Author Sunil Yapa (whose Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist renders the WTO protests from the perspective of six characters) will be just one of three authors spotlighted at the Sherman Alexie Loves event in May. Author Photo

Find a complete list of readings and talks in Seattle this spring on our Things To Do calendar, or check out our other picks for the best things to do in Seattle this spring.

Get all this and more on the free Stranger Things To Do mobile app—available now on the App Store and Google Play.


Ben Fountain
Ben Fountain is one of those writers that makes you feel okay for not having published your groundbreaking novel before 40 years of age. He published his first book at 48—a heavily researched selection of short stories called Brief Encounters with Che Guevara—and published 2012's best-selling Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk at 53. Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire screenwriter dude) plans to adapt that book, which is about the stark disconnect between the American and Iraqi experience of the second Iraq War, into a movie. His humor recalls Twain and Vonnegut, and he's a charming and thoughtful public speaker, sort of like Jimmy Carter after a couple cups of coffee. He'll read as part of the 2016-17 Seattle Arts & Lectures Literary Arts season. RICH SMITH

Contagious Exchanges
This monthly reading series curated and hosted by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore features queer writers—this time, hear from two poets with seemingly disparate styles. Dowling is an assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies at University of Washington-Bothell who works with a lot of academic, conceptual writing. Sims is an educator and poet who comes up from the spoken word scene, and who has recently published a terrific book, (A)live Heart. Look for intriguing formal and intellectual connections between these two. RICH SMITH

David Williams: Seattle Walks
Author and science writer David B. Williams collected essays and maps to examine nature in the city in his 2005 book The Street-Smart Naturalist, and he wrote about Seattle's redrawn, rebuilt hills and waterways in his 2015 book Too High and Too Steep. Now, he'll visit the Central Library to share his latest work, Seattle Walks, which will help newcomers and residents alike notice and embrace the strange beauty of our city.


Alison Flowers: Exoneree Diaries
Journalist Alison Flowers's interest in criminal and social justice led her to the subject of Exoneree Diaries: The Fight for Innocence, Independence, and Identity, which explores life after imprisonment—specifically, how people who are found to be innocent rejoin the world (or struggle to). Learn about the trauma of wrongful conviction, the navigations of identity after release, and patterns of mass incarceration through Flowers' portraits of four exonerated prisoners.

Joel Berg and Matt Taibbi
Author, commentator, and Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg's America, We Need to Talk: A Self-Help Book for the Nation is about how citizens can make a difference in the country's problems. About the book, Toni Morrison wrote, "It is both important and entertaining. We need both—I've never seen the political world so sad, so foolish. So dangerous. This book will certainly help.“

John Judis
John Judis will speak about The Populist Explosion: How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics, which made a New York Times list called "Six Books to Help Understand Trump's Win."

Migration Stories
In this series, local stars and community members will share stories of "immigration, migration, displacement, and community" and speak about their perspective on Jacob Lawrence's 60-panel masterpiece The Migration Series. The event takes place on First Thursday, when admission to the museum is half-price ($12).


Chiyo Ishikawa: First Friday Lecture
Learn more about Seeing Nature, a survey exhibit of landscape paintings, from SAM Deputy Director and Curator (and terrific resource, gem of a human) Chiyo Ishikawa.


Live Wire with Luke Burbank
The homegrown radio/podcast comedy phenomenon known as Too Beautiful to Live—and its gregarious, hilarious, occasionally precarious host Luke Burbank (alas, he’s a Taurus)—are still alive and well, but THIS is Burbank’s other show, Live Wire, an NPR-friendly variety program based in Portland, Oregon. SEAN NELSON


Japanese American Internment, Farming, and Pike Place Market
Franklin Roosevelt's internment of Japanese American farmers wasn't only an example of injustice; it was also a blow to the food supply and agricultural community around Seattle and elsewhere. Slow Food Seattle will assemble a panel to talk about the impact of Executive Order 9066. Speakers will include journalist/author Dave Neiwert (Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community), descendant of Bellevue internees Ed Suguro, New Roots Coordinator with the International Rescue Committee Tyler George-Minetti, and a representative of Pike Place Market, "where nearly 80% of its vendors were Japanese Americans at the time of the internment. The conversation will be moderated by Mei Yook Woo, founder of the Foodways Project and manager of the Danny Woo Community Garden.

Sulha Peace Project: An Israeli-Palestinian Peace Project
The Sulha Peace Project is an organization that brings together Palestinians and Israelis in prayer, song, discussion, and debate, embracing a spirit of collaboration, hope, and unity. Hear about their projects—from "Tribal Fires" to youth conferences—from co-executive director Yoav Peck and Sulha leader Fulla Jubeh.


Ben Gibbard with Sherman Alexie and Naomi Wachira
By the time you read this, the entire Standing Rock issue may well find itself consigned to cold history. The Mighty One (orange) made Obama’s fixes part of his supper. Well, go to this benefit for Standing Rock and the Water Protector Legal Collective anyway. Sherman Alexie is only one of the most amazing writers the Pacific Northwest ever produced, and you don’t have to take my word for it. Ben Gibbard hails of course from Death Cab for Cutie, ’nuff said, a rare solo show. Naomi Wachira’s website describes her as Afro-folk—although I say sweet soul. And maybe the issue is out of the news by the time you read this—but the splat from the orange pulp will need cleaning up. ANDREW HAMLIN

Greg Proops: 
The Smartest Book in the World
Greg Proops is best known for the improvisational humor he regularly dropped as a panel member on the TV hit Whose Line Is it Anyway?, as well as his stand-up comedy and his podcast The Smartest Man in the World. Come for observational jokes about cultural norms, some riffing about baseball, and plugs for his 2015 book The Smartest Book in the World: A Lexicon of Literacy, A Rancorous Reportage, A Concise Curriculum of Cool. Here's a good Greg Proops quote: "You leave white people alone in constant isolation for 2,000 years, and you know what their musical contribution will be? Riverdance!"


