This monthly series curated and hosted by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore features stellar queer writers—this time, hear from poet and author Chavisa Woods, who will share her new short story collection Things to Do When You're Goth in the Country.
Lisa Ko's anticipated debut novel, The Leavers, was called "required reading" by Ann Patchett and won the prestigious PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Come to hear Ko share this story that centers around an undocumented mother in the Bronx who leaves home one morning and never returns.
Art historian and curator Barbara Johns will share her new book, The Hope of Another Spring, a biography of Japanese-American artist Takuichi Fujii that highlights both his artistic contributions and the historical context of his life (including his incarceration in several American internment camps during World War II). The book features a previously unknown collection of art that Fujii created during his internment, including a detailed and illustrated diary.
Edward Curtis's The North American Indian puts to use a staggeringly large collection of data, photographs, and recordings from more than 80 Indigenous communities in North America, collected over a period of more than 20 years. Keep in mind that Curtis' photographs are (potentially exploitative) pieces of art, and, like many other anthropologists documenting "disappearing" cultures, he manipulated the subjects and scenes to fit his own narrative and aesthetic, removing details—like alarm clocks—that seemed too American; some suggested that he even staged elaborate rituals. But the tomes are worth seeing in person. At this viewing, you'll peek at Volume 9, which contains information about Chimakum, Quilliute and Willapa nations.
2013 Stranger Genius nominee Neal Stephenson is known for writing big, brainy, brilliant sci-fi novels. Nicole Galland's known for writing big, brainy books of historical fiction and also humorous books about dogs. They combine their powers in The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O., "a near-future thriller" whose premise recalls the shadow government intrigue Men in Black, but with wizards instead of aliens. RS
Every 10 years since 1994, the Poetry Book Society selects 20 poets that they expect will occupy and define the literary landscape for the next decade. Among those chosen in 2014 was Kei Miller, who in the same year also won the Forward Prize for Poetry and was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize. There's a reason why so many notable figures are looking to Miller as the future of poetry: He reaches people. He has a rapt audience and many types of literature to explore. His latest work, Augustown, is his third novel. If it's anything like his other work, it will be at once personal, political, philosophical, spiritual, and historical.
A dazzling polymath of literary forms, Sherman Alexie's latest book is a heartrending memoir made up of poetry and prose he wrote in response to the death of his mother at the age of 78. The portrait in You Don't Have to Say You Love Me is that of a "beautiful, mercurial, abusive, intelligent, and complicated woman," and of the boy who used literature to fashion his escape. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Port Townsend poet Gary Lilley is reason enough to go this reading. His latest book is The Bushman's Medicine Show, and it's full of the vivid, cinematic blues-inflected narratives we've come to expect over the course of his woefully undersung career. But the fact that he's sharing the bill with so many other of Washington state's great writers, including Ann Tweety, Sharma Shields (author of the 2016 Washington State Book Award-winning novel The Sasquatch Hunter's Almanac), and Erin Pringle, makes this event a must-see. RS
After #JournalismSoWhite comes #EducationSoWhite, an event that aims to discuss and draw attention to the fact that teachers are overwhelmingly white (while their students are not). This talk and panel will begin with a presentation by Town Hall's Community Programs Curator, Kristin Leong, who will speak about Roll Call (a TED-Ed Innovation Project) that aims to connect students and teachers through commonalities. Afterwards, hear from a panel featuring Garfield High School's Jesse Hagopian (a nationally-recognized education activist), UW College of Education's Joy Williamson-Lott, Sharonne Navas from the Equity in Education Coalition of Washington, and Seattle World School's Saraswati Noel.
Former Saturday Night Live comedian and current junior senator from Minnesota Al Franken has a new book out humbly titled Al Franken: Giant of the Senate. His previous books (many of them skewering right-wing politics) have been bestsellers. Franken has been a vocal and active opponent of Trump, questioning the administration's ties to Russia and pressing for an investigation into his tax returns. Franken is generally busy being a senator and trying to stop the United States from bursting into flames, so take this opportunity to hear about his work (and his new book) firsthand.
Taking Turns: Stories from HIV/AIDS Care Unit 371 is a graphic novel inspired by true stories told by HIV and AIDS patients to Czerwiec herself, who worked as a nurse at a Chicago HIV/AIDS Care Unit in 1994. Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) wrote that "through the lives and deaths of individual patients, written and drawn in documentary detail, we see the power dynamic between doctor and patient begin to shift. When cure is not an option, care takes on a new meaning."
Eddie Izzard earned himself a reputation as one of England's contemporary comedic geniuses largely by using his stand-up sets to rigorously interrogate life's great mysteries. How could anyone ever forget his philosophical treatise on the question of whether one would rather eat cake or die? In his new memoir, Believe Me, he uses his considerable intelligence and sharp wit to tell the story of his own life. RS
Listeners of The Moth know the deal: each storyslammer has a short period of time to tell a compelling story, whether poignant, funny, tragic, or edifying. This night's raconteurs are the top slammers from the previous ten months, so they're sure to be unmissable.
