Saturday, July 17, 1999

Diana Abu-Jaber

Diana Abu-Jaber comes from a Palestinian-American family. Her first novel, Arabian Jazz won the Oregon Book Award and was a finalist for the national PEN/Hemingway Award.

Diana received her doctorate in English literature from the State University of New York. Her short fiction has appeared recently in Story and Kenyon Review. Most recently, she wrote and produced an hour-long personal documentary for National Public Radio called "The Language of Peace." She writes book and film reviews for The Oregonian, the LA Times and the Washington Post. She is currently Writer-In-Residence at Portland State University.

She recently returned from Amman where she’d traveled on a Fulbright grant to conduct interviews with Jordanian and Palestinian women in preparation for her novel, Memories of Birth, a book based on her grandmother’s life.
She married my grandfather at age 14 and had seventeen children. When she moved into the desert with my grandfather, who was a descendant of the Bedouins, she built one of the first libraries in Jordan in her home because so many people brought books to her.
-- Diana Abu-Jaber

She also received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant while writing this book.

To learn more visit her website at

Brent Walth

Brent Walth is an Oregon journalist whose focus has been on the state's politics and environmental issues. An Oregon native, he attended the University of Oregon where he studied both journalism and political science.

Early on, Brent worked for Willamette Week in Portland, where he won the national Gerald Loeb Award for business and financial reporting. He spent five years in Eugene as chief political correspondent for The Register-Guard and won the Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association's top investigative reporting award for his reports on campaign finance.

Brent’s first job out of college was covering the Oregon legislature, and he spent the next ten years reporting on Oregon politics and Congress as a Washington, D.C.-based correspondent for The Oregonian. During that time, he reported on the downfall of Sen. Bob Packwood and helped reveal the phony military record of Congressman Wes Cooley. Last year he uncovered the checkered financial history of Republican Bill Sizemore, a story that won the state's top reporting prize, the Bruce Baer Award.

His 1994 book, Fire at Eden's Gate: Tom McCall and the Oregon Story, chronicles this state's most flamboyant and influential governor. The biography of Tom McCall, now in its third printing, has won wide critical acclaim. Among those praising the book, President Bill Clinton called it a "remarkable biography."