Tanya Erzen
Author and University of Puget Sound professor Tanya Erzen has written extensively about police brutality, organized religion, and American conservative ideology (including in her 2006 book Straight to Jesus: Sexual and Christian Conversions in the Ex-Gay Movement). At this event, she'll share her latest work, God in Captivity: The Rise of Faith Based Prison Ministries in the Age of Mass Incarceration, a book that navigates a number of tricky topics: the fuzzy separation between church and state in these faith-based prison ministries, the complicated identity navigations of an organization that prioritizes personal transformation while largely ignoring structural injustice, and the positive impact that opportunities for education and hope have on incarcerated people.


Gish Jen with Eric Liu: Girl at the Baggage Claim
Over the course of her many award-winning novels (especially Typical American, Mona in the Promised Land, and World and Town) Gish Jen writes about the complexities of assimilation, interracial relationships, and conflict between first generation immigrants and second/third generation immigrants. According to press materials, her latest, The Girl at the Baggage Claim, is a book of nonfiction that incorporates "cutting-edge research in cultural psychology" with anecdotes from her own life in order to reveal how Eastern and Western cultural differences "shape what we perceive and remember, what we say and do and make." I trust Jen will write about the specific differences between the traditionally individualistic mindset of Westerners and the traditionally communal mindset of Easterners in a funny, thoughtful, cringe-inducing-but-maybe-in-a-good-way way. RICH SMITH

Taste of Place
A collection of panelists (specializing in topics including geology, food, wine, and cannabis) will speak about artisanal products in Washington state and signature regional flavors. Of course, that discussion would be incomplete without samples—so they'll also lead a tasting of local cheese, honey, and wine.


Morgan Parker: There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé
Morgan Parker’s profile has risen dramatically over the last couple of years, and we’re all better for it. Her recent essay in the New York Times, “How to Stay Sane While Black,” lays out a pretty good case for providing free therapy for black Americans, shows off the depth of her insight, the keeness of her eye, the darkness of her humor (“commercials for feel like a personal attack”), and the strength she finds in vulnerability. All those skills shine in her new book of poems, There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé. This book has lines, no matter which kind you’re looking for. Like your poetry slightly surreal and image-forward? “This book is spit, cum, cloud cover,” she writes, transforming water into vapor via seed. Prefer lyrical gemstones? Then please say this line aloud: “For him you would pumice shined to pearl. / He makes you wanna write your name.” Or maybe you like casually chatty, pop-culture-laden lines that swerve into meditative profundity and then back again? Cool. Then read the whole book. It’s all there, and it’s all good. In addition to her writing, she’s also doing a bang-up job touring the world, helming Little A (Amazon’s literary publishing arm), and co-curating a NYC readings series called Poets with Attitude. You don’t leave a Morgan Parker reading uninspired by her talents or your own. So go. Oh! And! Rebecca Schiff will be there, reading from her new collection of short stories, The Bed Moved. RICH SMITH RICH SMITH


Critical Issues in Contemporary Art Practice: Lise Soskolne
This iteration of the "Critical Issues in Contemporary Art Practice" series will feature Lise Soskolne, a visual artist who has also been heavily involved in nonprofit arts presenting and development. One of her most interesting (and controversial) projects was the transformation of Industry City. They write: "In 2007, she was hired to use artists to increase the property value of Industry City, a 6.5 million sq ft industrial complex on the South Brooklyn waterfront. There she founded and managed the arts component in its broader regeneration with the intention of establishing a new paradigm for industrial redevelopment that would not displace workers, artists, local residents or industry, but would instead build a sustainable community of working artists in a context that integrated cultural and industrial production."

Pop-Up Magazine
The premise for this show is that it's a "live magazine," with stories told onstage through photography, film, radio, and music. But unlike a magazine, it only happens for one night, and there's no recording—so come experience in Seattle it on its winter 2017 tour. After the performance, cast and crew will join with audience members for drinks and conversation.


Abeer Y. Hoque: Olive Witch
Abeer Y. Hoque (author of short story collection The Lovers and the Leavers and monograph The Long Way Home) will visit Elliott Bay to share her latest work, a memoir titled Olive Witch. Poems and weather conditions punctuate the narrative, which focuses on Hoque's experiences as a young Bangladeshi girl living first in Nigeria and then in Pittsburgh. It's a meditation on culture and identity—with detailed and intimate depictions of depression, including institutionalization—that Kirkus Reviews called "quietly moving."

David Bosworth
David Bosworth used to be the director of UW's creative writing program, and he's the author of philosophical, cultural, and artistic works including The Demise of Virtue in Virtual America: The Moral Origins of the Great Recession and The Death of Descartes. His latest book, Conscientious Thinking: Making Sense in an Age of Idiot Savants, locates the source of many contemporary problems at the messy intersection between modern and post-modern modes of thinking. Technology is screwing with our lives, and he'll propose a way of moving forward despite that.