In this edition of History Café, UW PhD candidate Kevin McKenna will explore the history of local LGBTQ activism.
Stranger reporter Ana Sofia Knauf wrote, "On January 27, 2013, James Anderson walked into the Central District's Twilight Exit and shot two people: his 24-year-old girlfriend and bouncer Greg McCormick. Both of them survived. Anderson was later fatally shot by a police officer. Stranger contributor Marti Jonjak was at the club the night of the shooting. She and a friend sat next to the woman at the bar and later found themselves crouching next to her when Anderson came into the bar with a gun. Since then, Jonjak has chronicled the shooting through conversations with witnesses in a column for McSweeney's, with illustrations from Seattle artist Kelly Bjork." At this event, hear from Jonjak, who will read selections from the column. She will be joined by author and former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, who will share his book, To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America's Police and Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing.
Sarah Galvin wrote that in Doug Nufer's work, "pulp, noir, and pop function like clippings from familiar magazines in an elaborate collage." Nufer's latest release, The Me Theme, is shaped by a precise form—in this work, "strings of letters repeat to form different words." Celebrate its release at this book launch party.
Naomi Klein (best known for her book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, as well as This Changes Everything, a book—and a documentary—about why climate change requires us to give up our free-market ideals and organize a new way of living) will share her latest work, No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump's Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need. The brilliant Junot Díaz described the book as "a courageous coruscating counter-spell against the hegemonic nightmare that, if left unchecked, will devour us all."
In his review of The Nix for NPR, Jason Sheehan admiringly and almost lovingly describes the addictive nature of Nathan Hill's 620-page novel, writing that the "looping, run-on, wildly digressive pages which, somehow, in their absolute refusal to cling together and act like a book, make the perfect book for our distracted age." In a New York Times review, Alexandra Alter says that The Nix is about "politics, online gaming, academia, Norwegian mythology, social media, the Occupy Wall Street protests and the 1960s counterculture." In short, this reading looks fun.
The novel Welcome to Braggsville is an award-laden bestseller that Rich Benjamin at The New York Times described as a mixture between "a satirical The Indian Princess, James Nelson Barker's 1808 libretto about Pocahontas" and "a macabre E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial"—and this summer, it's being performed as a stage play presented by the excellent Book-It Repertory Theatre. If all of that isn't good enough for you, try this—the author of the novel, T. Geronimo Johnson, is stopping by in person for a conversation with the Book-It adaptors (Josh Aaseng and Daemond Arrindell).
Historian and public policy advocate Betsy Hartmann has written a book about America that stretches back to our Puritanical roots, exploring the enduring obsession with doomsday and the apocalypse. She'll also examine the impact of that fixation, including "inequality, permanent war, and the exploitation of natural resources." Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Kai Bird writes that The America Syndrome is "a timely debunking of anti-intellectualism in American life and of all those demagogues who have stoked American nativist paranoia."
National Book Award-winner Charles Johnson (Middle Passage) will speak about his new book of meditations on the written word, The Way of the Writer, in conversation with Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain, A Sudden Light).
Robert Lopez's All Back Full is a theatrical novel consisting of three extended conversations that happen between just three characters. Lopez will be joined at this reading by Sam Ligon, whose new thriller, Among the Dead and Dreaming, was described by Jess Walter (extremely accomplished author and A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment co-host) as "a wildly original love story, a ghost story, a tense and suspenseful story in which the wickedly talented Ligon channels voices—of the lost, the longing, and the damned."
Almost exactly 20 years after the first time she came to read in Seattle for The God of Small Things, an extraordinary and haunting novel about desire and betrayal within the context of India's caste system, the author and activist returns with her much-anticipated second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which Booklist calls "an entrancing, imaginative, wrenching epic." CF
Spend an evening with the extremely talented Oluo siblings, trumpeter Ahamefule (of the Stranger Genius Award-winning Industrial Revelation) and writer/activist/editor Ijeoma Oluo, who runs the Establishment (both of them have also contributed to the Stranger; Ijeoma practically broke our website with her piece on Rachel Dolezal). The two of them are so cool, we're not sure if the soon-to-be renovated Town Hall can handle their combined charisma. Learn about their career paths, activism, and artistry.
This is not the first biography of jazz star Sarah Vaughan, also known as "Sassy" or "The Divine One." But it does seem to be the first book about the iconic singer that highlights her role as a pioneer of women's and civil rights. Author Elaine M. Hayes's Queen of Bebop "updates and corrects the historical record on Vaughan and elevates her status as a jazz great."
Seattle's world-renowned Fantagraphics Books, known for their boundary-pushing cartoons and graphic novels, will host their annual Hot Off the Press book fair. They'll have new releases you must check out immediately, including Simon Hanselmann's One More Year, plus selections from Breakdown Press, Hey Lady, Short Run Micropress, and Fogland Studios.
