded a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award.

She is the author of a second memoir, Hungry for the World, and three novels: Finding Caruso; A Country Called Home, winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Fiction and named a best book of the year by The Washington Post, Kansas City Star, and The Oregonian; and In the Kingdom of Men, a story set in 1960s Saudi Arabia, listed among the Best Books of 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle, The Oregonian, and The Seattle Times.


Daniel Orozco

Daniel Orozco is the author of Orientation and Other Stories (Farrar Straus Giroux). His work has appeared in the Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories and Pushcart Prize anthologies, and in Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, Zoetrope, and others.

He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers Award, as well as fellowships from the Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Idaho.


Jonathan Evison

Jonathan Evison is an American writer best known for his novels All About Lulu, West of Here, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving and This is Your Life Harriet Chance!.

His work, often distinguished by its emotional resonance and offbeat humor, has been compared by critics to a variety of authors, most notably J.D. Salinger, Charles Dickens, T.C. Boyle, and John Irving. His most recent novel is Lawn Boy.


Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips is the author of fourteen books of poetry, most recently Wild Is the Wind (FSG, 2018), and Reconnaissance (FSG, 2015), winner of the PEN USA Award and the Lambda Literary Award. He is also the author of two books of prose: The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination (Graywolf, 2014) and Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry (Graywolf, 2004), and he is the translator of Sophocles’ Philoctetes (Oxford, 2004). A four-time finalist for the National Book Award, his honors include the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.


Paisley Rekdal

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; the hybrid-genre photo-text memoir Intimate, and The Broken Country: On Trauma, A Crime, and the Continuing Legacy of Vietnam. She is also the author of six books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, Animal Eye, Imaginary Vessels and Nightingale. A two-time finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Prize, her work has received the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes, and inclusion in multiple editions of the Best American Poetry series.

Her poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New Republic, Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, and on National Public Radio among others. She teaches at the University of Utah and is Utah’s poet laureate.


Robert Wrigley

Robert Wrigley’s collections of poetry include Anatomy of Melancholy & Other Poems (Penguin, 2013), winner of the Pacific Northwest Book Award; Beautiful Country (Penguin, 2010); Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems (2006); Lives of the Animals (2003), winner of the Poets Prize; Reign of Snakes (1999), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award; and In the Bank of Beautiful Sins (1995), winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award and finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award from the Academy of American Poets.

Wrigley won the J. Howard and Barbara M.J. Wood Prize, Poetry magazine’s Frederick Bock Prize, the Poetry Society of America’s Celia B. Wagner Award, Poetry Northwest’s Theodore Roethke Award, and five Pushcart Prizes. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Idaho Commission on the Arts. His poems have been widely anthologized, twice included in Best American Poetry, and featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac. Wrigley has taught at Lewis-Clark State College, Warren Wilson College, the University of Oregon, the University of Montana, and the University of Idaho.


Rebecca Brown

Rebecca Brown’s thirteenth book, Not Heaven, Somewhere Else, a cycle of stories was published in 2018. Her diverse oeuvre also contains collections of essays and short stories, a fictionalized autobiography, a modern bestiary, a memoir in the guise of a medical dictionary, a libretto for a dance opera, a play, and various kinds of fantasy. Brown has been referred to as having “a uniquely recognizable voice, writing as she does in a stark style that combines the minimalism of Ernest Hemingway with some of the incantatory rhythms of Gertrude Stein.” She is based in Seattle and was the first writer in residence at Richard Hugo House and co-founder of the Jack Straw Writers Program.

Her work has been translated into Japanese, German, Dutch, Italian and Norwegian. One of her best-known works is perhaps her novel “The Gifts of the Body,” winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Recently retired after 20 years teaching at the Goddard College low residency MFA program, Rebecca is currently Senior Artist in Residence in the MFA in Creative Writing Poetics at University of Washington, Bothell.


Debra Gwartney

Debra Gwartney is the author of Live Through This, a memoir published in 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The book was also a finalist in 2009 for the National Books for a Better Life Award and the Oregon Book Award, and was shortlisted for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award. Jeff Baker, book critic for The Oregonian, named Live Through This one of top ten Pacific Northwest Books of the year.