Tim Egan
Timothy Egan (former Seattle Times correspondent, current lefty columnist for The New York Times, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, and winner of a National Book Award for Nonfiction for his book The Worst Hard Time) will share two new biographies: a colorful portrayal of Thomas Francis Meagher titled The Immortal Irishman, and Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, which tells the story of famous photographer and ethnologist Edward Curtis (who has strong connections to Seattle, and is known mainly for his pre- and early 20th century portraits of Native Americans).


Short Stories Live: Stories from McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern
This edition of "Short Stories Live" will focus on tales from Dave Eggers's bold literary journal, Timothy McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, showcasing stories from authors including Jess Walter, Zadie Smith, and Nyuol Lueth Tong.

Tim Egan
Timothy Egan (former Seattle Times correspondent, current lefty columnist for The New York Times, winner of a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, and winner of a National Book Award for Nonfiction for his book The Worst Hard Time) will share two new biographies: a colorful portrayal of Thomas Francis Meagher titled The Immortal Irishman, and Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, which tells the story of famous photographer and ethnologist Edward Curtis (who has strong connections to Seattle, and is known mainly for his pre- and early 20th century portraits of Native Americans).


Ask the Oracle: Melissa Febos, Elissa Washuta, and Quenton Baker
Before the show, audience members will write down questions about their futures, and host Johnny Horton (in a velvet tuxedo) will pose them to the "writer-oracles," who will answer by reading a random passage from their own work. The oracles this time are Elissa Washuta (My Body Is a Book of Rules), Melissa Febos (Whip Smart), and Quenton Baker (This Glittering Republic).

Kevin Canty: The Underworld
Kevin Canty (Into the Great Wide Open, Nine Below Zero, and Everything) is known for writing beautiful books about disaster—desolate and marred landscapes, impenetrable grief, and failed relationships. In this one, titled The Underworld, he'll explore a terrible (and true) fire in a small mining town; the loss of life affected each and every member of the community, and Canty will tell stories about the survivors.

Molly Peacock
Molly Peacock is known for writing poems, essays, a biography of Mary Delany, a memoir, and a one-woman show—as well as editing anthologies and acting as the president of the Poetry Society of America. At this event she'll share her latest poetry collection, The Analyst, that focuses on Peacock's former psychoanalyst and the way their relationship has changed and shifted over the decades.


David Williams: Seattle Walks
Author (and sometimes science writer) David B. Williams collected essays and maps to examine nature in the city in his 2005 book The Street-Smart Naturalist, and he wrote about Seattle's redrawn, rebuilt hills and waterways in his 2015 book Too High and Too Steep. Now, he'll visit the Central Library to share his latest work, Seattle Walks, which will help newcomers and residents alike notice and embrace the strange beauty of our city.

A Historical Perspective of Homelessness in Seattle
Learn about the history of homelessness in Seattle and the current problems that homeless people face at this community panel featuring MOHAI's executive director Leonard Garfield, writer and former director of both ROOTS and the Elizabeth Gregory Home, Sinan Demirel, Chief Seattle Club executive director Colleen Echohawk, founding director of the Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project, Tim Harris, and director of Seattle U's Project on Family Homelessness, Catherine Hinrichsen.

Kay Redfield Jamison
Kay Redfield Jamison (clinical psychologist and author of the brilliant, surprising book An Unquiet Mind, which details her own experiences with manic depression—the alluring, invigorating aspects along with the depression and trauma) will share her latest work, Robert Lowell, Setting the River on Fire: A Study of Genius, Mania, and Character. Lowell's tempestuous and debilitating moods are famous, and he wrote a number of poems about their effects, his institutionalization, and his periods of recovery. ("Just twelve months ago, / these flowers were pedigreed / imported Dutchmen; now no one need / distinguish them from weed. / Bushed by the late spring snow, / they cannot meet / another year's snowballing enervation. / I keep no rank nor station / Cured, I am frizzled, stale and small.") This book will expand on a theme that Jamison has explored before: the connection between prolific artistic creation and manic depression.


A River of Ink Runs Through It: The Giant Pen in Context
Jim Woodring's The Pig Went Down to the Harbor at Sunrise and Wept (a series of large ink drawings created using a comically oversized fountain pen that Woodring made himself) is on display at the Frye, and in celebration, Woodring himself will visit the museum and speak about his work and influences (including the giant pen). He will be joined by Negarra A. Kudumu, Frye Art Museum Manager of Public Programs.

Word Works: Mary Gaitskill
Mary Gaitskill is a genius who wrote one of the most riveting essays I have ever read. It’s called “Lost Cat,” and it’s about how she loved a recently deceased cat more than the children she was hosting from the Fresh Air Fund, a program that pairs low-income kids with rich people for summer vacations. The piece is a deep examination of race, grief, and the strange chambers of the human heart. If you want to know how to go deep like Gaitskill, check out this lecture on how to make fictional characters seem real. RICH SMITH


Asia Talks: Mohsin Hamid
This edition of "Asia Talks" will feature British Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid, author of Moth Smoke, Discontent and Its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York and London, and his most famous, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize). Hamid will visit Seattle to share his latest novel, Exit West, about migration from an unnamed country beset by violence.

Serial: Sarah Koenig & Julie Snyder
Co-creators Sarah Koenig and Julie Snyder will take you behind the scenes of their viral podcast Serial and discuss the "ups and downs of creating a new form of modern storytelling," using tape from the show to narrate their own stories. $100 VIP tickets include a pre-show meet and greet reception.


