The festival is over for this year, but you can watch recordings of the sessions on YouTube!
Our fifth annual festival of local authors and illustrators is a two-day virtual extravaganza on Saturday, October 9 from 10 am–5 pm and Sunday, October 10 from 10 am-3:15 pm. Events include a keynote address and events for children and families on Saturday, Imagined Ink writing workshops for teens on Sunday, and author readings and workshops and panels for writers throughout the festival.
Keynote speaker: Laura Stanfill
Books matter, not just by offering a safe and steady haven in times of crisis, but because the joy of writing and reading is itself an act of resistance. In this year’s keynote, Laura Stanfill, a novelist and the publisher of Forest Avenue Press, will speak about books being her first friends and how writing, reading, and publishing have sustained her through the uncertainty of a global pandemic.
Vintage Books, a family-owned independent bookstore in Vancouver, is our bookstore partner. Many of the author's books can be purchased through their website.
Note: if a book you'd like to purchase is not available, please check the author's website for more information about how to purchase!
Special thanks to Christy Peterson, our author coordinator, who spends countless hours coordinating Words & Pictures every year.
Authors and Illustrators
Benjamin Gorman is the author of the novels The Sum of Our Gods, Corporate High School, The Digital Storm, and Don’t Read This Book. In addition to being a political activist, a poet, the publisher at Not a Pipe Publishing, and a union thug, he teaches high school English in Independence, Oregon. (He has to wear all these different hats because of his lack-of-hair situation.) During COVID, he’s been posting pictures of flowers every day because, let’s face it, we need some extra beauty in our lives.
Brian Tashima was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, but it was too warm and sunny for him, so he decided to move to Vancouver, Washington, where he now writes books, plays in a local band, and serves on the Board of Directors for Autism Empowerment.
Catherine Lazar Odell
Catherine Lazar Odell is a freelance illustrator and one-woman print shop based out of Portland, Oregon. She believes in the power of the imagination and community to create a just and optimistic future. Catherine is the author and illustrator of two books, Pepper and Frannie and It's Showtime! A Pepper and Frannie Story. The stories pull from her experiences as a musician and skateboarder, with themes of friendship, perseverance, and kindness.
Christy Peterson has written more than 30 books and articles for children and young adults. Her most recent title, Into the Deep: Science, Technology, and the Quest to Save the Ocean (April 2020, Twenty First Century Books), received a starred review from School Library Journal. Another recent release, Earth Day and the Environmental Movement: Standing Up for Earth (March 2020, Twenty First Century Books), earned a starred review from Kirkus.
Other work includes Cutting-Edge Hubble Telescope Data (Lerner 2019) and Breakthroughs in Stars Research (Lerner 2019), as well as articles “Clam vs. Rock” and “A Bumblebee’s World,” which both appeared in ASK Magazine. Christy has also written exhibit text for “Nanoland,” a museum exhibit for Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and resources for parents and teachers.
Curtis C. Chen
Once a Silicon Valley software engineer, Curtis C. Chen (陳致宇) now writes speculative fiction and runs puzzle games near Portland, Oregon. His debut novel, Waypoint Kangaroo, (a 2017 Locus Awards Finalist) is a science fiction spy thriller about a superpowered secret agent facing his toughest mission yet: vacation. Curtis' short stories have appeared in Playboy Magazine, Daily Science Fiction, and Oregon Reads Aloud. He is a graduate of the Clarion West and Viable Paradise writers' workshops. You can find Curtis at Puzzled Pint on the second Tuesday of most every month.
David D. Levine
David D. Levine is the author of Andre Norton Award winning novel Arabella of Mars (Tor 2016), sequels Arabella and the Battle of Venus (Tor 2017) and Arabella the Traitor of Mars (Tor 2018), and over fifty SF and fantasy stories. His story “Tk’Tk’Tk” won the Hugo, and he has been shortlisted for awards including the Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, and Sturgeon. Stories have appeared in Asimov’s, Analog, F&SF, Tor.com, numerous Year’s Best anthologies, and his award-winning collection Space Magic.
Debby Dodds is the author of the novel Amish Guys Don't Call, on the list BEST YA OF 2017 by Powell’s Books, featured in Random House’s Better with Books, and an Amazon Top 100 in a YA category. She won 1st place in Portland’s Wizard World 2017 Fiction Contest. As an actress, she wrote and performed in stage shows at both Disneyland and Disney World. Debby has stories in twenty anthologies including the NY Times best-selling My Little Red Book (Hachette). She received a BFA from NYU in Drama/Acting and an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University.
I create my unique illustrations by delicately slicing and stacking layers of paper. I think of papercutting as an exquisite cross between drawing and sculpture, a medium where lines can literally be lifted out of paper to create story and depth. As a writer, I specialize in stories that are unusual or unexpected. Unlikely heroes, new takes on classic stories, and the secret worlds of children are my forte. Whether I am writing a whimsical fantasy or a piece of vivid nonfiction, I love to surprise my readers.
