In 2005 the Wordstock Festival launched in Portland, Oregon, and I immediately volunteered. Extraordinary writers participated: Russell Banks, John Irving, Norman Mailer, Pam Houston, Susan Orlean, Alice Sebold, Sarah Vowell, and many others. Night of the Living Feasts was a fundraiser for the festival, and for $5,000.00 you could host dinner with one of the authors. This amount of money seemed astronomical at the time for a small press (it still does!), but we made an investment and hosted Russell Banks.
Wordstock offered a string of great events: Poe Ballantine was in town from Chadron, NE, to open for John Irving along with Scott Nadelson, at the Keller auditorium followed by an author reception at the University Club. The next night we attended Matthew Stadler’s “ back room” dinner and conversation with Gore Vidal food by Naomi Pomeroy. And the finale was Hawthorne’s dinner with Russell Banks.
Hawthorne writers and staff gathered in my condo to host Russell Banks. Poe made enchiladas, writers talked and drank and drank. Russell mentioned that his friend, Richard Wiley, had a new novel that his agent was shopping and that we should contact her. We did, and even though we didn’t get that novel, we did buy Richard’s Pen/Faulkner award winning, Soldiers in Hiding, that had gone out of print. Wole Soyinka wrote an introduction and Richard a new preface, and the Rediscovery Series was launched.
The goal of the Rediscovery series is to republish important books that have gone out of print. All titles include a new preface by the author and an introduction by a notable literary figure. Each book is an original paperback with double scored flaps that function as bookmarks, nonscuff matte lamination, library binding, and archival paper. In addition to Richard Wiley’s Soldiers in Hiding, the series includes: Seaview, by Toby Olson with an introduction by Robert Coover; Leaving Brooklyn, by Lynne Sharon Schwartz with an introduction by Ursula Hegi; and Faraway Places, by Tom Spanbauer with an introduction by A.M. Homes.