The fourth annual Wordstock Festival kicked off last night with the Superstar Poetry Slam Competition at the Baghdad Theatre. Don’t worry if you missed it, you still have ample time to enjoy the festivities of this truly remarkable literary event.

Saturday, Nov. 8 and Sunday, Nov. 9 feature the centerpiece of the festival, the Wordstock Book Fair at the Oregon Convention Center. Come one day or attend both for only $5 each. Tickets are sold at the door. Events will begin at 10 a.m. and finish at 6 p.m. If you plan to stay all day, there will be food available to purchase or you can brown bag it.

There will be over 150 different exhibitors’ booths to peruse. Genres include young adult, mystery, politics, science fiction, fantasy, non-fiction and more. Stumptown Comics Garden will have the latest graphic novels from Dark Horse, Fantagraphics, Oni Press, Top Shelf, Image and other comic publishers.

Also at the book fair, dozens of authors will be hosting different panel discussions about contemporary literature. Topics range from how songwriting influences literature and vice versa to writing about addiction.

Children under 17 get into Wordstock for free, so bring your child or younger sibling to play at Target’s Children Corner at Wordstock.

If you have some extra cash to burn, Wordstock has plenty of additional fun activities.

Wordstock for Writers workshops give writers of all levels an opportunity to improve their prose and poetry with some successful practitioners of the art. Learn techniques on plotting fiction stories, capturing poignant images into poetry, the path to publishing your stories, how to write gripping non-fiction pieces and other helpful advice.

Tuition for Wordstock for Writers workshops is $50 for one workshop, $80 for two workshops and $20 for each additional workshop you choose to take. Register at www.wordstockfestival.com to attend the workshops that sound most interesting to you.

Teachers can also attend writing workshops for a one-day registration fee of $300 to attend four sessions and earn one continuing education credit through the University of Oregon.

The fourth annual edition of Wordstock’s Live Wire! will take place on Saturday, Nov. 8, at 8 p.m. in the Aladdin Theatre. Live Wire! is a comedic radio variety show recorded in front of a live audience and broadcast on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

It includes original sketch comedy, live music and conversation. This year’s cast includes cartoonist Lynda Barry as well as former literary agent John Hodgman. Most people know Hodgman best for playing the “villain PC” on Apple’s “Mac vs. PC” advertisements. Jay Allison, producer of NPR’s essay series, “This I Believe,” will also be on the show. Other authors the attended Wordstock 2008 will also be featured on Live Wire! Tickets are sold at all Ticketmaster outlets for $25 each.

The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is presenting the third annual Text Ball Saturday, Nov. 8 from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Left Bank, just a few blocks from Wordstock. This year’s theme is “Figures of Speech.” Attendees are encouraged to come dressed with text as part of your attire because the best costumes will win prizes donated from local business and arts organizations, with a $100 grand prize.

Dance to the Portland Cello Project throughout the night while eating text-based foods, applying temporary text tattoos to your skin, singing karaoke and playing text-based games. Tickets can be purchased at the IPRC offices, the IPRC Wordstock booth, Reading Frenzy bookstore, online at www.brownpapertickets.com or at the door.

All proceeds from The Text Ball benefit the IPRC.

Since 2005, Wordstock has hosted over 550 writers who have read and performed for almost 55,000 people. This year they are expecting 15,000 attendees. Show up early and ready to add your voice to the Northwest’s foremost celebration of the exquisite written word.

Wordstock 2008 Highlights

Book FairOregon Convention CenterNov. 8 and 9, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.$5 for entry

Notable WorkshopsAll workshops are held Nov. 8 and 9 in the Oregon Convention Center rooms D139 and D140Workshops are $50 for one, $80 for two and $20 for each additional workshop after that.

The Athletics of WritingM. Thomas CooperSat., 9 to 10 a.m.

Don’t be Boring: Three techniques for telling gripping nonfiction storiesEric NuzumSat., 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.

The Art and Business of Travel WritingRolf PottsSun., 2 to 3 p.m.

Why You Should Care About Science Fiction and FantasyJay LakeSun., 3:15 to 4:15 p.m.


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