Warriors B2G1 Free

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Visit our stores


Authors, readers, critics, media — and booksellers.


Archive for the 'Contests' Category

Get Your Six-Word Memoir Published!

Update: This contest is closed. The winners have been announced here.

If you had to convey your entire existence in six words, what would you say? Here at Powells.com, we've been thinking. Bolton condensed his whole life into: "Push rock, rolls back, push again." (We think he's being overdramatic.) Megan went with "Urban bumpkin seeks savings account, chickens." Yep, that's about right. And now we can't stop summing ourselves up.

The folks at SMITH magazine have been compiling tiny memoirs for a while now, first published in print as Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure. Contributors range from ordinary people who submitted their six words online to not-so-regular folks like Amy Sedaris ("Mushrooms. Clowns. Wands. Five. Wig. Thatched.") and Chuck Klosterman ("Nobody cared, then they did. Why?").

Now, they've followed up with Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak: By Writers Famous and Obscure, being released just in time for the most polarizing of saint-based holidays. Some ...

And the OED winner is…

Picking a winner turned out to be more difficult than we'd imagined.

We started by assigning 100 words each to 13 staff members (entries 1-100, 101-200, etc.). Each of us picked two favorites from our lot, and nominated one or two entries from the rest of the pool.

From 1,297 words, in this manner we winnowed down to a few dozen. Then we voted and cut further. Numerous department-wide emails followed. We held impromptu meetings. It got to feeling a bit like Survivor here in the office. A small clique would take a walk to the coffee shop and the rest of us suspected that a deal of some kind was being struck.

One more vote brought us the winner of a 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary:

crytoscopophilia: the urge to look through people's windows as you pass by their houses

Our winning entry was submitted by Christopher, a student at Portland State University. Here's how he justified his choice:

I often find myself walking through neighborhoods excited by the prospect that I might catch a glimpse of another's private world...in a by no means creepy way. Even


Win Tickets to Calvin Trillin!

Update: And the winners are...

Update: The deadline has passed! The Calvin Trillin contest is officially closed. Stay tuned for an announcement about the winners.

Reporter, humorist, and poet Calvin Trillin spent the last eight years trying to squeeze some humor from a topic many people did not find amusing: the Bush administration.

When logic failed to convert W's fans, Trillin went with limerick, and in 2004 authored Obliviously on He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme, which was followed up by A Heckuva Job: More of the Bush Administration in Rhyme in 2006.

"We weren't going to know whether you could bring down a presidency with iambic pentameter until somebody tried it," he said.

Like everyone else we know, Trillin is ready for some new material. His latest, Deciding the Next Decider, chronicles the 2008 presidential race and its colorful cast of characters. ...

Book News for Thursday, January 22, 2009

  • Everybody Reads... Sometime: Portlanders! The Multnomah County Library's Everybody Reads 2009 is underway.

    What if everybody read the same book?

    We'd talk to each other about issues that matter and we'd celebrate the power of books in creating a stronger community.

    This year's selection is Stubborn Twig: Three Generations in the Life of a Japanese American Family by Lauren Kessler.

    Follow along on the Everybody Reads blog and click here to find a discussion group near you!

  • Praise Song of Big Numbers: The secret to a poet's success? Read your poem at the most popular, most-watched presidential inauguration of all time. Or so Elizabeth Alexander and Graywolf Press are learning.

    The St. Paul-based publisher is printing 100,000 copies of Alexander's inaugural poem, by far the biggest print run in its 35-year history but not for an inaugural work. Maya Angelou's On the Pulse of Morning, recited in 1993 at President


The Squirrel’s Name? Morrison

In all, 414 people entered our name-the-squirrel contest. Some submitted only a name, but most included stories to support their choices (including a colorful, fake Wikipedia entry).

Why Morrison? Do you really have to ask?

Okay. Because we liked it. Hah!

In fact, the guy who designed the squirrel image — that'd be Trent — winnowed 414 entries to a dozen. I trimmed his list down to four. And finally the folks here voted.

Nancy, our winner, who claims the $100 prize, had supplied this explanation with her submission:

After spending every day of the first 18 years of my life waiting for the school bus in the rain (or so it seemed), I left Portland 47 years ago. But the city is part of who I am, and I visit family there often. The Morrison Street bridge was my favorite of all Portland's bridges, so I selected the name Morrison for the squirrel.

Look, it's not my favorite bridge — that'd be the Hawthorne, or maybe St. John's — but Morrison is one heck of a name for a Portland squirrel. We interviewed hundreds of squirrels this week. Every single one ...

What Wilsey Said

After much deliberation and many inter-office fisticuffs, we have a winner for the What Would Wilsey Say? contest.

"Here, W tried to put this in his VCR."

Congratulations to Lynn Hardwick of Atlanta, GA!

Lynn, your book and DVD set is on the way.

And thanks to everyone who submitted a suggestion. Check out all the entries here and pick your own favorite!

Name Our Squirrel, Won’t You

The squirrel showed up this past summer on our reusable shopping bags. Next in an episode of Fup. Store Cat. (And another. And another.) Then on a Powell's mug made exclusively for staff and Indiespensable subscribers. Most recently, the squirrel appeared on this year's edition of the souvenir t-shirts we create for employees each holiday season.

But here's the thing: We're tired of just saying "the squirrel."

Help us pick a name. Too late!

Something bookish, maybe. Or woodsy — Forest Park-woodsy. Or not woodsy or bookish; maybe something pertaining to Portland. (If Terwilliger, Flanders, and Lovejoy were good enough for Mr. Groening...)

Post a name in the comments field by December 21st. We'll run our favorites past the squirrel. Winner gets a $100 Powell's card, a featured book shelf at Powells.com, and bragging rights into the future.

Need inspiration? Go talk to a squirrel. Come bearing acorns.

Update: Our submission deadline has come and gone. Further entries and comments are welcome, but only entries provided by December 21st will be eligible for the prize. Our winner will be announced on Tuesday, December ...

Win the 20-Volume Oxford English Dictionary!

Update: The deadline has passed! Our OED contest is officially closed.

Update #2: What's taking so long? When will you pick a winner? Oy. Unfortunately, our first "winner" did not respond to four separate notifications. According to the official contest rules (see rule #3), therefore, we must pick another winner. We'll notify that contestant today (January 23rd) and post the winning entry as soon as we get a response. Check your email!

÷ ÷ ÷

With nearly 2.5 million quotations, more than a half-million illustrated words, and 22,000 pages of definitions — from writers as disparate as Charles Darwin and John le CarreThe Oxford English Dictionary is a work like no other. The Washington Post once observed, "No one who reads or writes seriously can be without the OED." (Alas, I've been found out. A serious writer I am not.)

But now we want to hear from you.

What's your favorite word? And why? What, in your opinion, is the strangest, or most useful, or ridiculously specific word in all of the English language?

Don't be ...

What Would Wilsey Say?

State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America co-editor Sean Wilsey had a chance to meet President-elect Barack Obama in person, press the flesh, and hand him a copy of his book!

As you can see in the photo, Wilsey is saying something to the future leader of our country. But what?

Put your imagination to work and give us your suggestion by noon PST, Friday, December 5th.

We'll pick our favorite and send the winner a free State by State set, which includes a copy of the book our President-elect is reading and a DVD of the film, Out of the Book, Volume 3: State by State.

Just keep it clean, people. (Creative uses of asterisks are encouraged.)

  • back to top


Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.