Wordstock — Portland’s book festival — is that most wonderful of days, when Oregonians’ book lust reaches a fever pitch, culminating in increased secret police presence at book signings, reader mobs storming the gates of Powell’s, and more mayhem.

We talked to a slew of fantastic authors at this year’s event: Tom Perrotta, Katie Kitamura, Chuck Klosterman, and more. We’ll serve these up on our podcast in the coming weeks, but for now, feast on this live show, recorded at noon with four writers on the vanguard.


Joseph Fink (left) and Jeffrey Cranor (right), the creators of the podcast, "Welcome to Nightvale", and authors of the novel "It Devours!", onstage at Wordstock 2017.

Joseph Fink (left) and Jeffrey Cranor (right), the creators of the podcast, “Welcome to Nightvale”, and authors of the novel “It Devours!”, onstage at Wordstock 2017.

Nick Hennessy/OPB

“Welcome to Night Vale” with Creators Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink

For the past five years, the creators of the runaway hit podcast, “Welcome to Night Vale” have spun tales of a fictional Southwestern desert town, where people live side by side with the supernatural. Hooded figures, shadowy government agencies, and ravenous ghosts abound— but also girl scouts, coffeehouses, and a community radio station. “Night Vale” is about finding humanity, seated right there next to unspeakable horror at the local diner, enjoying pie and coffee. Its creators have taken Night Vale to the page with a a second novel, “It Devours.” It’s the story of a young scientist trying to unravel the town’s mysteries, and decipher her own outsider status.

“There’s nothing in Night Vale I wouldn’t want to explore further. That’s the beauty of writing a world instead of a story.” — Joseph Fink on State of Wonder

We talked to Fink and Cranor about the novel, the podcast series, and the Night Vale live shows. Just how popular are those staged events? The next Nightvale live show in Portland is scheduled at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, which seats 2700 people.


Tommy Pico (left) and Morgan Parker (right) onstage at Wordstock 2017.

Tommy Pico (left) and Morgan Parker (right) onstage at Wordstock 2017.

Nick Hennessy/OPB

Poets Tommy Pico and Morgan Parker - 27:11

The authors of two of the most anticipated poetry books of the year just so happen to be dear friends. Morgan Parker’s poems have appeared in the “Paris Review,” the “New York Times,” and “Best American Poetry,” and have won her Pushcart and Gatewood prizes. Her new book is “There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce.”Tommy Pico is the author of “IRL” and the zine series “Hey, Teebs,” a Lambda Literary Fellow, and co-host of the podcast “Food 4 Thot.” His new book is “Nature Poem.” Together, they curate the reading series Poets with Attitude in New York City.

“We were tired of being the only person on a bill who cared that the audience was there.” — Tommy Pico on State of Wonder

Both their books were published by Tin House, the bi-coastal publisher split between Portland and Brooklyn.