Willy Vlautin reads from “Lean on Pete” at June WordFest

Scappoose author Willy Vlautin will be discussing and reading from his award-winning novel, Lean on Pete, at WordFest on Tuesday, June 7. The novel is a gritty, heartbreaking story of 15-year old Charley Thompson, who steals his only friend, a broken down race horse named Lean on Pete, when Pete is to be sold for dog food. Together, they set off across the desert of eastern Oregon to find Charley’s aunt in Wyoming. The novel has won two Oregon Book Awards: the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and the Reader’s Choice Award (You can read my review of the novel in the current issue of The Columbia River Reader.)

Willy, a singer and songwriter for the band Richmond Fontaine, has written two other novels, The Motel Life and Northline.

In the second hour, Mary Ellen Stone will be reading her story, “Some Swan Song,” which was published recently in Bethany House’s anthology, Love is a Flame. The nonfiction piece is both serious and humorous as it looks at what it takes to make a marriage stronger.

Unable to read last month as scheduled, Kelley Jacquez will be reading ”A Believable Story,” about a daughter’s efforts to protect her mother, who is a compulsive liar, from exposure. The story is from a collection of Kelley’s short stories, Holding Woman and Other Stories of Acceptable Madness, which has been accepted for publication by Bilingual Press, University of Arizona, Tucson.

WordFest is a gathering of readers and writers who meet on the first Tuesday of each month at The Brits, at 1427 Commerce Avenue in Longview, 6:00-8:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public.

Doors open at 5:30, and The Brits offers a select menu for those who wish a meal with the readings.