What do writers need? Virginia Woolf famously said that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction” (in the essay A Room of One’s Own), but of course that’s not all, and not for everyone (men, poets, playwrights…). Writers need time, and space to pursue their craft. Writers need support, which can take the form of opportunities to read aloud, or to hear other writers talking about writing, or a community of supportive critical readers.
There are lots of organizations in the Portland area that offer resources for writers! Some are free, others are cheap (though not all). They involve various commitments of time. Here are some local organizations, roughly grouped - but you’ll see that they are hard to categorize…
Writing groups, workshops, and classes
The Attic Institute presents workshops, classes, and individual consultation about writing projects.
Lewis and Clark Northwest Writing Institute offers classes for community members.
The Multnomah Arts Center offers some wonderful literary arts classes.
PDX Writers facilitates workshops and retreats.
Portland State University has a few different academic programs in creative writing.
VoiceCatcher is a nonprofit connecting and empowering women writers in Portland.
Write Around Portland offers free creative writing workshops in social service settings, and creates publication and reading opportunities for workshop participants.
The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) offers resources and workshops related to printing and book-making. They also have certificate programs in creative nonfiction/fiction, poetry, and comics/graphic novels.
Oregon Poetry Association, Oregon’s oldest and largest literary organization, offers community, contests, and conferences.
Oregon Writers Colony offers community, conferences and workshops, and the use of a beach house writing retreat!
Willamette Writers hosts regular meetings for the exchange of ideas related to writing and craft.
Literary Arts’ programs include Portland Arts and Lectures, Writers in the Schools, the Oregon Book Awards and Fellowships, and Delve Readers Seminars.
There are many different reading series in Portland! You could head out to hear writers read their work at the Free Range Poetry series at the Northwest Library, Mountain Writers series, the Spare Room series, the Loggernaut reading series, the submission reading series, Burnt Tongue, Unchaste Readers, or The Switch... you could catch a reading when the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (FWWA) Pacific Northwest Reading Series has a Portland event... or you could see one of the many readings at Powell's Books! The Notable Portland column on The Rumpus lists select awesome events, mostly literary oriented.
Ooligan Press’s Write to Publish Conference aims to demystify the publishing industry for emerging writers.
At the Portland Zine Symposium, zine and minicomic creators sell and trade their self-published creations.
Wordstock is Portland’s biggest annual literary festival, featuring author readings, writing contests, workshops, exhibits and a book fair.
Oregon Authors is a great general resource for information about authors in Oregon! The site is a collaboration between Oregon Library Association and Oregon Center for the Book. It includes a great list of readers and writers groups in Oregon.
Last but certainly not least, Multnomah County’s Central Library offers the Sterling Room for Writers, where writers can find a quiet work space in close proximity to all the resources the library has to offer. Interested writers must submit an application and be approved to gain access to the room.