Portland has a rich literary community full of amazing writers, dedicated readers, and endless amounts of creativity! In response, organizations have blossomed around all of that bountiful energy in hopes of doing anything they can to help nurture it. Through my equity work with Ooligan and personal exploring, I have been fortunate enough to learn about these five local literary organizations doing great work in the local community.
When Portland Arts and Lectures merged with Oregon Institute for Literary Arts, Literary Arts was born! Since its formation, Literary Arts has grown tremendously and developed and acquired remarkable programs for readers, writers, and youth in the local community. Some of their annual programs include the Oregon Book Awards, Verselandia! Youth Slam Championship, Oregon Literary Fellowships, and Writers in the Schools workshops. These programs are just some things that Literary Arts is doing to enrich the local literary community.
Write Around believes in the power of writing and aims to create opportunities for people in the local community to develop that skill. Since 1999, this organization has held over six hundred workshops, published over fifty anthologies, partnered with over two hundred community organizations, and trained over three hundred volunteer workshop facilitators. These free and low-cost events are beloved by the local community.
Willamette Writers is the largest writers organization in the Pacific Northwest dedicated to helping authors connect with their community, develop their craft, and advance their careers. Membership benefits include the opportunity to bond with local writers, monthly meetings with wonderful speakers, discounted rates on sponsored workshops and the annual conference, and more! They also offer a Young Willamette Writers Program for writers ages thirteen to eighteen.
The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) is an organization devoted to nurturing collaboration, community-building, and creativity through its variety of resources and services for writing, printmaking, and publishing. IPRC has a letterpress studio, screen printing studio, risograph print studio, binding service, and computer lab available to local authors. There are opportunities for authors—members or not—to have access to the studios and services offered at the center to develop their writing careers.
AWP is a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the growing presence of literary writers in higher education by advocating for new creative writing programs and providing publishing opportunities for young writers. Students with an AWP membership have access to a database of information including a job list and calendar of grants, a mentorship program, and networking opportunities with their list of over four thousand members.
If you want to get involved or just learn more about the local literary community, these nonprofits would be a great place to start! Check out the links in this post to see what events they have going on!