March 3 , 2008

King Dork’s teenage angst comes to Sacramento State

Natsuki Fukasawa Author Frank Portman

The alienated teen is a common character in literature, but not one that has completely run its course, as award-winning author Frank Portman has proven with his critically-acclaimed young-adult novel King Dork.

Portman will present a guest lecture about his first novel and discuss the writing process from 6-7:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 5 in Sacramento State’s Library Room 3023.

“King Dork is a teen novel that was an unexpected success when it came out in the last year,” Portman says. ”The young-adult genre is not the only area of publication that is growing, but there seems to be this vast re-evaluation of teenage-hood.”

The high school satire presents Tom Henderson, a high school dork destined for a life of obscurity until he makes a discovery that may unlock the secrets of his past, make him a rock god and even score him some semi-hot girls.

And while there are many novels that touch upon the angst of teenage life, Portman says he tried to take the cliché concept and make it more interesting by adding depth.

“I had no idea whether it would click or not, but it did,” Portman says. “It’s the universal angst of the ordinary American life—that greater society is at your expense.”

King Dork has been well-received by critics and recently won the Northern California Book Award in the children’s lit category. Hollywood filmmakers are also expressing interest in movie rights to the book.

Frank Portman is available for media interviews at (510) 331-9525. For more information on the guest lecture, contact Michael Pulley at (916) 278-4569 or e-mail For media assistance, call Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-6156.