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Powell's Books Presents Ben Hodgson & Laura Moulton in Conversation With Omar El Akkad
In 2011, Laura Moulton founded Street Books, a bicycle-powered lending library serving folks living outside in Portland, Oregon. That summer, Ben Hodgson became one of her most dedicated regulars, setting the still-unbeaten single season record for borrowing. Then winter came, and Ben's routines changed, and they didn't see each other for two years. Loaners: The Making of a Street Library (Perfect Day) is the story they began to tell when they reconnected. Their story is a lot of things: It's an oral history of a friendship, told in hyper-observant vignettes. It's a much-needed report from the frontlines of Portland's housing crisis. It's a DIY guide to creating your own street library. It's an indelible portrait of what it's like to experience houselessness for three and a half years. It's an unforgettable exercise in empathy. It's also very funny. Hodgson (or "Hodge" as Laura calls him) is a classic raconteur, and Moulton matches him tale for tale. Loaners alternates between their perspectives in an addictively readable, occasionally sublime way. Hodgson and Moulton will be joined in conversation by Omar El Akkad, author of What Strange Paradise and American War.

Oct 5, 2021 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Ben Hodgson & Laura Moulton
Ben Hodgson was a computer technician in the air force and a cab driver for many years. He is currently on the board of Street Books, and works as a street librarian, speaker, and inventory specialist. Laura Moulton is an adjunct professor at Lewis & Clark College and leads residencies in high schools for Literary Arts. Over the years she has taught writing in public schools, prisons, and teen shelters. Moulton is the founder of Street Books, Portland’s bicycle-powered street library.
Omar El Akkad
Omar El Akkad is an author and journalist. He was born in Egypt, grew up in Qatar, moved to Canada as a teenager, and now lives in the U.S. The start of his journalism career coincided with the start of the war on terror, and over the following decade he reported from Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay, and many other locations around the world. His work earned a National Newspaper Award for Investigative Journalism and the Goff Penny Award for young journalists. His debut novel, American War, is an international bestseller and has been translated into 13 languages. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers’ Award, the Oregon Book Award for fiction, the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, and has been nominated for more than ten other awards. It was listed as one of the best books of the year by The New York Times, Washington Post, GQ, NPR, Esquire and was selected by the BBC as one of 100 novels that changed our world. His new novel, What Strange Paradise, was released in July.