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A real pot-boiler

Published on October 17, 2017 12:31PM

Author Diana Abu-Jaber will be serving up a helping of her new culinary memoir, “Life Without a Recipe,” this Saturday, Oct. 21, at Manzanita’s Hoffman Center for the Arts.

The memoir, described as “a book of love, death, and cake,” has won praise from Ruth Reichl as “bold and luscious” and “indispensable to anyone trying to forge their own truer path.”

Abu-Jaber was born in Syracuse, New York, to an American mother and a Jordanian father. Her family moved to Jordan a few times throughout her childhood, and elements of both her American and Jordanian experiences, as well as cross-cultural issues, especially culinary reflections, appear in her work.

Her novels and a previous memoir have won numerous awards, including the Arab-American National Book Award, the PEN Center Award for Literary fiction, the American Book Award, the Northwest Booksellers’ Award and the Oregon Book award for Literary Fiction. Her books have been included in many “top books of the year” lists by National Public Radio, the LA Times, the Washington Post, the Oregonian and others.

Abu-Jaber teaches writing and literature at Portland State University and divides her time between South Florida and Portland.

Saturday’s reading will begin at 7 pm, with doors opening at 6:30 pm at 594 Laneda Avenue. After the reading and a Q&A, up to nine local or visiting writers will read five minutes of their original work in an open mic with the optional theme “Food Memories.”

Admission is $7.

For more information, go to hoffmanblog.org or email Kathie Hightower at kathiejhightower@gmail.com.

Sweet and Salty

Abu-Jaber will teach a writing workshop at the Hoffman Center for the Arts during the day on Saturday, from 10 am to 12:30 pm.

Entitled “Sweet and Salty: Writing the Food Memoir,” the workshop will look at ways to write life stories by peering through the culinary lens.

“There will be writing prompts, exercises, discussions, and food,” Abu-Jaber said. “We’ll be tasting and thinking and comparing notes, considering all the ways that our connections to eating give rise to remembering and inspiration. Come and see what you cook up. Bring your curiosity and your appetite, a sense of play and a sense of humor.”

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

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