8 incredible local authors and their Pacific Northwest-inspired stories.

Meet A Few of Portland’s Most Prized Authors

A Book Shelf Filled With Books

This one’s for all the bibliophiles out there. Whether you’re heading off to the magical labyrinth of Powell’s City of Books during your stay at The Heathman or you want to stock up on locally inspired stories before your trip, check out these homegrown authors who embody the Pacific Northwest through their words.

A Man Smiling For The CameraPeter Rock

A current professor at Reed College, Peter is an award-winning author who was born and raised in Salt Lake City. One of his best-selling books, My Abandonment, is based on the true story of a dad and his daughter who lived off the grid in Forest Park. Only a few minutes from downtown, you can bring the read with you while you stroll along tree-lined paths of the very same park the book is set in. 

Photo by Reed College. 

Cheryl Strayed

After being hit with two huge life-altering events, the loss of her mother from cancer and the end of her young marriage, Cheryl set out on a soul-searching quest along the Pacific Crest Trail. This trek became the basis of her #1 New York Times bestselling book, Wild, which was subsequently turned into a box office hit starring Reese Witherspoon in 2014. She now thrives in good ol’ Portland, Oregon.  

Chuck Palahniuk Standing In Front Of A CurtainChuck Palahniuk

Born a few hours east of Portland in Pasco, Washington, Chuck is a famed freelance journalist and novelist who is most widely known for his book Fight Club, which was adapted into the hugely successful movie starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. His Pacific Norhtwest-focused work, Fugitives and Refugees, paints a literary image of the strangest sides of this city. From swingers’ clubs to Shanghai tunnels, it’s a true glimpse into the weird and wonderful world that is Portland.  

Photo by Allan Amato. 

Katherine Dunn

Embracing the idea that flaws are more fascinating than perfection, Katherine’s comedic novel Greek Love tells the story of a couple who own a traveling carnival and breed mutant children as sideshow freaks. Having majored in philosophy at Reed College and passing away in Portland back in 2016 at age 70, Katherine’s successful writing lives on as a representation of the city - reminding locals and visitors alike to Keep Portland Weird.  

Ursula K. Le Guin Looking At The CameraUrsula K. Le Guin

Berkeley born sci-fi and fantasy writing legend Ursula had a 60-year career and produced over twenty novels and hundreds of short stories before she passed away here in 2018. One of her larger successes, The Lathe of Heaven, offers a dystopian glimpse of Portland including a Mount Hood eruption. 

Photo by William Anthony. 

Beverly Cleary

Do you remember growing up with the adventures of Ramona Quimby? The classic children’s book author was born not far away from Portland in McMinnville. Many naming conventions and landmarks from the city can be found scattered throughout her books. While you’re here, pay true homage to the author and check out the commemorative Beverly Clearly Sculpture Garden in Grant Park.  

Colin Meloy Wearing Glasses And Looking At The CameraColin Meloy

The Decemberists lead singer and all-around creative critter wrote a fantasy adventure series called Wildwood, which is based on the known and loved Forest Park here in Portland. The crafty storyline follows Prue McKeel, whose life gets exciting and strange when her brother is abducted by a murder of crows. 

Photo by Literary Arts. 

Chelsea Cain

Adding a little mystery to the mix, Chelsea’s hit novel Heartsick follows the journey of a detective whose mission is to track down a serial killer right here in Portland.  

Make sure to peruse the incredible selection of autographed books in The Heathman’s own two-story lobby library while you’re here, too. There’s 2,700 of them!