Words & Pictures 2022
After two years of virtual events, our sixth annual festival of local authors and illustrators was back in person and bigger than ever at the library. Events were held throughout the District in October. See below for a roster of the talented authors who helped make Words & Pictures 2022 such a rousing success.
Authors and Illustrators
Tiel Aisha Ansari
Sufi warrior poet Tiel Aisha Ansari has been featured in Measure, Windfall, and Everyman’s Library. Her collections include Knocking from Inside, High-Voltage Lines, Country Well-Known as an Old Nightmare’s Stable, The Day of My First Driving Lesson, and Dervish Lions. She hosts Wider Window Poetry on KBOO Community Radio.
Mohammad Bader is an Arab-American, Palestinian poet. He was born in East Jerusalem and much of his poetry reflects his experience as a first-generation immigrant. His book The Traveler was published in 2011 by Lulu Press. Although the book was mainly written in English, many of the poems were originally written in Arabic and then translated. Mohammad majored in English at Bethlehem University and later studied counseling at PSU. Much of Mohammad’s early poetry was lost. Mohammad hopes and dreams for peace and justice, specifically in Israel and Palestine.
David Barbur lives in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. He can often be found wandering the forest with a longbow in his hand, tracking animals and trying to figure out what happens next in his latest story.
Jessica Becker is a hiker, outdoor educator, and homeschooling mom. She has published four local hiking guides for families, and is currently working on a fifth guide for the Portland area. Jessica makes hiking accessible to families and also educates them about various trail-specific topics through place-based learning. Jessica has taken countless families out into nature and has learned how to make hiking with kids safe and fun for all ages. Jessica lives with her family in the Cascade foothills near Battle Ground.
Debbie Buck has been working at Vintage Books for 23 years. She is the buyer (new books) and school sales coordinator. Before working at the bookstore, Debbie worked for Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries and the Tillamook County Library System, with a year working at the Tillamook Cheese Factory in between. She is passionate about getting kids excited to read and loves to read picture books out loud, complete with silly voices. When not at work, she spends time at home in Longview with her husband, three kids, dog, two cats, and two chickens.
Curtis C. Chen
Once a Silicon Valley software engineer, Curtis C. Chen (陳致宇) now writes stories and runs puzzle games near Portland, Oregon. He's the author of the KANGAROO series of funny science fiction spy thrillers and has written for the Realm originals Echo Park, Ninth Step Murders, and Machina. Curtis' short fiction has appeared in Playboy Magazine, Aliens vs. Predators: Ultimate Prey, Daily Science Fiction, and elsewhere. His homebrew cat feeding robot was displayed in the "Worlds Beyond Here" exhibit at Seattle's Wing Luke Museum.
Neil Cochrane is a queer, trans author and artist living and working in Portland, Oregon, on land belonging to the Cowlitz people, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Clackamas people, and Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians. He writes speculative fiction that centers queer characters overcoming obstacles and building families. He has worked in and around the publishing industry since 2012, in such various roles as editor, literary agent assistant, marketing director, and bookseller. He is represented by Michaela Whatnall of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
Adam Copeland is a native of the Pacific Northwest, lives in Vancouver Washington, and is a diverse writer of fantasy, mystery, and horror. He is a co-founder of the Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA) and his works can be found in their annual anthologies as well as Nightshift Radio’s Storytellers series and Wisegoddess Magazine.
Deb Cushman is the author of adventure tales for children and teens. Her short stories have been featured in children's magazines, and her middle grade fantasy novel, Frigg's Journey to Anasgar, is the first book of an exciting new series, Chronicles of Nadavir. Living in the PNW provides ample inspiration for fantasy settings. She loves imagining what it would be like to encounter a faery, travel to Narnia, and fight orcs in Middle Earth, so long as she doesn’t have to leave her living room.
