Last night I had the pleasure of attending HomeWord Bound, the annual Community Partners for Affordable Housing benefit, at the Tualatin Country Club.
HomeWord Bound invites Oregon writers to join community members and housing advocates for a memorable fund-raising gala. Along with the silent auction and other fund-raising activities, attendees can talk to the writers, purchase their books and get autographs. A writer is assigned to each table, and I was lucky enough to sit next to the always-charming Dana Haynes, author of the page-turning thriller Crashers.
Both featured writers gave wonderful talks. Wendy Burden, author of Dead End Gene Pool, shared thoughts about her memoir (originally intended as a cookbook) and paired a lovely reading of the prologue with photos of her wealthy ancestors (Cornelius Vanderbilt, her great-great-great-great-grandfather, among them). I can’t wait to read her book.
As the other featured author of the evening, Lauren Kessler, author of My Teenage Werewolf: A Mother, A Daughter, A Journey Through the Thicket of Adolescence, offered a very funny list of what the fantasy writing life entails–as imagined by wannabe writers and non-writers. I took notes on the list as well as her remarks on why she chooses to write narrative nonfiction. Expect a post about her soon.
Along with Dana, Wendy and Lauren, local writers April Henry, Donna Matrazzo, Judy Nedry, Gina Oschner, Scott Sadil, Kevin Sampsell, David Michael Slater and George Byron Wright participated. My talented friend Tracy Stepp, the organization’s funding and outreach manager, works like crazy to get this benefit under way each year, and it was great to see how all the preparations by Tracy, and other CPAH staff and board members, came together.
If any of you are Portland-area writers, or readers, or residents, put this incredible event on the calendar for next year so you remember to get tickets before they’re sold out. It was amazingly inspirational to have so much local talent in one place for an evening, not to mention the government officials, activists and everyone who decided to spend a Friday night celebrating and supporting affordable housing.
Even better, Community Partners for Affordable Housing was aiming to raise $50,000 to further its important mission. How amazing is that? Thanks, Tracy and CPAH, for a great evening, and for all that you do in our region.