Ariel Levy with Claire Dederer
New Yorker staff writer Ariel Levy (author of feminist cultural critique Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture) prided herself on being fearless, the kind of woman who would travel alone, meet new people, interview them, learn quickly, and write boldly. When she was five months pregnant, she travelled to Mongolia to write about the influence of the burgeoning mining industry—and she returned home to a fractured marriage, without a baby. Rules Do Not Apply is a memoir about that experience and others; you can see glimpses of the likely themes in the 2013 New Yorker essay "Thanksgiving in Mongolia," in which she tells a salesperson at a clothing store, “I don’t know what size I am, because I just had a baby. He died, but the good news is, now I’m fat.” She writes with self-deprecating humor and a deep curiosity about what it means to be a woman in this world. At this event, Levy will be joined by Claire Dederer, Hugo House instructor and author of the New York Times best-selling memoir Poser.


Camille Paglia
Author and professor Camille Paglia (known for her cultural, social, and artistic critiques) will offer nuggets of wisdom from her new collection, Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender, Feminism, which contains decades of essays in which, according to Publisher's Weekly, Paglia "is at her feisty, full-throated best."

Suja Thomas: The Missing American Jury
Suja A. Thomas (professor of law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is a constitutional originalist who has written (and been quoted in) numerous articles on topics including the role of private interests in determining jury processes, the incorporation of the Bill of Rights, and the jurisdiction of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Hear her read from her new book, The Missing American Jury: Restoring the Fundamental Constitutional Role of the Criminal, Civil, and Grand Juries, which examines the way in which juries have been slowly stripped of their constitutional powers—and how those powers can be restored.


Howard French: Everything Under the Heavens
Writer and photographer Howard French (a former New York Times Asia correspondent, and author of China's Second Continent: How a Million Migrants Are Building a New Empire in Africa) will share his latest work, Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power. This book investigates China's ideological stance on foreign affairs, contextualizing their current status within a historical framework and comparing China's philosophy to their actual policies and actions.

Jonathan Rosenblum and Steve Early: Beyond $15 and Refinery Town
Explore labor issues with Jonathan Rosenblum (Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money, and the Remaking of an American City), Steve Early (Beyond $15: Immigrant Workers, Faith Activists, and the Revival of the Labor Movement), and Socialist Alternative party member and Seattle City Council Member Kshama Sawant, a leading advocate in Seattle's "Fight for 15."


Jami Attenberg with Maria Semple
Jami Attenberg (journalist and author of The Kept Man, The Melting Season, Saint Mazie, and New York Times best seller The Middlesteins) will share her new novel, All Grown Up, a book that investigates what it means to be an adult and how we measure growth (especially in times of stress and heartbreak). Attenberg will be joined by the wonderful Maria Semple, who Christopher Frizzelle calls "the author of the funniest book ever written about Seattle" (Where'd You Go, Bernadette?).

SAM Curator Talk: Seeing Nature
Learn more about Seeing Nature, a survey exhibit of landscape paintings, from SAM Deputy Director and Curator (and terrific resource, gem of a human) Chiyo Ishikawa.


Elif Batuman: The Idiot
New Yorker staff writer and author Elif Batuman (The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them) will share her debut novel, The Idiot, which Kirkus Reviews called "self-aware, cerebral, and delightful."

Misty Copeland
Misty Copeland is the first African American woman to be a principal dancer at the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, and she has grabbed the hearts of dance critics, the internet, and pretty much anyone who watches her perform. At this event, hear her speak about privilege and art.

Patton Oswalt
You'll probably recognize Patton Oswalt from his numerous appearances on TV shows from Veep to Parks and Recreation, or from his six comedy specials (the latest of which is titled Talking for Clapping). He's a talented comedian and very active Twitter user (of the sane, liberal variety), and appears in the upcoming screen adaptation of Dave Eggers's tech dystopia novel The Circle. Unfortunately, his name has been in the news frequently in the past year because last April his wife died unexpectedly in her sleep—but in response, he has publicly offered careful, thoughtful, sincere statements about grief and loss.

MARCH 24-25

Citizen University Annual National Conference
Rather poignantly, the theme of this year's Citizen University—a gathering of speakers, teachers, and civic activists—will be "Reckoning and Repair." Join them for workshops and talks on the state of the country and how to be involved. This year's speakers: Alice Waters, Annette Gordon-Reed, Bob Woodson, Berto Aguayo, Brad Jenkins, Brittany Packnett, Carrie Mae Weems, Felicia Wong, Heather McGhee, Jim Wallis, Jose Antonio Vargas, Krista Tippett, Matthew Dowd, Maria Hinojosa, Matt Kibbe, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Rinku Sen, Ruben Navarrette, and Titus Kaphar.


Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science
Celebrity chef Alton Brown (who was in town a few months ago promoting his book EveryDayCook, which features 101 recipes sorted by time of day) will host a live show that blends science, music, "talk-show antics," interactive elements, games, multimedia presentation aids, and "potentially dangerous" food demonstrations for a performance that highlights stunts he has "never been allowed to do on TV."

Ezequiel García: Growing Up in Public
Growing Up in Public is the American debut of Argentinian cartoonist Ezequiel García, and offers similarities between the uncertainty of the artist's life and the uncertain political and social future of Buenos Aires. The graphic memoir is said to be inspired by physical and cultural changes in the city, as well as "film, architecture, and rock music of the past."

