Archived reader bios for 2011

These are the reader bios from our 2011 event…..

Tom Birdseye, fiction

Tom Birdseye grew up in North Carolina and Kentucky, an ardent fan of anything that smacked of sports, crawdads, mud balls, forts built in the woods, secret codes, bicycles without fenders, butter pecan ice cream, and snow. He was, however, decidedly uninterested in writing — or any academic aspect of school, for that matter — never imagining that one day he would morph into the award-winning author of eight novels, eight picture books, and three non-fiction books for kids. Life, it seems, is full of who’d-a-thought-its.



Tim Black, poetry

Timothy Black’s first book, Connecticut Shade, a fusion of poetry, prose and play, was published in 2008 and is currently in its second printing from WSC Press. His poetry has appeared in the journals The Platte Valley Review, The Logan House Anthology of 21st Century American Poetry, The Great American Roadshow and Words Like Rain. In 2009, Black won the Helen W. Kenefick prize from the Academy of American Poets for his poem, “Heavy Freight.” In 2009 he was awarded a grant to edit and publish Where We’ve Been and What We’ve Seen, an anthology of student essays dealing with the experiences of war veterans in northeast Nebraska. He is currently working with Nebraska State Poet, William Kloefkorn, on a book of interviews and portable poetry workshop. A Cave Canem Fellow, Black currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon with his wife, author Cynthia Black, and two sons, Jake and Titus.

Alison Clement, fiction

Alison Clement’s first novel, Pretty is as Pretty Does (MacAdam/Cage, 2001) was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a Book Sense choice. Her second, Twenty Question (Washington Square Press, 2007) won the Oregon Book Award. Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Sun, The Alaska Review and High Country News. One of her short stories was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was anthologized in The Mysterious Life of the Heart (Sun Publishing, 2009). Alison lives in Corvallis, Oregon where she is currently experimenting with electronic publishing. (

Debra Gwartney, nonfiction

Debra Gwartney is the author of Live Through This, a memoir published in 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and a finalist for the National Books Critics Award and the National Books for a Better Life Award. The book was also shortlisted for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Oregon Book Award, and named one of the top ten books of the year by the Oregonian. Debra is also the co-editor, along with her husband Barry Lopez, of Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, published in 2006. She is the recipient of many fellowships, including those from Hedgebrook, the Wurlitzer Foundation, the Writers’ Center (of Bethesda, MD), the American Antiquarian Society, and the Oregon Arts Commission. She is working on a new nonfiction book, a chapter of which appeared in the summer 2011 issue of American Scholar. Twice the recipient of the annual teaching award at Portland State University, she is currently on the nonfiction faculty for the MFA program in writing at Pacific University, and lives in Western Oregon.

Karen Holmberg, poetry

Karen Holmberg’s first book, The Perseids, won the Vassar Miller Prize and was published by the University of North Texas Press; her second book, Axis Mundi, won the John Ciardi Prize and will be published by BkMk Press in 2012. A Discovery/The Nation Award winner, her poems and nonfiction have appeared widely in such magazines as The Paris Review, Quarterly West, Slate, The Nation, West Branch, Cimarron Review, Southern Poetry Review, Cave Wall, Nimrod, Subtropics, and Black Warrior Review. She teaches in the MFA program at Oregon State University.



Jon Lewis, nonfiction

Jon Lewis is a professor in the English Department at Oregon State University where he has taught film and cultural studies since 1983. He has published eight books: The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture, which won a Choice Magazine Academic Book of the Year Award; Whom God Wishes to Destroy … Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood; The New American Cinema; Hollywood v. Hard Core: How the Struggle over Censorship Saved the Modern Film Industry, a New York Times New and Noteworthy paperback; The End of Cinema as We Know It: American Film in the Nineties, American Film: A History, Looking Past the Screen: Case Studies in American Film History and for the British Film Institute’s Film Classics series, The Godfather. Professor Lewis has appeared in two theatrically released documentaries on film censorship: Inside Deep Throat (Fenton Bailey, 2005) and This Film is Not Yet Rated (Kirby Dick, 2006). Between 2002 and 2007, Professor Lewis was editor of Cinema Journal and had a seat on the Executive Council of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies.

