Julia Stoops: Parts Per Million
Julia Stoops joins us to read from Parts Per Million, her socially conscious, fast-paced debut novel set in Portland in 2002. In the book, John Nelson abandoned his safe desk job with the Forest Service to join a scrappy band of activists: computer hacker Jen Owens and Vietnam vet Irving Fetzer. Against the backdrop of the Bush administration's buildup to the Iraq war, the trio of activists investigate war-technologies fraud and corruption at a prominent Portland university. Nelson falls in love with an unlikely houseguest, Deirdre, a photographer from Ireland -- and a recovering addict.
As the streets of Portland erupt with anti-war protestors, the fraud investigation and the wounded relationship spiral towards a tragic climax that forces Nelson to confront everything he believes in and has sacrificed his “normal” life for. Character-driven, yet rich in plot, it sets the characters’ personal struggles inside a larger world of social change.
Julia Stoops was born in Samoa and grew up in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Washington, D.C. She is a native of New Zealand and has lived in Portland since 1994. She is an alum of Portland's Pinewood Table writing critique group. A visual artist as well as a writer, Stoops is a recipient of Oregon Arts Commission Fellowships for visual arts and literature and was a resident at the Ucross Foundation in 2016. She holds dual degrees in Visual Art and Philosophy, and she received an MFA in Painting from Portland State University. She has experience in alternative radio news journalism and anti-war activism, as well as a background teaching media studies, hybrid art methodologies, and history of ideas. She is married and lives in Portland, a city for which she holds great affection.