On a rainy Saturday morning, 8000+ book-lovers gathered at the Portland Art Museum for the relaunch of Portland’s beloved book festival, Wordstock. The festival, which had been on hiatus since 2013, was resuscitated by Portland non-profit Literary Arts. This community-based literary organization is dedicated to the readers and writers of Oregon. Wordstock’s programming included 42 authors speaking live about their work and experiences, as well as a book fair with 70+ vendors and many activities aimed at young readers. We partnered with Literary Arts on a limited edition trio of notebooks for the event, featuring illustrations from Carson Ellis, Rilla Alexander and Christian Robinson. All three illustrators also participated in the day’s programming. Carson read from her book Home, and Rilla from Her Idea, Christian read from Leo, written by Mac Barnett.
We asked Literary Arts Festival & Events Manager Amanda Bullock a few questions about the event:
What inspired Literary Arts to take on the relaunch of Wordstock?
Wordstock, which was a nonprofit organization that originally produced the festival and some education-based programs before it became a program of Literary Arts, approached Literary Arts when it became evident that Wordstock, the organization, could no longer sustain the festival. After much deliberation and consideration, Literary Arts acquired the Wordstock festival in fall 2014, thanks to the strong early support of three foundational funders—the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, the Meyer Memorial Trust, and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust—and community partners Powell’s, Multnomah County Library, OPB, and the Portland Art Museum. Without this foundation of support the festival would not be possible as a program of Literary Arts. Here is some more information about the acquisition.
What was the biggest success of this year’s Wordstock?
I’m really proud of the programming we put together; we had world-class authors alongside fantastic new and emerging talent on the stages and in the museum pop-up events. That programming drew unprecedented crowds, a solid and clear mandate for this kind of festival in Portland. I’m also thrilled with the collaborations we created with organizations and companies like Scout Books; the festival was a real community effort, including our indispensable, unflappable, amazing 250 volunteers!