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Since 1984, Literary Arts has welcomed many of the world’s most renowned authors and storytellers to its stage for one of the country’s largest lectures series. Sold-out crowds congregate at Portland’s Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall to hear these writers’ discuss their work and their thoughts on the trajectory of contemporary literature and culture. In celebration of Literary Arts’ 30-year anniversary, A Literary Arts Readers collects highlights from the series in a single volume. Whether it’s Wallace Stegner exploring how we use fiction to make sense of life or Ursula K. Le Guin on where ideas come from, Margaret Atwood on the need for complex female characters or Robert Stone on morality and truth in literature, Edward P. Jones on the role of imagination in historical novels or Marilynne Robinson on the nature of beauty, these essays illuminate not just the world of letters but the world at large.
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than 40 volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and nonfiction. She is best known for her novels, which include The Handmaid’s Tale and The Blind Assassin, which won the prestigious Booker Prize. Her newest novel, MaddAddam, is the final volume in a three-book series that began with the Man-Booker prizenominated Oryx and Crake and continued with The Year of the Flood. She lives in Toronto. Russell Banks has received numerous honors and awards, including the Ingram Merrill Award, the John Dos Passos Award, the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Laure Bataillon Prize for best work of fiction translated into French, for the French edition of The Darling. Continental Drift and Cloudsplitter were Pulitzer Prize finalists; Affliction, Cloudsplitter, and Lost Memory of Skin were PEN/Faulkner finalists. He lives in Keene, NY. Edward P. Jones, a New York Times best-selling author, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Lannan Literary Award for The Known World. He lives in Washington, D.C. Ursula K. Le Guin published her breakout novel The Left Hand of Darkness in 1969, and from there elevated the genres of science fiction and fantasy into high literature. The author of 21 novels, 11 volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, 12 books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, she lives in Portland, OR. Marilynne Robinson is the recipient of a 2012 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama for her grace and intelligence in writing.” She lives in Iowa City, IA. Wallace Stegner wrote 30 books over a 60-year career. Among the novels are The Big Rock Candy Mountain, All The Little Live Things, and Angle of Repose. He died in 1993. Robert Stone’s novel Dog Soldiers won the National Book Award. His other novels include A Flag for Sunrise, Children of Light, and The Bay of Souls. He lives in New York City. Jeanette Winterson’s first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, won the 1985 Whitbread Prize for a First Novel and was adapted for television by Winterson in 1990. The winner of the 1987 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Passion, she lives in London.
Table of Contents
Margaret Atwood, Women Behaving Badly: The Need for Complex Evil’ Female Characters in Literature" Russell Banks, "No, But I Saw the Movie" Ursula K. Le Guin, Where Do You Get Your Ideas From: Fantasy as Literature, not Genre" Marilynne Robinson, "On Beauty" Robert Stone, "Morality and Truth in Literature” Wallace Stegner, Fiction to Make Sense of Life" Jeanette Winterson, What Is Art For?"