Portland Arts & Lectures

Literary Arts has made the decision that we will not host any in-person events or classes through the end of 2020.

In April we announced our intention was to reschedule our lectures first, and then when that was not possible we would host them online. We re-scheduled the last lecture of the 2019-20 series, with Colson Whitehead for May of 2021. Since then, circumstances have shifted many times and Colson Whitehead will not be traveling to Portland this season. We feel this is too long to wait to hear from him, especially given the relevance of his work to the ongoing fight for racial justice.

Rather than push his event even further out, we have scheduled Colson Whitehead for this fall for a virtual event premiering on September 24, 2020. This event will still be exclusive to Portland Arts & Lectures subscribers to the 2019-20 season, which is sold out.

For the opening night of the 2020-21 season of Portland Arts & Lectures, an evening with Helen Macdonald, we will be presenting a virtual event on October 13, 2020. Given that Macdonald lives in England, and the uncertain timing of when we can gather again in the Schnitzer Concert Hall, there was not a reasonable way to reschedule. Again, this event will be highly produced and re-imagined to give our subscribers a special and exclusive evening.

Details about how to access these digital presentations will be sent via email to subscribers.

Our second event of the PA&L season, an evening with Yaa Gyasi has been re-scheduled to and in-person event on May 18, 2021. Since Gyasi lives here in the US we were able to reschedule her with more certainty than for Helen Macdonald.

We will be including our youth in all our planning for Portland Arts & Lectures. If an author is unable to travel to Portland, they will meet with students virtually, and students will have free access to events, and copies of visiting authors books.

Currently, there are no planned changes to the remaining Portland Arts & Lectures events of the 2020/21 season, however we are closely following public health guidelines and will let our subscribers know if there will be any update. Our Students the Schnitz program and author visits will adapt to the virtual model.

The only way to attend the Helen Macdonald, Yaa Gyasi, and other Portland Arts & Lectures events is to subscribe to the series. A limited number of subscriptions for the 2020–21 season still remain.

Thank you to the more than 2,400 people who have already subscribed for your patience and understanding as we adapt to a challenging situation. Your subscriptions have allowed us to continue our work.

Typically, Portland Arts & Lectures season tickets are non-refundable; however, we understand that these are unique and challenging times for all of us. While we certainly hope you stay with us during these times of great experimentation, we also understand if your circumstances have changed due to the current health crisis. We will be honoring refund requests for the 2020–21 season. Click here for more information.


Since 1984, Portland Arts & Lectures has brought leading authors, historians, artists and critics to our community to discuss their work and the trajectory of contemporary culture, connecting readers and writers of all ages in a spirit of intellectual curiosity and engagement with events, classroom visits, and forums. Portland Arts & Lectures brings the world’s most celebrated writers, artists and thinkers to our community. Five preeminent voices of contemporary literature are coming to the stage of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall for one-night only presentations and you are invited.

Portland Arts & Lectures is a program of Literary Arts, a community-based nonprofit literary center located in downtown Portland, with a 35-year history of serving Oregon’s readers and writers.

All events take place at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall.

Portland Arts & Lectures 2020/21 Season

Presented by Literary Arts

Join Literary Arts for another five-part season of engaging talks from some of the world’s best writers and thinkers.

Series subscription ($90 - $355) available at Literary Arts: https://literary-arts.org/box-office/

Portland Arts & Lectures events are listed below.