Literary Arts and the Brian Booth Writers’ Fund

Brian was tireless in his determination to preserve and celebrate our state's landscape and cultural heritage.

— Thomas Palmer

Tonkon Torp founding partner Brian Booth was the driving force behind multiple programs in Oregon to support writers. One of Brian’s most notable achievements was creating the Oregon Book Awards & Fellowship program, now a part of Literary Arts, Oregon’s leading nonprofit arts organization, with the mission to engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature.

The Book Awards are presented annually to Oregon writers of poetry, fiction, literary nonfiction, drama, and young readers’ literature. The Oregon Literary Fellowships help Oregon writers initiate, develop, or complete literary projects, and also support independent publishers and small presses based in Oregon. Notable fellowship recipients include Cheryl Strayed, Ursula Le Guin, Barry Lopez, Chang-Rae Lee, Ken Kesey, Gina Oschner, Tracy Daugherty, and Molly Gloss. Brian’s foresight to work to protect the future of the Book Awards & Fellowship program was especially prescient as the industry moves through a digital revolution that is reshaping how literature is produced and delivered.

Two years after his death in 2012, Literary Arts established the Brian Booth Writers’ Fund, a $2 million endowment managed by the Oregon Community Foundation. The fund realizes Brian’s vision to make the Oregon Book Awards & Fellowships program self-sustaining with permanent funding. Tonkon Torp was a founding supporter of the fund and donated $30,000 over the course of three years. The firm completed its pledge in June, 2016.

At the time the fund was announced, Tonkon Torp partner Thomas Palmer shared, “Brian was tireless in his determination to preserve and celebrate our state’s landscape and cultural heritage. Naming the Writers’ Fund after Brian is a natural for one of Oregon’s most committed literary boosters.”

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