↑ Listen to State of Wonder, broadcasting live from Portland’s biggest book extravaganza, Wordstock.
Ursula K. Le Guin: Think about the pleasure you felt when a favorite teacher showed you something new. That feeling takes on an entirely new dimension in this year’s revival of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “Steering the Craft.” Le Guin, one of Oregon’s most decorated living writers, gave us epic novels that set the template for so much in science fiction and fantasy, plus poetry and nonfiction that changed the way we think. We’ll hear about how she pulls off her best literary tricks, along with her reflections after almost a half century in the industry.
Patrick DeWitt and Michael Hurley: Patrick DeWitt has a gift for laying out a very complete situation with very few well-chosen words. The Booker Prize Foundation, when awarding him a prize for his 2011 western, “The Sisters Brothers,” called DeWitt’s writing “stark, unsettling and with a keen eye for the perversity of human motivation.” Those words also apply to his latest novel, “Undermajordomo Minor.” But it’s a completely different story — less “Deadwood,” more Magic Mountain. Patrick DeWitt is going to read for us today, accompanied by one of the most singular performers you will meet, today, or ever: Michael Hurley.
Patterson Hood and Willy Vlautin: Patterson Hood and Willy Vlautin are both the voices behind two breakthrough country rock bands — The Drive-by Truckers and Richmond Fontaine. Aside from their Southern-tinged vocals, they also turn to literature as a creative outlet. Hood has published stories for The New Yorker and Vlautin’s new novel “The Free” is his fourth title to date. They join April Baer to talk about the relationship between music and writing along with a look at what’s on their bookshelves.