Stories have power! Author Fonda Lee shares her thoughts on how the power of creating and consuming stories gets us through difficult times. She is the World Fantasy Award-winning author of the Green Bone Saga, beginning with Jade City and continuing in Jade War and the forthcoming Jade Legacy. She is also the author of the acclaimed young adult science fiction novels Zeroboxer, Exo and Cross Fire. Fonda is a multiple finalist for the Nebula and Locus Awards and a three-time finalist for the Oregon Book Awards. Born and raised in Canada, she now resides in Portland, Oregon.
Gabi’s debut picture book, Two Dogs on a Trike, illustrated by Robin Rosenthal, released May 19, 2020 from Abrams Appleseed. Her second picture book, Listen, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin, is due in spring 2021 from Simon & Schuster/Wiseman. Gabi studied psychology at the University of Washington and creative writing at The University of Texas and is a member of SCBWI. When she’s not writing, she loves taking nature walks, visiting Little Free Libraries, and baking sweet treats. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon with her family.
Gary Corbin is a writer, actor, and playwright in Camas, WA. He has published seven novels in three separate series, the most recent being In Search of Valor in his Valorie Dawes Thrillers series. His plays have enjoyed critical acclaim and have been produced on many Portland-area stages.
A homebrewer and home coffee roaster, Gary is a member of the Oregon Brew Crew and is an accredited National Beer Judge. He loves to ski, cook, and root for his beloved Patriots and Red Sox. And when that’s not enough, he escapes to the Oregon coast with his sweetheart.
Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan is a former elementary reading specialist and author of Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3, I’m Done!, Button and Bundle, and No Party Poopers!. She writes picture books, chapter books and middle-grade fiction. Gretchen grew up as an army brat and global nomad. She settled in Camas, WA and hopes children will find a home in her heartfelt books about community, courage and compassion. When she isn’t writing, Gretchen can be found reading, playing word games, attending plays, hiking, x-country, sewing and baking. Please visit gretchenmclellan.com for information about her books, events and author visits.
H. R. Mason
H. R. Mason is an Ohio girl transplanted into the Pacific Northwest. She is a people-watching introvert who can be found hiding out in the nearest corner. When not writing, she loves rainy days at the beach, old houses and antiques, researching family history, reading, and getting lost inside her own thoughts. She is a lover of caffeine and a hopeless romantic at heart. A multi-published author in the Romance genre, she moved into new writing territory in 2019 when she crossed genres. Nothing Hidden Ever Stays, her debut Gothic Suspense novel, became an Amazon bestseller.
Heather S. Ransom
Middle school teacher, pizza pub and cigar shop owner, science fiction author of the award winning YA Going Green trilogy and short stories published in Strongly Worded Women and Shout, director for Southern Oregon and OYA Rogue Valley Young Willamette Writers, and believer in the magic of an incredible story.
Jenn Reese (she/her) writes speculative fiction for readers of all ages. Her middle grade books include A Game of Fox & Squirrels (Henry Holt) and the trilogy beginning with Above World (Candlewick), a finalist for the 2012 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. Jenn’s short fiction has appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Uncanny, Analog, and the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology Paper Cities, among others. Jenn lives in Portland, Oregon.
Jim Mockford is the author of The Kite That Touched the Sky, a bilingual Chinese and English illustrated children’s book published in 2020. Jim is a historian and writer specializing in Asian and Pacific studies. He attended Waseda University in Tokyo and graduated from the University of Oregon. Jim was an award-winning kite flier at the 1987 Weifang International Kite Festival in Weifang, China. In 2017, he returned to Weifang to fly kites in China once again, and began to write a children’s book about his grandchildren in China and the USA and their adventure together flying kites.
Jody J. Little
Jody J. Little is a third-grade teacher who loves sharing her joy of books and reading with her students. She lives in the beautiful city of Portland, Oregon. Her debut middle-grade novel, Mostly the Honest Truth, was a Winter/Spring 2019 Indies Introduce and Indies Next Selection, and a 2020 Oregon Book Award Finalist. Her second novel, Worse Than Weird, is a story set in Portland about discovering the weird in everyone.
Karen Eisenbrey lives in Seattle, WA, where she leads a quiet, orderly life and invents stories to make up for it. Karen writes fantasy and science fiction novels, as well as short fiction in a variety of genres and the occasional poem or song if it insists. She is the author of four novels: The Gospel According to St. Rage; Barbara and the Rage Brigade; Daughter of Magic; and Wizard Girl, all from Not A Pipe Publishing. Death’s Midwife will release in 2021. Karen shares her life with her husband, two young adult sons, and two mature adult cats.
Kristin Burchell loves ghost stories and things that cannot be explained, so the Pacific Northwest is the perfect place for her. She is the author of The Witches of Proposal Rock, published by Astrea Press. A selection from her novel Enter Elisabeth won first place in Willamette Writers’ Kay Snow contest. The entire novel can be found at Multnomah County Library’s Overdrive, as can Court of Venom, which won Honorable Mention in the Kay Snow contest. She is the facilitator for SCBWI’s Clark County Write Direction.