Debra is also co-editor, along with her husband Barry Lopez, of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, published by Trinity University Press in 2006. She has published essays in many magazines, newspapers, and literary journals, including American Scholar, TriQuarterly, Prairie Schooner, Salon, Tampa Review, Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, The New York Times, and others.


Priscilla Long

Priscilla Long is a Seattle-based writer of poetry, creative nonfiction, science, fiction, and history, and a long-time independent teacher of writing. Her work appears widely and her five books are: Fire and Stone: Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? (University of Georgia Press), Minding the Muse: A Handbook for Painters, Poets, and Other Creators (Coffeetown Press), and Crossing Over: Poems (University of New Mexico Press). Her how-to-write guide is The Writer’s Portable Mentor: A Guide to Art, Craft, and the Writing Life. She is also author of Where the Sun Never Shines: A History of America’s Bloody Coal Industry. Her awards include a National Magazine Award. Her science column, Science Frictions, ran for 92 weeks in The American Scholar. She earned an MFA from the University of Washington.


Claudia Castro Luna

Washington State Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna served as Seattle’s first Civic Poet from 2015-2017 and is the author of This City (Floating Bridge Press). She is a Hedgebrook and VONA alumna, the recipient of a King County 4Culture grant and a Jack Straw Fellow. Born in El Salvador she came to the United States in 1981. She has an MFA in poetry, an MA in Urban Planning and a K-12 teaching certificate. Her poems have appeared in Poetry Northwest, La Bloga, City Arts, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, among others.

Her non-fiction work can be read in the anthologies, The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the US, (Northwestern University Press); Vanishing Points: Contemporary Salvadoran Narrative, (Kalina Eds) and forthcoming in This Is The Place: Women Writing About Home (Seal Press). Living in English and Spanish, Claudia writes and teaches in Seattle where she gardens and keeps chickens with her husband and their three children.


Elissa Washuta

Elissa Washuta is a member of the Cowlitz Indian Tribe and a nonfiction writer. She is the author of two books, Starvation Mode and My Body Is a Book of Rules, named a finalist for the Washington State Book Award.

With Theresa Warburton, she is co-editor of the anthology Shapes of Native Nonfiction: Collected Essays by Contemporary Writers.

Elissa has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, 4Culture, Potlatch Fund, and Hugo House.

She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the Ohio State University.


Melissa Febos

Melissa Febos is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010), and the essay collection, Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017), which The New Yorker called, “mesmerizing.” Abandon Me was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, an Indie Next Pick, and was named a Best Book of 2017 by Esquire, Book Riot, The Cut, Electric Literature, Bustle, Medium, Refinery29, The Brooklyn Rail, Salon, The Rumpus, and others. Her second essay collection will be published in 2020.

The inaugural winner of the Jean Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary, her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Tin House, Granta, The Believer, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Lenny Letter, The Guardian, Elle, Vogue, and elsewhere. Her essays have been anthologized widely and won prizes from Prairie Schooner, Story Quarterly, and The Center for Women Writers at Salem College. She has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air, CNN, Anderson Cooper Live, and elsewhere.


Phong Nguyen

Phong Nguyen is the author of a novel, The Adventures of Joe Harper (Outpost19, 2016), and two short story collections: Pages from the Textbook of Alternate History (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2014) and Memory Sickness and Other Stories (Elixir Press, 2011). He co-edited the volume Nancy Hale: On the Life and Work of a Lost American Master (Pleiades Press, LSU Press, 2012) with Dan Chaon.

He has worked in the editorial departments of Pleiades, cream city review, and The Atlantic. His own stories have appeared in more than 50 national literary journals, including Agni, Boulevard, Massachusetts Review, and North American Review.

He currently serves as the Miller Family Endowed Chair in Literature and Writing at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, where he lives with his wife–the artist Sarah Nguyen–and their three children.


Kristen Millares Young

Kristen Millares Young is the author of Subduction, forthcoming on Red Hen Press in spring 2020. An essayist and journalist, she serves as Prose Writer-in-Residence at Hugo House in Seattle. Her work has been featured by the Washington Post, the Guardian, the New York Times, Crosscut, City Arts Magazine, Hobart, Proximity, Moss, KUOW 94.9-FM, and others.