Marc Maron: The Too Real Tour
Writer, stand-up comedian, podcast host, musician, actor, director, producer, and extremely busy person Marc Maron (probably best known for The Marc Maron Show and WTF with Marc Maron) will treat Seattle to an evening of his comedic stylings.

Peter Bagge: Fire!!
In 2015, Paul Constant wrote that "Peter Bagge has been at the comics game long enough that he could probably retire into a rewarding (but poor-paying) career as Seattle's elder comics statesman." Celebrate Bagge's statesman status while you check out his latest work, a biography titled Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story. Hurston had a fascinating life, full of travels and cultural investigations, and created an enthralling body of work, from her controversial anthropological pieces to her classic novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.


Lauren Grodstein with Laurie Frankel
Hear from author Lauren Grodstein, who is known for novels including Reproduction is the Flaw of Love, Girls Dinner Club, A Friend of the Family, and An Explanation for Everything. She will share bits and pieces from her upcoming work, Our Short History, a story about a mother making difficult family decisions while facing imminent death. Grodstein will be joined by Laurie Frankel, whose new novel, This Is How It Always Is (as Rich Smith wrote in January) "explores the trials, tribulations, questions, and unbridled delights that come along with raising a trans child."


Annie Hartnett: Rabbit Cake
Annie Hartnett's debut novel tells the story of a fact-obsessed 12-year-old girl named Elvis who is learning to deal with her mother's death, and has been compared to works including Maria Semple's Where'd You Go Bernadette and and Celeste Ng's Everything I Never Told You.

Bob Ortblad: Who Built Seattle?
Seattle certainly has changed in the tech booms of the past few decades, but it has also undergone other, older transformations, including the Klondike Gold Rush population spike around the turn of the century. Learn more about Seattle's history (from the physical restructuring of the city's landscape to the notable buildings of the 20th century) from civil engineer and history enthusiast Bob Ortblad, who will focus on Seattle's development from 1853 to 1953.

Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson, a public interest lawyer, law professor at NYU's law school, and the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, will speak as part of the 2016-17 Seattle Arts & Lectures Literary Arts season. He's received numerous awards, including a MacArthur "Genius" Grant, for his work fighting poverty and racial discrimination in the criminal justice system, and his 2014 book Just Mercy was selected as one of 2014's 10 best nonfiction books by TIME.

Path with Art Spring Voices Showcase
Path with Art is an organization that works to help people recovering from homelessness, addiction, and trauma by recognizing the transformative and beneficial powers of artistic engagement. Spring Voices is a showcase that will highlight the recent work of their students, including poetry, prose, performance, and song.


The Warmth of Other Suns with Isabel Wilkerson
Isabel Wilkerson (a journalist and author whose prizes include the Pulitzer, National Book Critics Circle Award, and NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work) will read from The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, her ambitious and massive 2011 historical study of the northward movement of African Americans in the early and mid 20th century. Jacob Lawrence's stunning, 60-panel Migration Series tackles the same topic—at this event, learn about the historical, political, and cultural context from a skilled and empathetic writer, and appreciate Lawrence's paintings with a new perspective.


An Evening with Elizabeth Gilbert
The author of Eat, Pray, Love followed up that huge commercial success with another memoir, titled Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage. Now her latest piece, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, is an examination of her own "generative process."


An Evening with Neil Gaiman
Celebrated novelist Neil Gaiman—known for his dark, vast body of work, and the creepy universality he creates that resonates in a deep, secret part of a reader’s psyche—will stop in Seattle to discuss his upcoming book Norse Mythology, inspired by famous myths about the gods of Asgard.


National Geographic Live: The Mystery of Our Human Story
Paleoanthropologist Lee Berger is known for a number of discoveries and excavations (including Australopithecus sediba, effectively a transition between australopithecines and Homo habilis, and Homo naledi, which could potentially be a previously unknown Homo species) but he's also known for his "celebrity anthropologist" status. He's a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence and a regular lecturer at a variety of venues, and he has used his scientific fame to push for open-access frameworks (upholding the standard himself, making many of his projects publicly available and encouraging collaboration).


Hannah Tinti: The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley
Hannah Tinti (editor of One Story magazine and author of novel The Good Thief and short story collection Animal Crackers) will read from her new literary thriller, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley.

ISB Panel: The Future of Health
This panel discussion is presented by Seattle's Institute for Systems Biology as part of their "Future of Health" symposium, and will focus on scientific advances (especially those influenced by systems biology) that relate to human health. Panelists include KUOW's Ross Reynolds, ISB President and Co-Founder Dr. Leroy Hood, Dr. Steven Kern from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Dr. Mike Snyder from Stanford's Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine.


Faith Erin Hicks and G. Willow Wilson
You know Stranger Genius Nominee in Literature and journalist G. Willow Wilson for cocreating and writing Ms. Marvel, the first Muslim character that stars in her own comic series, and probably also for her memoir, The Butterfly Mosque, which chronicles Wilson's conversion to Islam. She joins Eisner Award-winning comic Faith Erin Hicks, who's coming in from Vancouver with The Stone Heart, the second installment of The Nameless City trilogy that's drawn comparisons to Avatar: The Last Airbender. The books are set in ancient China and center on two friends who are trying to stay friends, despite the fact that they were born to warring political factions. I'll let you work out all the relevant political themes swirling around this reading. RICH SMITH


Alice Notley
Alice Notley's a legendary second-gen so-called New York School poet who writes poems conversational and yet intensely lyric poems that will last forever, like this one: "All my life, / since I was ten, / I've been waiting / to be in / this hell here / with you; / all I've ever / wanted, and/ still do." She's best known for At Night the States, a meditation on grief following the death of her husband, the great poet Ted Berrigan. No one knows how to talk about that book adequately because after you read it, you feel like you don't have a mouth. RICH SMITH


This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate
Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine) will deliver a talk on the necessity of transforming economics to avoid the devastation that climate change will inflict.


