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Food for thought: Author reads from culinary memoir

Diana Abu-Jaber visits Hoffman Center, teaches workshop Oct. 21

Published on October 17, 2017 12:01AM

Last changed on October 19, 2017 10:45AM

Diana Abu-Jaber,

Submitted photo

Diana Abu-Jaber,


MANZANITA — Author Diana Abu-Jaber will read from her latest book, “Life Without a Recipe,” at the Hoffman Center for the Arts 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21.

The new culinary memoir has been described as “a book of love, death, and cake.” Prominent food writer Ruth Reichl calls it “bold and luscious” and “indispensable to anyone trying to forge their own truer path.”

Admission for the evening reading is $7. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Following Abu-Jaber’s reading and Q-and-A in the evening, we’ll have our popular Open Mic where up to nine local or visiting writers will read five minutes of their original work. The suggested (not required) theme for the evening’s open mic is “Food Memories.”

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.

Diana teaches writing and literature at Portland State University and divides her time between South Florida and Portland.


‘Sweet and Salty: Writing the Food Memoir’


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

Culinary memoirs are wildly popular, taking readers beyond memory into the senses — especially the deep pleasures of the appetite. Food sharpens the focus, introduces universal themes and endows writing with imaginative, emotional and physical layers of complexity.

This workshop will look at ways to write life stories through the culinary lens. There will be prompts, exercises, discussions and food. Attendees will taste, think, compare notes and consider all the ways our connections to eating give rise to remembering and inspiration.

Come and see what you cook up! Bring your curiosity, appetite, sense of play and sense of humor.

The workshop will be held at the Hoffman Center. Tuition is $40. Register at hoffmanblog.org/register-for-workshops.

The Manzanita Writers’ Series is a program of the Hoffman Center and will be held there (594 Laneda Ave.).

For more information, visit hoffmanblog.org, or contact Kathie Hightower, kathiejhightower@gmail.com



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