Kristen was the researcher for the New York Times team that produced “Snow Fall,” which won a Pulitzer and a Peabody. Her stories have been recognized by the Society for Features Journalism, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. She teaches at Hugo House and the Seattle Public Library.


Samuel Ligon

Port Townsend Writers’ Conference Artistic Director Samuel Ligon is currently writing and publishing a serial novel—Miller Cane: A True & Exact History—which will appear in fifty installments in Spokane’s weekly newspaper, The Inlander, as well as online, on Spokane Public Radio, and as a podcast.

Ligon is the author of four previous books of fiction, including two novels—Among the Dead and Dreaming and Safe in Heaven Dead—and two collections of stories, Wonderland, illustrated by Stephen Knezovich, and Drift and Swerve.

Ligon is co-editor, with Kate Lebo, of Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze. His stories have appeared in Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, New England Review, and elsewhere. His essays appear in the Inlander. He teaches at Eastern Washington University in Spokane.


Gary Copeland LilleyGary Copeland Lilley

Gary Copeland Lilley is a North Carolina poet living, writing, and teaching in the Pacific Northwest. His publications include four full-length collections, the most recent of which is The Bushman’s Medicine Show, from Lost Horse Press (2017), and three chapbooks of poetry.

He is a graduate of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program, and been faculty at Warren Wilson College, the Great Smokies Writing Program at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, and the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts.

Gary has been a visiting writer at the University of Arizona, Colby College, and the Institute of American Indian Arts. He is a Cave Canem Fellow.


Kate Lebo

Kate Lebo is the author of Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter (Sasquatch Books), and A Commonplace Book of Pie (Chin Music Press). Her essay about listening through hearing loss, “The Loudproof Room,” originally published in New England Review, was anthologized in Best American Essays 2015. Other poems and essays have appeared in This is the Place: Women Writing About Home, Ghosts of Seattle Past, Best New Poets, Gettysburg Review, Willow Springs, Moss, Catapult, The Rumpus, and Poetry Northwest, among other places.

In fall 2017, Sasquatch Books released Pie & Whiskey: Writers Under the Influence of Butter and Booze, an anthology co-edited with Sam Ligon and based on their popular Pie & Whiskey reading series. Her first collection of essays, The Book of Difficult Fruit, is forthcoming in 2019 from Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Picador.


Jourdan Imani Keith

Jourdan Imani Keith is a playwright, naturalist, educator, and storyteller whose work blends the textures of political, personal and natural landscapes to offer voices from the margins of American lives. Keith has performed nationally and internationally, giving over 250 performances from Zimbabwe to Philadelphia, from Yellowstone and North Cascades National Park to Seattle.

Jourdan Keith has received awards from 4 Culture, Artist Trust, and Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs for Coyote Autumn and 2004 for the play and solo performance of The Uterine Files: Episode I, Voices Spitting Out Rainbows. She has received fellowships from Hedgebrook, Voices of Our Nations (VONA), and Jack Straw Writer’s program. Her poems, essays and articles have appeared in magazines, newspapers, radio, television and video, including The Seattle Times, Labyrinth, PUSH, Floating Bridge Press, Colors NW, Seattle Woman, and the anthology, Ma-Ka, Diasporic Juks, writings by Queers of African Descent. Jourdan Keith is Founder and Director of Urban Wilderness Project.


Erin BelieuErin Belieu

Erin Belieu earned an MA from Boston University and an MFA from Ohio State University.

Belieu’s work focuses on gender, love, and history, filtering wide-ranging subject matter through a variety of theoretical frameworks. She often addresses feminist issues and uses poetic conventions and street talk.

Belieu is the author of four books of poetry: Infanta (1995), selected by Hayden Carruth for the National Poetry Series; One Above, One Below (2000); Black Box (2006), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; and Slant Six (2014).

Belieu coedited, with Susan Aizenberg, the anthology The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women (2001).


Susan Landgraf

Susan Landgraf is the author of “Other Voices” and “What We Bury Changes the Ground.”

Her poems have appeared in nearly two hundred magazines, including Poet Lore, Ploughshares, and the Cincinnati Poetry Review. Honors include grants to travel and study in South Africa, Namibia, Peru, and Bolivia.

She is currently the Poet Laureate for the City of Auburn.

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