Wednesday, November 16: Musician and writer Willy Vlautin will read from his newest novel, The Free, winner of the 2014 Oregon People's Choice Award. 7pm.
Vlautin's haunting fourth novel, The Free (2014), demonstrates his extraordinary talent for illuminating the disquiet of modern American life. While his deftly-etched characters wrestle the everyday battles of the working class, they never lose hope, always searching for meaning and human connection in distressing times. This ambitious novel extends his singular literary vision with a lovingly rendered tory of three intersecting lives.
"In The Free, Willy Vlautin gives us a portrait of American life that is so hard and so heartbreaking that it should be unbearable, but it isn't. The straightforward beauty of Vlautin's writing, and the tender care he shows his characters, turns a story of struggle into indispensable reading. I couldn't recommend it more highly." Ann Patchett
"Willy Vlautin is one of the bravest novelists writing. Murderers, cheats, sadists, showy examples of the banality of evil, are easy, but it takes real courage to write a novel about ordinary good people... [Willy] tells us who really lives now in our America, our city in ruins." Ursula K. Le Guin
Born and raised in Reno, Nevada, Vlautin started playing guitar and writing songs as a teenager and quickly became immersed in music. It was a Paul Kelly song, based on Raymond Carver's Too Much Water So Close to Home that inspired him to start writing stories. Vlautin has published four novels: The Motel Life (2007 New York Times Editor's Choice and Notable Book Award, and made into a major motion picture starring Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsh, Stephen Dorff, and Kris Kristofferson), Northline (2008), Lean on Pete (2010 Winner of the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, short-listed for the IMPAC award, and soon to be a major motion picture starring Steve Buscemi and Chlore Sevigny), and The Free (2014 Winner of the Oregon People's Choice Award).
Vlautin founded the band Richmond Fontaine in 1994. The band has produced ten studio albums to date, plus a handful of live recordings and EPs. Driven by Vlautin's dark, story-like songwriting, the band has achieved critical acclaim at home and across Europe. 2014 saw the debut of Vlautin's new band, The Delines, featuring vocalist Amy Boone (The Damnations). Their album, Colfax, received rave reviews from across Europe and the United States. Uncut gave it nine out of ten stars and praised its "widescreen romanticism," calling it "the richest collection of songs Vlautin has written." The Delines sold out venues on their first UK and Irish tour and have subsequently had successful tours in Europe and Australia.
Vlautin currently resides in Scappoose, Oregon.