People say there’s no place like home. But what if “home” is more than one place, or it doesn’t exist anymore, or it hurts to revisit? This week, three incredible writers share how the concept of home influences their work. From migration to gentrification, these stories explore the relationship between identity and location.


Mohsin Hamid's novel, "Exit West" chronicles contemporary migration, drawing upon Hamid's own experiences moving around the world. 

Mohsin Hamid’s novel, “Exit West” chronicles contemporary migration, drawing upon Hamid’s own experiences moving around the world. 

Ed Kashi/Courtesy Mohsin Hamid

Mohsin Hamid Spotlights Migrant Narratives - 3:40

For Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid, migration isn’t just an action; it’s a way of life. He’s done a great deal of movement himself, but in recent years, it’s mostly been to speak about his bestselling novels. His most recent book, “Exit West” is a surrealist love story set in the shadow of civil war. Taking major artistic liberties with the laws of space and time, the novel depicts the experiences and perceptions of contemporary migrants. This week, we’re revisiting Hamid’s speech from the 2016 Portland Arts and Lectures series. You can find the full audio here.


Terese Marie Mailhot, who grew up in British Columbia. Her memoir, "Heart Berries," published Feb. 6 by Counterpoint Press.

Terese Marie Mailhot, who grew up in British Columbia. Her memoir, “Heart Berries,” published Feb. 6 by Counterpoint Press.

Courtesy of Counterpoint Press

Terese Marie Mailhot on Stories as Currency - 19:45

When Terese Marie Mailhot left the Pacific Northwest as a young woman, she was escaping desperate poverty and years of abuse. Raised on the Seabird Island Indian Reserve in British Columbia, Mailhot just won the prestigious Whiting Award for her memoir, “Heart Berries.” A deeply emotional read, the book recounts her troubled childhood, struggles with mental health and difficulties as a mother. But “Heart Berries” also represents Mailhot’s success in reclaiming her story and defining it in her own words. These days, when Mailhot returns to the Pacific Northwest, it feels like a victory lap. We spoke with her in 2018.


Mitchell Jackson plays a pickup game in Irving Park.

Mitchell Jackson plays a pickup game in Irving Park.

Intisar Abioto

A Walk in Northeast Portland with Mitchell S. Jackson - 32:50

Northeast Portland sure has changed. When writer Mitchell S. Jackson was growing up there, it was a small, predominantly black neighborhood in a predominantly white city. As a child, he witnessed drug use, imprisonment, violence and prostitution in areas that are now populated by young professionals and well-to-do families. Jackson’s new memoir, “Survival Math,” details the Portland of his past and the daily calculations that helped keep his family afloat in its midst. A few weeks ago, Jackson took OPB’s Dave Miller on a walking tour of the neighborhood — including the first basketball hoop he ever dunked on. You can find the full interview here.


Music Heard On 'State Of Wonder'

A Spotify playlist to share all the music we feature on our show and anything else that inspires us while we’re making it.