Hugo Literary Series: Anis Mojgani, Kaitlyn Greenidge & Rick Barot
This edition of Lit Series will feature prolific author, National Book Award nominee, and slam poet Anis Mojgani, novelist Kaitlyn Greenidge (whose debut We Love You, Charlie Freeman is about a family who lives with a chimpanzee for a scientific experiment—but is also a powerful, history-driven take on racism), and Tacoma-based poet and former Stegner fellow Rick Barot. In addition to the very promising readings, look forward to music by local electro-pop beauty Maiah Manser.


Julene Tripp Weaver: Truth Be Bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS
Celebrate the release of poet Julene Tripp Weaver's new collection, truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS, and hear poets, writers, and educators (John Burgess, Julie Cabell, Paul Feldman, Paul Getzel, Kayt Hoch, Bruce Maeder, Pat Miglorie, and Tony Radovich) read Weaver's work aloud. Weaver was also the subject of a recent "High Society" column in The Stranger, an interview for which she and writer David Schmader were both stoned.


Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths: Algorithms to Live By
Science writer and poet Brian Christian is the author of The Most Human Human, a book that the New Yorker called "terrific" and "one of the rare successful literary offspring of 'Gödel, Escher, Bach,' where art and science meet an engaged mind and the friction produces real fire." For his latest work, Christian teamed up with cognitive scientist and professor Tom Griffiths to create an interdisciplinary take on how computer algorithms can be useful for very human problems—"from finding a spouse to finding a parking spot." Hear from both authors at this Town Hall talk, and learn about memory, computer logic, and ways to apply these strategies to your own life.


Kat Larson with Negarra Kudumu: The Energy that Flows Through Everything
In December 2016, Jen Graves wrote that local artist Kat Larson "really has something—something physical, spiritual, and political—in her video, video-painting, sculpture, and performative installations. And she doesn’t show that often." Here's a chance to see inside Larson's process and perspective, and to hear her speak with Negarra Kudumu (Frye Museum Manager of Public Programs) about "her investigations into her own ancestry, mythology, and the structure of natural cycles."

Lawrence Krauss: The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far
Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss (author of New York Times bestselling books A Universe from Nothing and The Physics of Star Trek) is known for making science accessible...but not too accessible, as his works still explore the complex theories behind exciting and relatable concepts. His latest work, The Greatest Story Ever Told—So Far, is billed as a "dramatic story of the discovery of the hidden world of reality." This sounds ambiguous because it is—the book addresses the science that lurks behind the world as we know it, from our developing understanding of physics and quantum mechanics to the detailed complexity of the Higgs particle.

Michael Tisserand
Journalist and author Michael Tisserand (who wrote books including The Kingdom of Zydeco and Sugarcane Academy: How a New Orleans Teacher and His Storm-Struck Students Created a School to Remember) will share his new biography, Krazy, a massive book about the life and work of cartoonist George Herriman. Herriman is best known for creating the comic strip Krazy Kat, which ran from 1913 to 1944. Tisserand worked on this book for ten years, and it will explore the life of the artist as well as American pop culture and history.


Hari Kunzru: White Tears
Novelist and journalist Hari Kunzru (whose novels include The Impressionist, Transmission, My Revolutions, and Gods Without Men, and who is also known for participating in a very risky reading of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses at the 2012 Jaipur Literature Festival) will share his new novel, White Tears, which is described as "a ghost story, a terrifying murder mystery, a timely meditation on race, and a love letter to all the forgotten geniuses of American music."

Jaimee Garbacik & Friends
Jaimee Garbacik (editor, artist, and author of Gender & Sexuality for Beginners) will join with special guests to speak about Ghosts of Seattle Past, a collaborative exercise in memory and nostalgia. This event is the first stop of a walking tour held in celebration of the book. In a piece about the developing project, Rich Smith wrote, "Over tea at Ada's Technical Books (which used to be another bookstore, which used to be a vacant building), Garbacik carefully removed from a plastic grocery sack part I of the project: a beautiful, overstuffed, art-object book-thing. The screen-printed, birch-bark cover, illustrated by Horn, features a ghostly clear-cut tree whose rings interweave with topographic contour lines of Seattle, a reminder that our pasts hide in the landscape. It reminds me of a line from 'Our Valley' from former US poet laureate Philip Levine: 'You probably think I'm nuts saying the mountains / have no word for ocean, but if you live here / you begin to believe they know everything.' Garbacik binds the book with two long pieces of thread, which serve two functions: They allow her to drop in artwork and writings as the project grows, and they also allow for a wider variety of artistic expression."


An Evening with Alec Baldwin
Your favorite gravel-voiced leading man, Alec Baldwin, will speak about his new memoir, Nevertheless (his second book, following A Promise to Ourselves: A Journey Through Fatherhood and Divorce).

Jennifer Ackerman: The Genius of Birds
Jennifer Ackerman has written practical and fascinating books about science, including Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body, Ah-Choo! The Uncommon Life of Your Common Cold, and Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity. Her latest work, The Genius of Birds, deals with the grand intelligence of many species of birds—including their emotional and social abilities, like deception, blackmail, eavesdropping, and grief.


