Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Three Authors Come for the 10th Annual Newport Reads!

The tenth annual Newport Reads! community reading program will present a triple header on April 9 at the Newport Performing Arts Center. Oregon authors Jane Kirkpatrick, Phillip Margolin and Gregory Nokes will discuss their recent books on the roles of African Americans in settling Oregon. Doors open at 6:30 and the program begins at 7:00 in the Alice Silverman Theater. Sponsored by the Newport Public Library Foundation, the program is free to all readers. 

“Often, when slavery is mentioned, or discrimination,” says Patti Littlehales, Chair of the Newport Reads! Committee, “the reaction is to think of the South. But Oregon played a role, too. These authors believe that a part of Oregon’s history has been forgotten and should be remembered.” 

Nokes’ and Margolin’s books feature the groundbreaking court case, Holmes versus Ford. Nokes wrote Breaking Chains: Slavery on Trial in the Oregon Territory, a nonfiction account, and Margolin gave us Worthy Brown’s Daughter. Kirkpatrick’s latest book, A Light in the Wilderness, is the story of a woman of color traveling on the Oregon Trail and also features a significant court case. Together these books give a real feeling for living in the Oregon Territory before the Civil War. “These books were among my first glimpses into Black history in Oregon, which is only recently being talked about and published,” says Wyma Rogers, one of the organizers of Newport Reads! 

Phillip Margolin grew up in New York City and graduated from American University in Washington, D.C. He came to Oregon to practice criminal law before becoming a full-time writer of mystery and detective novels. His books have received numerous awards and appeared on the New York Times Best Seller List. 

Jane Kirkpatrick is a popular Oregon writer, speaker and teacher. Her books have won several awards, including the Oregon Book Award. Kirkpatrick began as a social worker after graduating from the University of Wisconsin. In her retirement she homesteaded land on the John Day River in a remote part of Oregon known as Starvation Point. 

Gregory Nokes is a former reporter and editor for the Associated Press and the Oregonian. He is a Portland native who attended Willamette and Harvard Universities. Nokes is known for his work in uncovering details of the 1887 massacre of 34 Chinese gold miners in Hells Canyon. 

The Newport Public Library has multiple copies of each book for lending, and there will be an opportunity to buy the books at the program and get them signed by the authors. The idea of a community reads program started in Seattle in 1998 to deepen engagement in literature through reading and discussion and create a community connection. For more information on Newport Reads!, call 541-265-2153.

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