Laura Stanfill is the publisher of Forest Avenue Press and the author of the novel Singing Lessons for the Stylish Canary, forthcoming in April 2022 from Lanternfish Press. In 2021, she was the runner-up for the Publishing Professionals Network’s Distinguished Service Award, and Forest Avenue earned an Oregon Literary Fellowship as well as a place on Reedsy’s list of best small presses. Stanfill is a 2018 graduate of the Yale Publishing Course after winning the inaugural scholarship from the Independent Book Publishers Association. Publishers Weekly designated her as a 2017 Star Watch honoree. She founded the Main Street Writers Movement to encourage writers to build community at the local level. Her zine, Sad House: Parenting, Grief, and Creativity in the Coronavirus Crisis, was published by Microcosm Publishing. She believes in indie bookstores and wishes on them like stars from her home in Portland, Oregon, where she resides with her family and a dog named Waffles. Join her newsletter at laurastanfill.substack.com.
Laurel Gale writes books for children. Her middle grade novels include Dead Boy, her debut, and Story Magic, which will be out October 27, 2020. She lives with her husband and their ferrets in Washington. In addition to writing, she enjoying hiking, playing board games, and reading.
Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, LeeAnn Elwood McLennan was always looking for any opportunity to read—under the covers in bed, in the car, and in class using the book-hidden-in-the-textbook trick. When her father introduced her to sci-fi/fantasy through a book of short stories from Astounding Stories, the possibilities in every word captivated her interest and her daydreams involved other worlds, magical powers and time travel. Despite graduating from Clemson University with a degree in English, LeeAnn has spent her career working in computer engineering-related fields.
Lisa Gerlits is an art teacher, muralist, and author of the middle grade novel, A Many Feathered Thing, which came out earlier this year. It's about a girl who draws but isn't tortured enough to be a real artist. Or is she? Lisa lives in Silverton, Oregon with her Dutch husband and three kids. She loves raspberries, bird watching, unlikely heroes, and soup.
Lydia K. Valentine
Lydia K. Valentine is a playwright and poet, director and dramaturg, editor and educator. Through her own writing and the projects to which she contributes under Lyderary Ink, Lydia always seeks to amplify the voices of those who are often stifled, ignored, and marginalized in what has been the accepted narrative of the United States. Lydia’s writing has appeared in online and print publications such as Angels Flight * literary west, The Pitkin Review, and Shout! An Anthology of Resistance Poetry and Short Fiction. Her first poetry collection, Brief Black Candles, is expected in winter 2020 from Not a Pipe Publishing.
Melissa Wiley is the author of The Nerviest Girl in the World, The Prairie Thief, Fox and Crow Are Not Friends, the Inch and Roly series, the Martha and Charlotte Little House books, and other books for kids. Melissa has been blogging about her family’s reading life and tidal homeschooling adventures at Here in the Bonny Glen since 2005.
After a twenty-plus year career, Rebecca Robinson continues writing in a number of genres - graphic novel, television mini-series, and now, serialized historical fiction podcast. Her latest project draws on personal family history from England during the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066.
Rosanne Parry is the author of seven middle grade novels, including the newly released A Whale of the Wild and the NY Times best seller A Wolf Called Wander which is published in 11 languages. Rosanne is a part-time bookseller at legendary Portland independent bookstore, Annie Blooms, and is the captain of the League of Exceptional Writers, a free mentoring workshop for young avid readers and writers (on hiatus until 2021). She lives with her family in an old farmhouse and writes in a treehouse in her backyard. You can find Rosanne at www.rosanneparry.com
Sheela Preuitt is an author of children’s books and a freelance writer for publications with a south Asian slant. In her nonfiction works, she enjoys focusing on STEM/STEAM topics for children. As a fiction picture book writer she finds it immensely gratifying to share inclusive narratives featuring differently-abled kids who simply want to be who they are. Sheela holds a Master's in Science Education and a Master’s in Computer and Information Science. When she is not writing or reading or coding, she can be found hiking in nature trails, cooking mostly-healthy foods, sewing or crocheting utilitarian things.
Sloane Leong is a mixed indigenous cartoonist, artist, and writer. She explores themes of survival, displacement, relationships, spirituality, identity, and mental illness through genres like science fiction, horror, adventure, and slice-of-life. She is currently working on the second arc of her sci-fi adventure comic Prism Stalker and has a new book coming up in 2020 from First Second called A Map to the Sun.
Stephanie Feldstein is the author of The Animal Lover’s Guide to Changing the World: Practical Advice and Everyday Actions for a More Sustainable, Humane, and Compassionate Planet. She is the Population and Sustainability Director at the Center for Biological Diversity, where she heads a national program that addresses the connection between human population growth, overconsumption, and the wildlife extinction crisis. She created the innovative Take Extinction Off Your Plate campaign, and her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, NPR, Salon, The Guardian, The Washington Post, and more. When she’s not advocating for animals and the environment, she can usually be found writing young adult and middle grade fiction in the company of her rescued dogs and cats named after literary figures.
Author and screenwriter William Schreiber earned the Rising Star Award from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association for his debut novel that infuses a redemptive family saga with a pinch of paranormal, Someone to Watch Over. The book was adapted from his original screenplay, which has won or been nominated for many film festival and industry competition screenwriting awards, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Program. At work on his next novel, he lives in Seattle, Washington, with his wife, Pam.