Matt de la Peña delivers free 10th annual Teen Author Lecture

PORTLAND, Ore. — Oct. 3, 2011 — Each fall, Multnomah County Library connects local students with a popular author of books for teens. This year, the library presents Matt de la Peña, author of Ball Don’t Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here and I Will Save You. De la Peña will discuss his work with Multnomah County students, then deliver the 10th annual Teen Author Lecture on Monday, Oct. 17.

The lecture is free, thanks to the generous sponsorship of The Library Foundation with support from Oregon Cultural Trust and Oregon Humanities, and takes place at Slavic Church Emmanuel, 2025 S.E. 82nd Ave. (near Division), at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30. Seating is limited, and on a first-come, first-served basis.

Meeting a beloved, successful author -- and having a chance to ask him questions -- is an educational and motivational experience for teen readers. They learn about the writing and publishing process (“First drafts are painful for me,” says de la Peña in an interview with author Sara Zarr) and take home life lessons from the author’s works and discussion.

The characters in de la Peña’s stories portray boys in seemingly hopeless situations, without traditional support systems. With courage, his characters overcome obstacles and move beyond situations that have previously defined them. His characters also navigate identity issues.

"I think most writers have their little hang-ups," says de la Peña. "One of mine is the guilt I felt growing up about being the lightest in my family. I never felt Mexican enough. I felt like a sellout for going to college. Pretty stupid, right? But my fiction always seems to include these mixed race kids who are trying to navigate both the landscape of the story at hand and their own complex identity issues."

About Multnomah County Library

Multnomah County Library is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi, with a history that reaches back to 1864. Today, Central Library and the other 18 neighborhood libraries that make up the library system house a collection of two million books and other library materials. As Oregon's largest public library, Multnomah County Library serves nearly one-fifth of the state's population with a wide variety of programs and services. Over 35,000 people use the library each day, either online or in person.