Please join us for an event to dedicate permanent space in the library to author and SEI alumnus Mitchell S. Jackson!
With Special Guests:
Mayor of Portland
Mitchell S. Jackson
SEI Alumni, Author, and Whiting Award Recipient
Esmé Weijun Wang | Maurice Ruffin | Natalie Diaz
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Mitchell S. Jackson’s debut novel The Residue Years received wide critical praise. Jackson is the winner of a Whiting Award. His novel also won The Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence and was a finalist for The Center for Fiction Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize, the PEN / Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, and the Hurston / Wright Legacy Award. Jackson’s honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, PEN America, TED, NYFA (New York Foundation for the Arts), and The Center for Fiction. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, Harpers, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Guardian, Tin House, and elsewhere. His nonfiction book Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family is forthcoming from Scribner. He is a Clinical Associate Professor of writing in Liberal Studies at New York University.
Jackson is also a well-regarded speaker who has delivered lectures and keynote addresses at events including the annual TED Conference, the Ubud (Bali) Writers and Readers Festival, and the Sydney Writers’ Festival, as well as institutions including Yale University, Brown University, Cornell University, and Columbia University. A formerly incarcerated person, Jackson is also a social and criminal justice advocate who, as part of his efforts, visits prisons and youth facilities in the United States and abroad.
Ted was motivated to enter politics while volunteering as an overnight host at the Goose Hollow Shelter and he saw firsthand that we could do much more to help the most vulnerable among us. He has a reputation as a leader who brings people together to get things done.
As the Chair of Multnomah County from 2007-2010, he balanced a county budget during the worst years of the recession, reducing the debt while maintaining safety net programs for the elderly, drug and alcohol treatment programs and forging partnerships to fund a Mental Health Crisis Center. He jump-started long-stalled infrastructure projects, including the Sellwood Bridge and East County Courthouse.
Under Ted's stewardship as state Treasurer, Oregon's investment portfolio outperformed every one of its peers in the nation and earned an upgraded credit rating. He re-launched the Oregon college savings plan, and passed legislation that created the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan, which is now a national model for state-sponsored retirement security.
Ted has assumed a leadership role in economic development. He convened business leaders and spearheaded a new statewide blueprint, dubbed the Oregon Investment Act, and it was approved by the Legislature in 2012. The Oregon Investment Act helps the State invest more effectively in the growth of small businesses.
A sixth-generation Oregonian, Ted was born in Portland, and graduated from Lincoln High School. Ted earned his undergraduate degree in Economics from Stanford University, an MBA from Columbia University and a Masters in Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Ted is a longtime community volunteer leader, and has devoted energy to diverse organizations including Neighborhood House, Portland Mountain Rescue and the Oregon Sports Authority. He is an Eagle Scout. He lives in Southwest Portland with his wife and daughter.
Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Tribe. Her first poetry collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, as well as a Lannan Literary Fellow and a Native Arts Council Foundation Artist Fellow. She was awarded the Holmes National Poetry Prize, a Hodder Fellowship, and a PEN/Civitella Ranieri Foundation Residency, as well as being awarded a US Artists Ford Fellowship. Diaz is the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry at Arizona State University.
Esmé Weijun Wang is a novelist and essayist. Her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, was called a Best Book of 2016 by NPR and one of the 25 Best Novels of 2016 by Electric Literature. She was named by Granta as one of the “Best of Young American Novelists” in 2017, won the Whiting Award in 2018, and is the recipient of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize for her forthcoming essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. Born in the Midwest to Taiwanese parents, she lives in San Francisco, and can be found at esmewang.com and on Twitter @esmewang.
Maurice Carlos Ruffin has been a recipient of an Iowa Review Award in fiction. A native of New Orleans, Ruffin is a graduate of the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop and a member of the Peauxdunque Writers Alliance. His first novel was published in 2019 by One World Random House.