Omar El Akkad: American War
Portland-based journalist Omar El Akkad has written about military trials at Guantanamo Bay, the war in Afghanistan, Egypt's Arab Spring, and Black Lives Matter—now, he's making his first foray into fiction with American War, a novel that imagines a second American civil war in which the United States turned "its most devastating policies and deadly weapons upon itself."


Thomas Frank: Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?
Thomas Frank is a best-selling author, journalist, and historian, best known for his 2004 book What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America (about the dramatic political shifts that happened in his home state). His latest work from 2016, Listen, Liberal: Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?, is probably the most precise and thorough work that currently exists explaining the Democratic Party's 2016 defeat (and what led up to it), especially their failure to close or slow the widening wealth gap—which has resulted in decreased numbers of working class Democratic voters.

Word Works: Terrance Hayes
In this Word Works lecture, poet and educator Terrance Hayes—author of collections including How to Be Drawn, Wind in a Box, and the National Book Award-winning Lighthead—will explore recurring themes in the work of poet Lynda Hull (1954-1994) by examining pieces from three of her books: Ghost Money (1986), Star Ledger (1991), and The Only World (1995).


History Cafe
MOHAI, HistoryLink, and the Seattle Public Library present the monthly History Café, where you can hear stories about Seattle's history in a friendly, casual group.

Intrepid Explorers in an Impossible World: The Amazing Drawings of Ethan Murrow
In June 2015, Jen Graves wrote, "So many questions about Boston-based artist Ethan Murrow's drawings at Winston Wächter Fine Art this month. What are those men doing? Who do they work for? Why is there a painting underground? How big is that painting? What is the man inside the painting doing? What does the number 136 (just under the arch, to the right of the light shaft) refer to? Why is this drawing called Columbia River Beehive? Looking at it, I feel like I'm in a parallel universe where all I get to see of how the world works are these ultimately mystifying details." Learn about how Murrow cultivates that poignant mystery (and "his affectionate but skeptical take on society’s faith in rationalism and the scientific method") at this talk, where he'll be joined by panelists including Seattle Times art critic Gary Faigin and Facebook computer vision scientist Dr. Michael Cohen.

Lidia Yuknavitch: The Book of Joan
Lidia Yuknavitch (author of the novels Dora: A Headcase, about a famous study by Sigmund Freud, and The Small Backs of Children, about a very influential war photograph, as well as celebrated memoir The Chronology of Water) will read from her latest novel, The Book of Joan, a reworked story of Joan of Ark that Kirkus Reviews wrote contained "her characteristic fusion of poetic precision and barbed ferocity."


David Callahan: The Givers
David Callahan (author of books about society and politics including The Cheating Culture, The Moral Center, Dangerous Capabilities, and Unwinnable Wars) will present his most recent work, The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age, which deals with the way philanthropy and philanthropists influence our world—and describes the massive amount of power we may not realize that they hold.


Lena Khalaf Tuffaha: Water & Salt
Local poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha will present her debut work, Water & Salt, a poetry collection that will offer an emotional and varied take on people whose lives have been marred by violence. The book "sings in the voices of people ravaged by cycles of war and news coverage."


Elisabeth Rosenthal
Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal worked for more than 20 years as a New York Times correspondent, writing about health, science, and the environment (and political implications for all three), and now she's editor-in-chief of nonprofit Kaiser Health News. At this event she will present her first book, An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back, a terrifying story about our country's perilous health-care system.


Helen Oyeyemi
At 31, Helen Oyeyemi has already written five novels on major presses and two plays. Her latest book is a collection of short stories called What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours, which is full of understated, surreal stories about stories. RICH SMITH

Lesley Stahl
Lesley Stahl is a reporter for CBS's 60 Minutes (among many other endeavors, she conducted that infamous post-election interview with Trump) and she's coming to Seattle to share her highly personal new book, Becoming Grandma: The Joys and Science of the New Grandparenting.


Lush Us
Celebrate the artists behind Gay City Arts' Season 4: Uncontained (featuring shows including Sweet T: The Physical Album, How I Learned To Be a Particular Kind of Lady, Deep Space Lez, and Rising Up: A Queer Social Justice Musical) at this showcase featuring headliner Sonya Renee Taylor, founder of The Body is Not An Apology.


Carl Phillips
One of the hands-down, no-bullshit contemporary masters of lyric poetry. Most of his stuff is very short—less than a page, often only a few stanzas long—and a lot of his love poems are about hot gay sex. If you're into that kinda thing, read “Distraction." According to press materials, "his most recent book, Reconnaissance, was nominated for an NAACP Image Award." Pick that one up, too. RICH SMITH

Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace
There is more to say about women in the workplace than the reductive "Lean In" philosophy that was so popular a few years ago—and this event recognizes the diversity of voices and topics needed in the discussion, including "the ever-widening range of occupations in which women are engaged, and their joy and satisfaction of work well done." Hear stories and musings from Lost Horse Press founding editor Christine Holbert and poet Carolyne Wright, and poems from writers including Kathya Alexander, Laura Da’, Jana Harris, Holly J. Hughes, and Ana Maria Spagna.


Anurag Agrawal: Monarchs and Milkweed
Anurag Agrawal is a professor of ecology, evolutionary biology, and entomology who focuses on the interactions between plants and insects. He's also the author of a new popular science book, Monarchs and Milkweed: A Migrating Butterfly, a Poisonous Plant, and Their Remarkable Story of Coevolution, a take on a complicated natural relationship that also includes more than 80 color photos and images.