Genevieve DeGuzman writes poetry and fiction. She has been a recipient of fellowships and grants from Oregon Arts Commission, PEN America, Literary Arts, Cuttyhunk Island Writers’ Residency, Vermont Studio Center, and Can Serrat, among others. Most recently, Genevieve was awarded the 2022 Oregon Literary Fellowship and was featured in the Cultural Landscape Series portraiture project for Oregon ArtsWatch. As a poet, Genevieve won the Atticus Review contest selected by Roberto Carlos Garcia and earned nominations for the Best New Poets anthology. Her work appears in Folio, Iron Horse Literary Review, Nimrod, RHINO, phoebe, Strange Horizons, and has been featured in the Poetry Moves program for C-TRAN.
Christopher Diaz is a Chamorro poet, freelance photographer, and military veteran. He is a two-time Grand Slam Champion of Houston’s slam poetry team, Write About Now, which ranked fifth in the nation in 2018. He has been featured by NBC News, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, Poets & Writers, The Utah Review, and more. He has previously taught poetry with the nonprofit Writers in the Schools and recently moved to the PNW with his partner and three dogs.
Originally from New Jersey, Andrew (he/him) has a PhD in English literature from the University of Southern California, where he also taught freshman writing for six years. He was a postdoctoral fellow at USC’s Institute for Multimedia Literacy at the Annenberg Center for Communication, where he worked with digital media pioneer Bob Stein. Andrew is now a professional editor, author, and musician based in Portland, OR. Before founding Yellow Bike Press, he was an editor at Inkwater Press, where he edited hundreds of books. Andrew is the author of Decomposition: A Music Manifesto (Pantheon, 2014), one of Los Angeles magazine’s “Best Little Music Books” of 2014.
Karen Eisenbrey (she/her) 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 and the occasional poem or song if it insists. Published books include the Daughter of Magic fantasy trilogy: Daughter of Magic; Wizard Girl; and Death’s Midwife, and the St. Rage garage-rock/superhero series: The Gospel According to St. Rage; Barbara and the Rage Brigade; and Far from Normal (co-written with LeeAnn McLennan). Karen shares her life with her husband, two young adult sons, and four feline ghosts.
William Erickson is a poet and memoirist from Vancouver, Washington. His work appears or is forthcoming in West Branch, Heavy Feather, Sixth Finch, Bear Review, and numerous other publications. He is the author of a chapbook, Monotonies of the Wildlife (FLP 2022).
Stephanie Feldstein 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.
Caroline Holm is an artist, writer, wife, and mother from Salem, Oregon. Her first book of illustrated poetry and prose, Woodland, was published this February. Her work centers around awe for the natural world and the philosophies it reveals. She is currently in the process of recording the audio album for Woodland and is enrolled in an education program to become a state-licensed psilocybin facilitator by spring 2023. For more information about Caroline and upcoming projects and events, visit her website.
Cat Writer Mollie Hunt is the award-winning author of two cozy series, the Crazy Cat Lady Mysteries and the Tenth Life Mysteries. Her Cat Seasons Sci-Fantasy Tetralogy features extraordinary cats saving the world. Mollie also pens a bit of cat poetry. Mollie is a member of the Oregon Writers’ Colony, Sisters in Crime, the Cat Writers’ Association, and Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA). She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and a varying number of cats.
Jessica E. Johnson writes poetry, nonfiction, and things in between. Her poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in The Harvard Review, Entropy, River Teeth, Poetry Northwest, DIAGRAM, Interim, The Account, and Tin House, among others. She is an Oregon Literary Fellowship recipient and an Oregon Book Award Finalist for her chapbook In Absolutes We Seek Each Other. Her first full-length collection, Metabolics, is forthcoming from Acre Books in 2023. She lives in Portland, Oregon and teaches at Portland Community College.
Wendy Clark Joslin
Wendy Clark Joslin is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author of paranormal and science fiction romance novels under the pen name Starla Night. She's been a #1 bestseller on Amazon in her categories and is the 2022 president of the Rose City Romance Writers. Feel free to stop by and chat about self-publishing, book marketing, and romance!
Jessie Kwak has always lived in imaginary lands, from Arrakis and Ankh-Morpork to Earthsea, Tatooine, and now Portland, Oregon. As a writer, she sends readers on their own journeys to immersive worlds filled with fascinating characters, gunfights, explosions, and dinner parties. When she’s not raving about her latest favorite sci-fi series to her friends, she can be found sewing, mountain biking, or out exploring new worlds both at home and abroad.