Keith Scribner, fiction

Keith Scribner’s third novel The Oregon Experiment is set in a thinly veiled Corvallis and was released by Alfred A. Knopf (Random House) this year. His two previous novels, published by Riverhead Books (Penguin), are The GoodLife and Miracle Girl. The GoodLife appears in translation, was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers series, and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His fiction and nonfiction have appeared in The Daily Beast, TriQuarterly, American Short Fiction, Quarterly West, The North Atlantic Review, the San Jose Mercury News, the Baltimore Sun, and the anthologies Flash Fiction Forward (W.W. Norton) and Sudden Stories: The MAMMOTH Book of Miniscule Fiction. He teaches in OSU’s Creative Writing Program and is married to the poet Jennifer Richter.

Ann Staley, poetry

Ann Staley knew she wanted to be a teacher by 2nd grade and a writer by 4th grade, when her mother gave her stationary with her name printed across the top in red lettering. She grew up in the Keystone State and migrated west in her white 1961 VW bug, “Moon Shadow.” When the Golden Gate Bridge led her to Pacific Highway 101 she turned right and came north to Oregon. In this way she found herself 19 miles up the Green Springs Highway, living in a small cabin with a wood stove. She wrote terrible poetry that year, including an autobiography she sent as her letter of introduction while looking for her first teaching position in southern Oregon. Forty years later, a retired teacher who has taught everyone from grandmothers, fifth-graders, and prisoners, right on through graduate school, Ann likes nothing better than settling into a circle of strangers-becoming-friends, opening her notebook and saying, “Let’s do some freewriting for a few minutes before our introductions.” Ann has degrees from Pennsylvania State University, Southern Oregon University, and Stanford University. She has taught in five Oregon school districts, in two community colleges, and in two public universities and two private ones. She is one of the organizing publishers of FIREWEED: Poetry of Western Oregon. On her tombstone she wants the following engraved: “Loved this world, pen in hand.” Ann’s first book of poems, Primary Sources, has recently been released by PoetryTrope, Seattle. She has also been appointed Poetry Editor for the press.

Music by Sideways Portal

Sideways Portal formed serendipitously in the Fall of 2007 after a series of chance encounters: a summer potluck, a broken down van, and conversations that ended with “okay, let’s get together!” What began as a series of jam sessions at Dave Storr’s (Drums/Percussion) Califas studio with Rob Birdwell (Trumpet/Flugelhorn), John Bliss (Guitar) and Page Hundemer (Bass), evolved into recording sessions and eventual live performances that showcased the group’s sound and approach to making music. Although no single style defines the Sideways Portal sound, improvisation, groove, intention, and forgiveness provide the foundation for each of the Portal’s spontaneous compositions. Active in the Corvallis, Oregon area (and beyond), Sideways Portal performs and records regularly, sharing their craft, creative process, and unique sound for all who choose to enter the Portal.

Emcee: Mike McInally, editor of Corvallis Gazette-Times

Mike McInally is the editor of the Corvallis Gazette-Times and director of content for the Mid-Valley Newspapers. Before he arrived in Corvallis in December 2005, he worked at the Missoulian newspaper in Missoula, Montana, for 25 years – the last seven of those as editor. He is a native of Montana and a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism, where he crammed four years of study into a seven-year period. During his time in Corvallis, he has been involved in a variety of community activities, including Leadership Corvallis, the da Vinci Days Film Festival, the Economic Vitality Project, the Parent Enhancement Program, the Corvallis Chamber of Commerce, and the First Congregational United Church of Christ, where he teaches Sunday school to middle-school students. His distinguished stage career in Corvallis includes a stint as a zombie in the Majestic Education production of “Night of the Living Dead.” This is the extent of his distinguished stage career in Corvallis. His wife, Diane, is a certified public accountant. They have two daughters: Shannon is at the University of Oregon, studying theater. Samantha is a freshman studying microbiology at Washington State University. They share a house with the four worst cats in the world.


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