Meet Your Moderator



Photo by Howard Lewis Ship

Photo by Howard Lewis Ship

Erin Ergenbright is the co-author of The Ex-Boyfriend Cookbook (HarperCollins) with Thisbe Nissen, and a co-founder of the Loggernaut Reading Series. Her writing has appeared in many anthologies, journals, magazines, and newspapers, including The Believer Magazine, Tin House, Portland Monthly, The Oregonian, The May Queen: Women on Life, Love, Work and Pulling It All Together in Your Thirties (JP Tarcher), Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: On Cooking for One and Dining Alone (Riverhead Books), Citadel of the Spirit (Nestucca Spit Press), Indiana Review, and the Colorado Review. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop, where she was a James Michener-Paul Engle Fellow. Other recent awards include a grant from the Oregon Arts Commission and residencies from Caldera Arts and Soapstone. 

Erin has taught writing at Marylhurst University, Clark College, Portland Community College, and the University of Iowa, as well as in dozens of writing workshops in elementary, middle and high schools throughout the greater Portland area. She currently teaches at Portland State University.

Erin has been hosting the Portland Spelling Bee since June 2008, and for her, one of the myriad joys of the job is the weekly opportunity to be surrounded by people who both love words and deeply desire to spell them correctly.

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Wine, winners and song


Announcing our winner for the December 29 Portland Spelling Bee: Bill!

Congratulations, Bill!

Congratulations, Bill!

Bill, a several-time presence on the podium, captured top honors this time by correctly spelling “vigneron.” A vigneron is, of course, a grower of wine grapes. Apropos both for our location at the north end of the world-renownedish Willamette Valley wine region, and for the contest’s timing just a few days before that most bibulous of holidays: New Year’s Eve.

Congratulations again to Bill, and happy 2009 to all our current, former, future and wanna-be spellers!

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Announcing the Portland Youth Spelling Bee… coming your way January 10!


You, too (or a child you know), could be a Young Speller!

You, too (or a child you know), could be a Young Speller!

Excitement! Prizes! Friendly competition… and words, words, words! Kids in grades 1-12 are invited to test their spelling skills at the new family-friendly Portland Youth Spelling Bee, hosted every Saturday afternoon at Mississippi Pizza.


Participants will be divided into grade-level groups, so all the kids will have a great time. Each round will offer lots of fun prizes including free pizza, drinks, cookies and T-shirts. Win at a weekly event and qualify for the quarterly semi-finals, where the champion will earn a free pizza party for his or her class.

In addition to standard spelling bee fare, we’ll have exciting (and goofy) challenge rounds, special theme days and crazy sound effects to keep things lively.

Remember, you don’t have to be a great speller to have a good time! Grab your friends for some pizza and spelling fun, or bring your whole family along for an afternoon of friendly competition. Or, come out and cheer for Portland’s finest kids. We can’t wait to see you there!

When: Saturdays (beginning January 10), 1-3 p.m.
Where: Mississippi Pizza, 3552 North Mississippi Avenue, Portland
Questions? E-mail Molly Newman, your intrepid hostess.

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We have a winner!

Congratulations to last night’s winner, Karen (or “Caribou,” as her fellow competitors were calling her). We credit her win to her fetching antlers, and of course to her mad Greek vocabulary skills.

Our spelling bee champion for December 22, 2008

Our spelling bee champion for December 22, 2008

Karen’s winning word: “oophagous,” meaning “egg-eating.”

Did you know that many sharks are oophagous as embryos? Yep, the bigger badder embryo sharks devour the eggs containing their poor little unhatched brothers and sisters. How’s that for some merry holiday spirit? Read more about it.

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If you’re on Facebook and would like to connect with other Spelling Bee habitués… you’re in luck!

Join us today & share your thoughts, tips, concerns, questions, whatever. Hope to see you there.

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Spelling Bee Champion, 12/1/08

Meet the people (and the words) who enjoy triumph and renown at the Portland Spelling Bee. Each week, we’ll feature our winners and the words that brought them to glory.

This week, our champion is Tyler, a regular Bee participant and previous champion:


Winning Word
an instrument that measures the depth of water

And a note for the hesitant: our runner-up was a first-time speller, who did a fantastic job and gave Tyler a run for his money. Come on down and try out your own mad spelling skills!

Congratulations, Tyler! See you next week!

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Welcome to the Bee Blog!

da-beeHello Portland! Welcome to the official blog of the Portland Spelling Bee, hosted by the Mississippi Pizza Pub. The Bee is where logophiles gather every week to test their knowledge of Greek roots, Latin stems, the tricksy little vowels that bind them all together, and of course a scattering of Gaelic words whose spelling has little or no relationship to their pronunciation (“ceilidh,” anyone?).

Monday nights, adult spellers take the stage (perhaps with a glass in hand) to show off their skills. Erin Ergenbright hosts this event and is always glad to see new faces in the ever-growing crowd. Spelling starts at 7 sharp… but get there early for your best chance at scoring one of the limited number of slots!

Beginning this month, spellers up to age 18 are invited to a Bee just for them, hosted by Molly Newman. The contestants may be younger, but the competition will be just as fierce (yet friendly). Look for details on date and time coming soon.

So brush off that dictionary… run those spelling rules through your mind (and their inevitable exceptions)… and head down to Mississippi Avenue for some spelling-related excitement!

Adult Spelling Bee
Monday nights, 7:00 p.m. (sign-ups at 6:30)
Where: 3552 North Mississippi Avenue, Portland (find it on Google Maps)

Hey: are you a current Spelling Bee participant? We’d love to hear from you! Leave your comments here and we’ll be sure to respond.

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