Inaugural Clark County Poet Laureate Christopher Luna (2013-2017) founded the Ghost Town Poetry Open Mic in 2004. Lightship Press will release his next book, Voracity, in November.
Gretchen Brandenburg McLellan is a former elementary reading specialist who devotes herself to writing for children and visiting schools and libraries. She is the author of Mrs. McBee Leaves Room 3 (Grace Zong, ill.), I’m Done! (Catherine Lazar Odell, ill.), Button and Bundle (Gillian Flint, ill.), No Party Poopers! (Lucy Semple, ill)., and When Your Daddy’s a Soldier (EG Keller, ill.). She writes chapter books and middle-grade fiction as well. Gretchen grew up as a global nomad, and lived on three continents. She settled in Camas, WA where she lives with her husband, dog, stunt squirrels, nomadic neighborhood chickens, and celebrates when her children and grandchildren come home.
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.
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.
David J.S. Pickering is a native Oregonian, having grown up and lived much of his life in the working-class culture of the North Oregon Coast. He received the 2020 Airlie Prize for his first poetry collection, Jesus Comes to Me as Judy Garland (Airlie Press, 09/2021). His poetry is published in a variety of journals, including Reed Magazine, Pine Row, Raven Chronicles, and Gertrude Journal. David never aspired to have a website, so he is a bit nonplussed to find he now owns one. David lives with his husband in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Carolyn J. Rose
Carolyn J. Rose is the author of the Subbing isn’t for Sissies series, featuring a sleuthing substitute teacher and her entitled dog. She’s also penned the Catskill Mountains Mystery trilogy, and published a number of other mysteries, some co-written with Mike Nettleton. She grew up in the Catskills, emerged from the university with a degree and a tan, and served two years with Volunteers in Service to America. Following a 25-year career as a TV news researcher, writer, producer, and assignment editor, she went back to high school as a substitute teacher. Now retired, her interests are writing, reading, swimming, walking, gardening, and NOT cooking.
Claudia F. Saleeby Savage
Claudia F. Saleeby Savage is an Arab-American poet, essayist, and mama. She is the author, most recently, of Bruising Continents (Spuyten Duyvil), with recent work in Poetry Northwest, BOMB, Anomaly, About Place, and River Teeth. She performs regularly with her music-text performance duo, Thick In the Throat Honey, and her collaboration about motherhood, Reductions, with visual artist Jacklyn Brickman, will be exhibited in Portland and Detroit in 2023. Saleeby Savage works in the field of renewable energy and lives with her husband and daughter in Portland, OR.
S.R. Stewart is the managing editor and co-founder of Unsolicited Press, a small publishing house in Portland. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University. When she isn't bringing books to life, she's busy brewing kombucha, backpacking in the Oregon wilderness, and gardening.
Brian Tashima is an author, screenwriter, musician, and philanthropist. His credits include the award-winning Joel Suzuki series—a young adult sci-fi/fantasy coming-of-age story about a teenage boy whose autism is the source of his magic—and the manga-style comic book series Glorified. He also sings and plays guitar for the punk-rock band Second Player Score and serves on the Board of Directors for Autism Empowerment, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people and families in the autism community.
Sonja Thomas (she/her) writes stories for kids of all ages, often featuring brave, everyday girls doing extraordinary things. Raised in Central Florida—home of Disney, humidity, and hurricanes—and a Washington, DC transplant for 11 years (Go Nats!), she's now “keeping it weird” in the Pacific Northwest. She's a contributing author for Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 Real-Life Tales of Black Girl Magic. Her debut middle grade novel, Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence, released in March.
Armin Tolentino serves as poet laureate for Clark County. He's the author of the poetry collection We Meant to Bring It Home Alive and he believes that reading and writing are the simplest, and yet most transformative, practices anyone can add to their lives. To attend one of his free, generative writing workshops, please visit his website.