Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Thank You, Bibi Gaston

The Columbia Writers Series would like to thank Bibi Gaston for coming to Clark and talking about her book The Loveliest Woman in America on February 15th. It was a delightful time and, if you missed it, you can learn more about the event, Bibi Gaston, and her book in these articles and websites:


The Independent:

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Columbia Writers Series is happy to welcome author Bibi Gaston to Clark College.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011 – 12:00 Noon – Foster Auditorium

Gaston is the author of The Loveliest Woman in America: A Tragic Actress, Her Lost Diaries, and Her Granddaughter’s Search for Home (2008). The book traces the life of Rosamond Pinchot, Gaston’s grandmother, whose glamorous life and meteoric career as a stage and screen actress ended in suicide at the age of 33 in 1938. The story connects to many aspects of the American scene in the first half of the 20th century—high society, family dynamics, politics, the film and entertainment industry, and the place of women in American culture; but it also links to issues of our own time as Gaston explores the legacy of Pinchot’s tragedy in her own familial relationships. The book was a finalist for the 2009 Oregon Book Awards, and is currently being reprinted in paperback by Harper Collins.

Bibi Gaston is a landscape architect who lives in the Dalles, Oregon. With 25 years of experience in the field, she has been reponsible for over 300 projects, from family gardens to scenic highways, and has been honored with numerous awards including a US Department of Transportation Honor Award in 2000. She is currently at work on a new book that will couple her interests in landscape and family history. Tentatively titled “The King of Jeeps: A Romantic Guide to the Lost Landscapes of Northern Morocco,” the work follows the trail of a 1955 guidebook her parents wrote about Morocco, the country of her birth.

Praise for The Loveliest Woman in America:

“…a fascinating memoir... Her writing is deft and sure. …. poetic, wry, humorous and, above all, spoken with the voice of truth and compassion. With ‘The Loveliest Woman in America,’ she gives readers the topography of the heart of a family, and in it we find pieces of ourselves.” (Bangor Daily News)

“….Uncovers a family history long obscured by secrets and lies…functions well as a window into a largely vanished social and cultural structure. Heartfelt and accomplished…” (Kirkus Reviews)

“…a Dreiserian treatise on the corrosive uses of money and class in America and how self-destructive patterns of behavior are often handed down in families…Bibi Gaston does a remarkable job piecing together this dramatic family history….” (Washington Post)

Monday, May 17, 2010

David Oates

Recent Columbia Writers Series guest David Oates is featured in the new issue of Orion Magazine. Check out the mag here:

Find it at a newsstand near you!


Penelope Scambly Schott

On May 11th, Penelope Scambly Schott read and discussed her poetry in Clark College's PUB 161 from 12:00 to 1:00. Read all about it here in the Clark journal Clark 24/7, p. 12:

Thanks to Hannah Feldman for her coverage of the event!


The Columbia Writers Series Welcomes Penelope Scambly Schott

Clark College, Tuesday, May 11th, 2010, 12:00 noon
Penguin Union Building, Room 161 ~ Free

Penelope Scambly Schott is the author of a published novel, five chapbooks, and seven full-length books of poetry. Her verse biography A Is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth won the 2008 Oregon Book Award for poetry. Her newest books are Six Lips (2010) and Under Taos Mountain: The Terrible Quarrel of Magpie and Tía (2009).

Penelope has worked as a home health aide, a donut maker in a cider mill, an artist’s model, and always a college professor. After many years in rural New Jersey, she moved to Portland, Oregon. She is an active member of several poetry groups– The Pearls, The Tabus, The Word Sisters, and The Cool Women Poets of New Jersey, who will be making a third trip to Oregon and reading in Portland on Thursday, May 20th. Penelope’s poetry is included on their recent CD The Cool Women Collect Themselves.

She has been awarded fellowships by the New Jersey Council on the Arts and at The Fine Arts Workcenter in Provincetown, Massachusetts, The Vermont Studio Center, and most recently at The Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. She has taught poetry workshops all over the country.

~ Praise for Penelope Scambly Schott:

On A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth
Meticulously researched, marvelously rendered, A is for Anne: Mistress Hutchinson Disturbs the Commonwealth is biography written with the flame of poetry. Anne Hutchinson grapples with injustice and confining religious conformity. This wonderful book is as much a parable for our own frightened and frightening times as a depiction of a period blurred by the mists of history.
—Robert Cooperman

On Six Lips:
Insightful, sure footed, possessed of an unerring ear for the music of language, Schott summons deft images from the natural world as she confronts the great themes of literature: death, love and the human experience, its duplicity and grace; this is the work of a poet writing in full stride. Praise be.—Colette Inez

On Crow Mercies:
There's a knife sharpener in California who ends his notes Stay sharp and shiny. This is what Penelope Schott does with words, images, stories, memories—sharp! shiny!—she is not afraid to startle or jolt. A reader feels electrified.—Naomi Shihab Nye

Monday, March 15, 2010

Paul Collins

Paul Collins gave a talk in the Penguin Student Lounge on February 11th, 2010. The talk, part lecture and part reading, focused almost entirely on his new work, The Book of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered the World. Read about the event here, on pages 9 and 10 of Clark 24/7:

Be sure to check out Paul's blog, "Weekend Stubble," which you can access through the link provided by his name in our author list to the right on this blog. Enjoy!

James Finley
Below is a photo of a copy of the First Folio covered with a child's 17th century doodling!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Paul Collins to Present at Clark College

Author and professor Paul Collins will be the next guest speaker in Clark College’s Columbia Writers Series. Collins will appear on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from noon to 1 p.m. in the Penguin Student Lounge, located in Clark’s Penguin Union Building. The event is free and open to the public.

Clark College is located at 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver. Maps and driving directions are available at

As a writer, Collins specializes in science history, memoir, and unusual antiquarian literature. His six books have been translated into 10 languages. They include The Book of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered the World (2009), The Trouble with Tom: The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine (2005), Not Even Wrong: A Father's Journey Into the Lost History of Autism (2004), Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books (2003), and Banvard’s Folly: Tales of Renowned Obscurity, Famous Anonymity and Rotten Luck (2002).

Collins is frequent contributor to the "Histories" column of New Scientist magazine. His other recent freelance work includes essays for the New York Times, Slate, and The Believer. In addition to appearing regularly on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday as its resident “literary detective” on odd and forgotten old books, he is also the founding editor of the Collins Library imprint of McSweeney's Books, where he has revived such disparate works as a World War I internment camp memoir (To Ruhleben and Back) and an absurdist 1934 detective tale (The Riddle of the Traveling Skull).

Paul Collins lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches creative nonfiction as an assistant professor in the master of fine arts (MFA) program at Portland State University.