Last week I attended the annual Northwest Perspectives Essay Contest reading and writers workshop with Jonathon Evison, author of the award winning novels About Lulu and West of Here. Oregon Quarterly, the alumni magazine for the University of Oregon hosts this annual event and this is my second year in attendance. The reading is always held in an old and opulent lounge on campus with dark wood paneling and massive portraits of University luminaries. The winners read their essays, which are often sad, and always well written. It is a lovely event.
However, much to the dismay of this years judge, because it is on campus, it is also alcohol free. If you know anything at all about Jonathon Evison, it's probably that the man likes beer. Most of his branding is beer related, so much so that it is rare for him to attend an event without beer already set out. And here he was, in Oregon, land of the microbrew and Eugene, home of Ninkasi. And we wouldn't serve the guy a beer. He managed the event anyway, and did a gracious job of introducing the essays. It was wonderful to meet him and hear him talk about his craft, but after being trapped in a hot room with all of us for three hours, you could tell he was ready for a more relaxed scene.
You can read the winning essays from this and previous years here: