I was asked to submit my first article about Famous (and Not-so-Famous) Writers from Portland. At first, I figured this will be a piece of cake. Then I realized after just a little digging that there are over 200 local authors living and not living from the local Portland area. So have narrowed it down to nine writers I feel worth mentioning.
1. Matt Groening
Let’s begin with Matt Groening. Born here in Portland, Mr. Groening is best known as the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, what many people are unaware of, is that he also formed Bongo Comics in 1994 named after the character Bongo from Life in Hell. It was a collaboration with Steve Vance, Cindy Vance, and Bill Morrison. Check out his published work: http://lifeinhellarchives.tumblr.com
2. William Edgar Stafford
Next we have William Edgar Stafford was a famous American poet and the father of local poet and essayist Kim Stafford. Although he wasn’t a published author until he was 46 years old his first collection of poems published was “Traveling Through the Dark“, which won the 1963 National Book Award for Poetry. He passed away in Lake Oswego in 1993. Learn more about this great award winning poet: http://www.williamstafford.org/
3. James Beard
Another Portland-born writer was James Andrew Beard. He was an American cookbook author and a syndicated columnist. Beard was an advocate of American cuisine who taught generations of professional chefs and food enthusiasts. His legacy lives on in over twenty books, and other writings. His foundation’s annual James Beard Awards upcoming authors in many culinary genres. To learn more and check out his work: http://www.jamesbeard.org/
4. Bill Cameron
Our next hero from the Portland area, Bill Cameron, writes the Portland-based adventures of gritty ex-cop Skin Kadash. It’s a chronological mystery series that include County Line, Lost Dog, and others. Look for his next release coming later this year “Property of the State” and, for in-depth info on all his books, check here: http://www.bill-cameron.com/fiction/novels/
5. Max Handelman
For you fantasy sports fans we have Max Handelman, born and raised in Portland, is an author, film producer, and blogger. He co-wrote the book with Erik Barmack,
Why Fantasy Football Matters: (And Our Lives Do Not). Handelman became a director at News Corporation, where he helped to launch Fox Sports’ fantasy football division. He is an avid fan of fantasy football and other fantasy sports. Oh, and did I mention he’s married to film star Elizabeth Banks, wow! Follow his tweets: https://twitter.com/maxhandelman
6. Beverly Cleary
Beverly Cleary was born April 12, 1916, in McMinnville, and grew up in Portland. She’s an American writer of children’s books. She is considered one of America’s most successful writers of children’s literature, selling over 91 million copies of her books worldwide. Her lifelong contributions to American literature, Cleary has received the National Medal of Arts, recognition as a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress. Learn more about her and peruse her books: http://www.beverlycleary.com/
7. Gary Braasch
Next we have Gary Braasch, who lives in Portland, has been an environmental photojournalist for over 40 years. He’s been published by New York Times Magazine, Time, LIFE, and many more. Braasch has also won many awards for his works including Ansel Adams Award from the Sierra Club and the Outstanding Nature Photographer citation from the North American Nature Photography Association. Braasch is probably best known for Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World. He also co-wrote a companion children’s book, Secrets of the Old Growth Forest, with David Kelly, another fellow Portlandian.
Check his body of work at http://braaschphotography.com/
8. Molly Gloss
Molly Gloss is a fourth-generation Oregonian whose novel The Jump-Off Creek was a winner of the Oregon Book Award, PEN/Faulkner finalist. It’s a story of a single woman and her trials and tribulations of homesteading in the backcountry of Oregon in 1895. William Kittredge called it “a truly beautiful piece of American storytelling.” Molly Gloss still resides in Portland. Check out her website and learn more about her: http://mollygloss.com/
9. Carrie Brownstein
Carrie Brownstein is an American musician, writer, and actress. Her published works include Portlandia: A Guide for Visitors, The Portlandia Cookbook: Cook Like a Local, and her memoir published just last year, Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl.
Carrie is well known in these parts as co-star with Fred Armisen in the Peabody Award-winning satirical comedy TV series Portlandia. The show will begin airing season 6 on January 21st. For more on Carrie Brownstein check out her website http://www.carriebrownstein.com/
Did you know these authors were from Portland? Did we miss any?