The 18th annual Magic Barrel: A Reading to Fight Hunger is set for Friday, Oct. 21 at Corvallis High School Theatre.
The Magic Barrel is a feast for mind and body. Nine fine local writers will read delectable samples of their work, and there’ll be sweet and savory tidbits from Corvallis’s best chefs and bakers. Suggested donation is $7, but no one will be turned away.
As always, all the money raised at The Magic Barrel goes to Linn Benton Food Share to help alleviate hunger in our community.
The Magic Barrel: A Reading to Fight Hunger has become the mid-Valley’s premier literary event, says Corvallis novelist Rick Borsten. “The format is eight or nine brief readings, moving bang bang bang from one genre to the next,” he said. “I like to call it ‘inter-genre-ational.’ There’s nothing else like it out there. It makes for a lively evening.”
This year’s readers are:
* Keith Scribner, OSU professor and author of the novels Miracle Girl, The Good Life and the just-released The Oregon Experiment
* Alison Clement, author of the novels Pretty Is as Pretty Does and Twenty Questions
* Tom Birdseye, author of a dozen novels for young readers including the recently published Storm Mountain
* Jon Lewis, OSU professor and author of eight nonfiction books about cinema including one about “The Godfather” and another about Francis Ford Coppola
* Debra Gwartney, author of Live Through This, a memoir about her daughters living on the streets as runaways; the book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award
* Tim Black, author of the poetry collection Connecticut Shade and Cave Canem Fellow.
* Karen Holmberg, OSU professor, author of the poetry collection The Perseids and recent winner of the John Ciardi Prize
* Ann Staley, author of the poetry collection Primary Sources and an organizing publisher of FIREWEED: Poetry of Western Oregon
The jazz group Sideways Portal will play before and during the show. Emcee will be Mike McInally, editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times.
The name “Magic Barrel” has deliberate literary overtones. It’s the title of an early short story by the acclaimed writer Bernard Malamud, who taught freshman composition at Oregon State College (as it was then called) in the early 1950s. He went on to write eight novels and 65 short stories, and won both a National Book Award and a Pulitzer Prize for his 1967 novel The Fixer.
“The Magic Barrel is a rare opportunity to feed your soul and help feed hungry bellies at the same time,” said Corvallis poet Charles Goodrich. “And because of the dismal economy, there are a lot of hungry people in our community.” Goodrich read from his work at last year’s event, which raised more than $2,000 for Linn Benton Food Share.
“Most people are shocked to learn that Oregon is the third hungriest state in the nation,” said Linn Benton Food Share community services coordinator Mike Gibson. In 2009 the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that more than half a million Oregonians were “food insecure,” meaning they lived in households without enough money or other resources for food.
The Magic Barrel begins at 6:30 p.m. with music. Readings start at 7. Said Borsten: “Our goal is to fill the house and fill the barrel for the hungry in our community.
Please see www.magicbarrel.org for information about this year’s or past events. You may also follow us on Facebook. To learn more about efforts to alleviate hunger in Oregon, please see the Linn Benton Food Share website, www.csc.gen.or.us/foodshare.htm.