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Writing that raises the woof

Published on September 13, 2017 12:36PM

As Manzanita braces for the canine invasion that accompanies its annual Muttzanita festival, author Pauls Toutonghi will get the weekend off on the right foot with a reading from his novel “Dog Gone” on Saturday, Sept. 16.

Subtitled “A Lost Pet’s Extraordinary Journey and the Family Who Brought Him Home,” the book tells the story of one family’s epic hunt to track down their four-legged friend.

On October 10, 1998, Fielding Marshall is hiking on the Appalachian Trail when his beloved dog — a six-year-old golden retriever mix named Gonker — bolts into the woods. Just like that, he vanishes. And Gonker has Addison’s disease. If he’s not found in 23 days, he will die.

The Washington Post described “Dog Gone” as well-written, fast-paced and full of twists that keep the reader engaged until the very end.

“Don’t be surprised if, at the finish of ‘Dog Gone,’ you find yourself wanting to rush to an animal rescue shelter,” the reviewer wrote.

Author of four books, Toutonghi has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Virginia Quarterly Review, Granta, Tin House and numerous other periodicals. After receiving his PhD in English Literature from Cornell University, Toutonghi moved to Portland, where he teaches at Lewis & Clark College.

Toutonghi’s reading will start at 7 pm at the Hoffman Center for the Arts, 594 Laneda Avenue.

After the reading and Q&A, an open mic will give up to nine local or visiting writers the chance to read five minutes of their original work. The suggested theme is “Dog Stories.”

Admission is $7.

Earlier in the day from 1-3:30 pm, Toutonghi will teach a workshop entitled “Writing with Balance.” Whether in fiction or nonfiction/memoir, how do you share personal, painful stories and still negotiate active relationships with the people involved?

How do you decide what to tell — and what not to tell? What are some of the best practices for determining the best way to use a difficult or personally challenging piece of your story?

The workshop will be held at the Hoffman Center for the Arts and tuition is $40. To register, go to http://hoffmanblog.org/register-for-workshops.

For more information, email Kathie Hightower at kathiejhightower@gmail.com.

For full details on Sunday’s Muttzanita Festival, see page **

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