Grass Roots Books & Music with debut memoirists Sophia Shalmiyev & Liz Scott


Join Sophia Shalmiyev, and Liz Scott for “The Art of Memoirs and Family” as they share their journey, processes, and unique experiences writing and publishing riveting memoirs, with author, Margaret Malone facilitating the evening’s discussion. Sophia Shalmiyev and Liz Scott both use different methods of haunting vignettes, photographic investigations, and letters to express their stories and challenge the questions left unanswered.

Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev was raised in 1980s Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). An imbalance of power and the prevalence of antisemitism in her homeland led her father to steal Shalmiyev away, emigrating to America, abandoning her estranged mother, Elena. Now a mother herself, in Mother Winter Shalmiyev depicts in urgent vignettes her emotional journeys as an immigrant, an artist, and a woman raised without her mother. An MFA graduate of Portland State University, Sophia was the nonfiction editor for The Portland Review and is a recipient of the Laurel’s scholarship and numerous Kellogg’s fellowship awards. She has a second master’s degree in Creative Arts Therapy from The School of Visual Arts, where she worked with survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. Her work has appeared in numerous journals; all of them with a feminist lens. She lives in Portland.

Like an archaeological dig, Liz Scott’s memoir, This Never Happened, goes in search of the answers to the mysteries of her family. In her quest to uncover the truth, she mines photographs and letters, leaving no one, including herself, unexamined. This is a spare work, alternately heartbreaking and darkly comic. In the end, it’s about the struggle to clear away pain to make room for compassion and the challenge of making peace with questions that will never be answered. Liz Scott has been a practicing psychologist for 40 years, helping clients to identify life themes and make sense of the puzzle in their lives. She has brought this focus to her writing in the last fifteen years, first as a short story writer and most recently in her memoir, This Never Happened. She has been published in numerous literary journals and served two terms on the board of Oregon Literary Arts. Originally from New York City, she currently lives and works in Portland, Oregon.