For our second show recorded live at Wordstock, we sit down with two amazing groups of writers:

Suzy Vitello, Lidia Yuknavitch, Chelsea Cain and April Baer at Wordstock in the Portland Art Museum's Field Ballroom.

Suzy Vitello, Lidia Yuknavitch, Chelsea Cain and April Baer at Wordstock in the Portland Art Museum’s Field Ballroom.

Reuben Unrau/OPB

Portland’s Most Infamous Writing Group
We begin the hour with a veritable “Justice League” of Portland writers who, along with other aces like Chuck Palahniuk and Monica Drake, make up perhaps Portland’s most infamous writers’ group. We talk about why poisonous octopi wouldn’t cut it in the Willamette, the literary virtues of dolmas and red wine, the role of tension, and how they stoke each other’s creativity.

  • Chelsea Cain is the woman who taught the world how to fear Portland. Her Archie Sheridan & Gretchen Lowell Series propelled Cain into the upper echelon of suspense novelists. Most recently she’s been working on the Marvel comic book “Mockingbird: SHIELD 50th Anniversary.”
  • Suzy Vitello’s newest book for young adults, “The Keepsake,” is the latest part of a girl-powered, time-jumping romantic narrative that began with “The Empress Chronicles.” One reviewer called it “Judy Blume meets Philippa Gregory.”
  • “The Paris Review” called Lidia Yuknavitch‘s recent novel, “The Small Backs of Children,” “a terrifically good novel and powerfully written.” She’s also the author of “Dora: A Headcase,” and the memoir “The Chronology of Water.”
Carson Ellis, Maile Meloy, Colin Meloy and Aaron Scott at Wordstock in the Portland Art Museum.

Carson Ellis, Maile Meloy, Colin Meloy and Aaron Scott at Wordstock in the Portland Art Museum.

Reuben Unrau/OPB

The Meloy Family Hour
For the second half of the show, we turn to a family that packs more talent into a single generation than most of us can manage in an entire family tree: brother and sister Colin and Maile Meloy and Colin’s wife, Carson Ellis. They discuss their creative histories, why Colin used to steal Maile’s Depeche Mode tapes, what they’re working on next (hint: pickpockets in Marseilles!), whether LAIKA is going to make a “Wildwood” animated movie, and more.

  • Colin Meloy fronts the band the Decemberists, whose literary-minded lyrics about sailors and scoundrels have bridged the gritty old Portland with the polished new Portland of artisanal makers and DIY doyennes. He teamed up with his wife, Ellis, to write and illustrate the imaginative, best-selling “Wildwood” trilogy for middle-grade readers that transformed Portland’s Forest Park into a land of talking badgers and coyote soldiers.
  • In addition to working on “Wildwood” and the Decemberists’ album art, Carson Ellis creates award-winning illustrations for books by the likes of Lemony Snicket. This year, she wrote and illustrated her own book, called “Home,”  and has another on the way.
  • The same year that the Decemberists released their debut album, Maile Meloy published her first short story collection, “Half In Love.” She’s since released two smartly-connected novels and many short stories and essays in the “New Yorker,” The New York Times, “Granta,” and elsewhere. Then she shifted gears and released “The Apothecary,” a 1950s tale for middle-grade readers about an unlikely team using alchemy to fight nuclear proliferation. The final book in the “Apothecary” trilogy, “The After-Room,” hit bookstores on Nov. 3.

Listen to our first live Wordstock show with special guests Ursula K. Le Guin, Patterson Hood, Willie Vlautin, Patrick DeWitt and Michael Hurley. And sign up for our podcast to make sure you don’t miss upcoming Wordstock interviews with Jesse Eisenberg, Wendell Pierce, John Irving and more.