In the eyes of its organizers, Lit Crawl Seattle is “the extra-large burrito” of book readings, a mentally-nourishing meal packed with a myriad of thematic ingredients—from oyster foraging and video games to football and salt—all wrapped up for convenient consumption (also, it pairs well with a cerveza or two). Now in its fourth year, the offshoot of San Francisco’s literary festival Litquake brings over 80 of the most notable names in Northwest literature (plus a few out-of-towners) for a night of readings at more than 30 Capitol and First Hill bars, galleries, and more traditional book venues.
Seattle Lit Crawl 2015 takes place this Thursday, October 22, with free events scattered across Capitol Hill and First Hill and a (ticketed) after-party at Fred Wildlife Refuge. It’s a pub crawl pace but with the emphasis on readings more than than booze, though imbibing is encouraged if that’s your Thursday night speed.
This year’s numbers are a noticeably big jump from last year’s more modest schedule of 23 events, which Lit Crawl director Brian McGuigan attributes to their reaching out to a wider variety of writers. “This year’s crawl represents a wider range of forms, themes, and styles,” says McGuigan. There are also a few non-local writers like memoirists Sarah Hepola and Melissa Febos, a first for the crawl. “We’re programming with intentionality to bring together all the voices of the community, but also decided not to be so hyper local this year.”
Given this year’s massive lineup, McGuigan recommends planning your crawl in advance. The night is divided into three phases, starting respectively at 6, 7, and 8. Most bars are centrally located, so the 15-minute window between the three reading times should be enough time to grab a spot and a drink.
Whether you’re well-versed or new to the lit scene, here are five suggestions when planning your route:
Consider the Oyster: A Puget Sound Love Story
The Cloud Room at 6
Start the evening off on a decidedly Pacific Northwest note with an ode to Seattle’s star bivalve from food writers Langdon Cook and Sara Dickerman. Local chef and restaurateur Renee Erickson follows the readings with a Q&A. We recommend getting there early to find a spot, as the foodies are bound to fill the space fast.
Sobriety and Recovery: Sarah Hepola and Melissa Febos
Town Hall at 6
Critically-acclaimed memoirists Sarah Hepola (Blackout) and Melissa Febos (Whip Smart) share their powerful writing on substance abuse and secret lives. Their stories about respectively being a blackout drunk and a dominatrix should make for a heavy but wholly worthwhile listen. We’ll even forgive them not being locals.
Cheap Wine and Poetry
Hugo House at 7
The long-running vino plus poetry series will feature poets Arlene Kim, Matt Gano, and Claudia Castro Luna. Turns out poetry is a great entry point for the literary layperson, and with wine at a dollar a glass, we’re pretty sure people will be having have a good time regardless.
Lit “Level Up”
Pine Box at 8
Need something to hold you over until the Christmas video game releases? With a nod to Seattle’s deeply-rooted gaming industry and culture, writers/gamers Frances Dinger, Rachel Springer, James Gapinski, and Seattle Met's own Darren Davis share gamer fiction, poetry, and personal essays on the banality and anxieties of adulthood.
Spooky Stories in the Stacks
Seattle Public Library Capitol Hill Branch Library at 8
If you’re into ghost stories for grownups, head to story time hosted by librarian David Wright and see what happens after the library closes for the night. This one may sound like it’s for the kids, but as part of a partnership with Seattle Public Library’s Booktoberfest (a month long celebration of books and beer), we see it as a frightfully delightful pre-Halloween bash.
Lit Crawl Seattle 2015
Oct 22 at 6, Various venues, Free