Books

Oregon authors at Lane County Fair to debut, discuss new books

William L. Sullivan

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The pandemic that canceled author tours had a silver lining: Oregon authors had time to write interesting new books. Now that restrictions have lifted, 34 authors will be at the Lane County Fair from Wednesday to Sunday, discussing and autographing their latest works.

This year “Zetty,” a novel by Eugene mental health therapist Debra Whiting Alexander, won the national Eric Hoffer Award for legacy fiction. Her recently released sequel, “A River for Gemma,” is already earning top reviews, and for the same reason: Alexander understands that women who are pigeonholed as “intellectually disabled” can possess surprising strength, genius, and emotion. Set in the Willamette Valley, the new book follows Gemma, whose wish to have a child collides with her family’s hidden past.

Set partly in Eugene during the counterculture 1960s, Micah Thorp’s debut novel “Uncle Joe’s Muse” follows the long strange trip of a fictitious rock band. The story begins when a 12-year-old girl shows up at the house where the aging, dissolute band members have crashed, announcing that she has been sent to live with her father – although she doesn’t reveal which band member it is, and none of them remembers her mother. Eventually, Jerry Garcia’s guitar, Woodstock, and Ken Kesey’s bus all come into play.

Lauren Kessler, well known for 15 books of biography and narrative nonfiction, has turned her attention to the 2.3 million American citizens who are incarcerated. In “A Grip of Time: When Prison Is Your Life” she interviewed the “lifers” who will never be released. Her new book, “Free: Two Years, Six Lives, and the Long Journey Home” tells the stories of those who have returned to society. She marvels at the rate of success, although prison has poorly prepared these people for the outside world, and the outside world isn’t entirely welcoming.

A tall magician who tends to wear black hats and long black coats, Taylor Ellwood moved to Eugene to perform a different kind of magic – writing novels about zombies. The three he’s published in the past year deal with Sam, who thinks his new job as customer support rep for the Zombie Apocalypse Call Center is a joke, until telepathic alien super zombies actually start showing up. Ellwood previously published the “Learning How to Be a Hero” series of graphic novels. That trilogy charts the progress of Nelson, a shy superhero who has to learn to fly, escape bad guys, and ultimately save the world.

This year the Oregon Authors Table at the Lane County Fair will be in the Performance Hall beside the doors to the glass-roofed atrium. Because the table only has room for about eight authors at a time, check the schedule if you want to meet a specific author.

  • Debra Alexander (novels): 1-5 pm Saturday
  • Curt Angeledes (photography): 5-7 pm Wednesday-Thursday
  • Dan Armstrong (historical novels): 11 am-7 pm Thursday, 11 am-7 pm Saturday
  • A. Lynn Ash (travel memoirs): 11 am-5 pm Wednesday-Thursday; 3-7 pm Friday-Saturday
  • Ken Babbs (Merry Prankster memoir): 1-3 pm Saturday
  • Joe Blakely (history, novels): 11 am-7 pm Wednesday-Friday
  • James Burke: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
  • Carola Dunn (mystery): 1-5 pm Thursday
  • Pat Edwards (Lane County history): 11 am-7 pm Thursday
  • Taylor Ellwood (graphic novels): 11 am-1 pm Saturday, 3-5 pm Sunday
  • Michael Foster (novels): 11 am-3 pm Friday
  • Robert Heilman (essays): 11 am-7 pm Wednesday
  • Ken Helphand (Oregon history): 5-7 pm Thursday and Saturday
  • Evelyn Hess (memoirs): 11 am-3 pm Sunday
  • Ann Herrick (young adult): 1-5 pm Thursday
  • Lauren Kessler (biographies): 11 am-3 pm Saturday
  • Jason Kilgore (scifi/fantasy): 3-7 pm Wednesday, 5-7 pm Thursday-Friday, 3-7 pm Saturday
  • Dan Liberthson (spy novel): 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday
  • Donna McFarland (self-publishing): 11 am-5 pm Thursday
  • Marli Miller (Oregon geology): 3-5 pm Sunday
  • Ron Miner (WWII novels/memoirs): 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday
  • Sharleen Nelson (time travel novels): 3-7 pm Friday-Saturday
  • Michael Pace (WWII novel): 1-5 pm Wednesday, 11 am-1 pm Friday
  • Amy Palatnik (romance memoir): 3-5 pm Friday, 1-3 pm Saturday
  • Mike Pungercar (WWII history): 1-3 pm Wednesday, 11 am-1 pm Sunday
  • Jerry Rust (mystery): 11 am-1 pm Sunday
  • Brenda Sanders (children’s books): 1-5 pm Wednesday, 3-7 pm Friday
  • Mary Sharon Moore (writing memoirs): 1-3 pm Wednesday
  • Dorothy Soper (children’s books): 1-5 pm Saturday-Sunday
  • William Sullivan (hiking, novels): 11 am-7 pm Wednesday-Saturday and 11 am-5 pm Sunday
  • Micah Thorp (novel set in Eugene): 1-5 pm Sunday
  • “Dr. T” Tshionyi (African folk tales): 11 am-3 pm Friday, 11 am-1 pm Saturday
  • David Turner (Lane County history): 1-5 pm Friday, 11 am-3 pm Sunday
  • Judith Van (adventure novel): 5-7 pm Wednesday, 11 am-1 pm Saturday
  • David Wagner (nature/gardening): 3-5 pm Wednesday, 1-3 pm Friday
  • Tom Warner (US geography): 3-5 p.m. Sunday
  • Ken Woody (sports): 11 am-1 pm and 5-7 pm Friday, 5-7 pm Saturday and 11 am-5 pm Sunday
  • Edwin Wollert (novels): 3-7 pm Friday, 11 am-1 pm Saturday

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