Meet 10 comics and zine artists from the queer community.
Kaitlin Solimine's Empire of Glass—about memory, oral history, and pre- and post-revolutionary China—is a book-within-a-book with detailed footnotes that tell a second story. Colson Whitehead (who wrote The Underground Railroad) awarded an earlier draft of Empire of Glass the 2012 Dzanc Books/Disquiet International Literary Program award. Solimine will be joined by Warren Read, who will share his latest work, Ash Falls, a thriller set in the Pacific Northwest.
Claire Dederer's Love and Trouble: A Mid-Life Reckoning is a funny memoir about sadness, friendship, Seattle, literature, and the mysteries of physical desire. CF
Rachel Khong has two very good, very different books coming out. One is called All About Eggs, which is a funny and informative cookbook about the only life-giver that's also a top-tier party snack. It's published by Lucky Peach, so you know it's pretty and full of great illustrations. Her other book is a novel called Goodbye, Vitamin, which is about a down-and-out thirtysomething who gets dumped and is thus forced to return to her childhood home, where she must care for her ailing parents. It's supposed to be as charming and funny as the egg book, but a little bit sadder. Khong's definitely a writer to keep your eye on. RS
July 25 & Aug 18
July 25 is the book launch for Black Radish's Forget It, one of three Anastacia Reneé titles due for publication this summer. If you haven't seen Reneé at a reading around town in the last year or so, you haven't been going to readings around town. She's everywhere, either performing her dramatic, multi-persona poems from one of those three books, or starring in her ever-developing solo show, 9 Ounces. She's swept up tons of local and national awards and residencies recently, and for good reason: her poems are smart and powerful, her delivery is varied and compelling, and she's got great style. RS On August 18, Tolbert will celebrate the release of all three books: (v.), Forget It, and Answer(Me).
On Trails is the first book by Robert Moor, a hiker and writer who had an excellent essay in The New Yorker titled "Why The Most Popular Hiking Memoirs Don't Go the Distance." On Trails came out in 2016 to thunderous acclaim from environmentalists, outdoors enthusiasts, and reviewers, and was called "the best outdoors book of the year" by the Sierra Club.
Poet and author Camille Dungy (Smith Blue, What to Eat, What to Drink, What to Leave for Poison, and Suck on the Marrow, among others) will share two new works. The first is Trophic Cascade, a collection of poems "written in the face of despair to hold an impossible love and a commitment to hope," and the second is a series of personal essays titled Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys into Race, Motherhood, and History, her prose debut that Roxane Gay called "an elegant, meditative love letter to the life of the writer, the natural world, histories from which we cannot nor should not extricate ourselves, black womanhood, black motherhood, and the unabashed joy of raising up a black girl."
Poet and author Jac Jemc's The Grip of It is a highly anticipated thriller from the author of works including novel My Only Wife and short story collection A Different Bed Every Time. Sci-fi/speculative fiction author Jeff VanderMeer describes her latest novel as a "stunning, smart, genuinely creepy page-turner that I couldn't put down."
Discover Leanne Dunic's debut novel from local Chin Music Press, To Love the Coming End, which follows a woman traveling in Singapore after the Tohoku earthquake and dealing with her own heartbreak.
Third Place Books Ravenna
Before we go any further, it's important to know how deep Ben Percy's voice is. It's comically deep. Takes you a few minutes to overcome its startling deepness. But once you get past his sound and into his sense, you'll realize he's a strong advocate for and excellent executioner of the literary/genre novel hybrid. "Why can't the helicopter explode with pretty sentences?" he once asked a room full of Canadians during an event for the National Writers Series. Percy tests that question yet again in his new book, The Dark Net, which is about a Resistance forming in the shadier parts of the web. It's set in present day Portland, so there's a little pleasing local connection there, too. RS
Every First Wed
Invented by our own Christopher Frizzelle, the reading party is every first Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. That's when the Fireside Room at the Sorrento Hotel goes quiet and fills with people with books tucked under their arms. (And, occasionally, a Kindle or two.) By 7 p.m., you often can't get a seat. And there's always free music from 6 to 8 p.m.
Every Second Wed
Puns are the highest and lowest form of humor: They somehow refresh the materiality of language, reminding you that a word is a figure, a thing that can be looked at from several different angles. So whoever wins the pun competition Pundamonium will likely be one of Seattle's great crafters of language, both in a Renaissance fair kind of way but also in a literary genius kind of way. The contestants will be chosen from the audience on a first-come, first-served basis, so the title could go to anyone. RS
Every First Thurs & Third Fri
A live amateur storytelling competition in which audience members who put their names in a hat are randomly chosen to tell stories on a theme. Local comedians tend to show up, but lots of nonperformers get in on the action as well.