Women You Need to Know: Emily Nussbaum
With her omnivorous cultural taste, expansive intellect, and wry humor, the New Yorker's Pulitzer Prize-winning television critic guided us and continues to guide us through American television's golden age. She was way ahead of the game re: academic takes on Buffy. She helped everyone figure out why they liked Mad Men so much. And, in general, she elevated TV crit at least to the vaunted heights of film crit. Get to know her a little better at SAL's Women You Need to Know series, hosted this time at Town Hall. RICH SMITH


Word Works: Karen Russell
No less an authority than Sherman Alexie says he loves Karen Russell’s writing (Swamplandia!) because of her “complete love of weird-ass people, and her absence of judgment for those weird-ass people.” He continues: “She doesn't look past the eccentricities. She doesn't say, ‘Underneath all that is a person just like the rest of us.’ No, no! They're weird all the way through, and it's beautiful.” Her attention to concrete detail is the literary device that makes those characters so special. That same kind of attention is key when building "believable" fictional worlds, too, which just so happens to be the subject this lecture for Hugo House's Word Works series. An onstage Q&A with Seattle-based writer Diana Xin will follow the talk. RICH SMITH


Six Pack Series
The folks over at Washington Ensemble Theater organize this quarterly-ish variety show around a theme. A brief list of previous themes will give you an idea of how funny and moving and politically engaged these performances tend to be. "Too Drunk to Fuck," was an early one. Another was, "Too Feminist To Come Up With a Name That Respects All Intersectional Minorities While Still Remaining Irreverent and Funny." Beers and booze available at the bar. RICH SMITH

MAY 10

Jeff VanderMeer: Borne
New York Times best-selling and Nebula Award-winning author Jeff VanderMeer is known for his imaginative science fiction that's full of dark and mysterious worlds. His latest work, Borne, is about a little green lump (origin and nature unknown) that learns to speak and deeply affects his human caretaker.

MAY 11

Sherman Alexie Loves: First Loves: Park, Schrag & Yapa
SAL's new "Sherman Alexie Loves" series works not only because the acronyms align, but because it's fascinating to see a literary titan like Alexie geek out about stuff. Instead of standing in the spotlight, which is where we all want him to be, he assumes the role of spotlight, employing his intellect and enthusiasm to illuminate artists you may have never heard of, but also artists you absolutely have heard of (e.g. Bryan Cranston.) This particular lovefest features novelist Patricia Park (Re Jane), graphic artist Ariel Schrag (ADAM), and fiction writer Sunil Yapa, whose debut novel, Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist, renders the WTO protests from the perspective of six characters. RICH SMITH

MAY 11-13

Upstream Music Festival and Summit
Upstream is a three-day music festival and summit set to take place in more than 25 venues around Pioneer Square. It's Paul Allen’s attempt to mold a PNW-focused South by Southwest type large-scale festival, with music, art, tech, and film programming involving many local emerging talents, more than 200 artists, and keynote speakers Macklemore, Quincy Jones, and Portia Sabin. Curated by longtime hiphop booker and former talent-buyer at the Crocodile Meli Darby, the vast majority of bands are Seattle-and-NW centric.

MAY 12

Claire Dederer
Claire Dederer is a Hugo House instructor and author of the New York Times best-selling memoir Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses. This new book, Love and Trouble: A Mid-Life Reckoning, is about her experience being a married mother "suffering through a kind of erotic reawakening," compared with the sexual endeavors of her teenage years.

MAY 16

James Forman Jr.: Locking Up Our Own
Lawyer, Yale law professor, and former public defender James Forman Jr. (son of civil rights leader and author James Forman) writes about topics including mass incarceration and race, and will visit Town Hall to share his first book, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.

MAY 19

Kate Moore with Anne McTiernan: The Radium Girls
You can't just pick up Marie Curie's papers from the 1890s. They must be handled carefully, by people wearing protective clothing, and they're stored in lead-lined boxes because of their radioactivity. But in the early 1900s, people didn't realize how dangerous radium is, and workers in the radium-dial factories would cover their hair and faces in luminous, radioactive paint just for fun. This is the story of the "Radium Girls," factory workers who were known at first for their glamorous (and relatively high-paying) jobs, and later for the terrible infections and ailments that they suffered. Kate Moore (the director of the play These Shining Lives) is the author of a book about their lives, titled The Radium Girls: They Paid with Their Lives. Their Final Fight Was for Justice. She will discuss this new work with UW epidemiology research professor Anne McTiernan.

MAY 31

Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor: From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation
Taylor, assistant professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, wanted to know why Black Lives Matter was becoming popular now, “when we’re living through the biggest concentration of black political power in American history,” she told Ansel Herz in an in an interview last year. She wrote her book, #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, to explore that question, and also to write about the possibility of the movement widening its scope. Can a nonhierarchical organization focused on police brutality and mass incarceration create social change on a larger scale? This talk is your chance to ask her. RICH SMITH


Dave Boling: The Lost History of Stars
Tacoma News Tribune sports columnist and novelist Dave Boling (author of historical fiction books Guernica and The Undesirables) will stop by Elliott Bay to share his latest work, The Lost History of Stars, which offers one family's perspective on South Africa's Boer War—also known as the Second Boer War—that pitted the Boers against the British. Garth Stein (A Sudden Light and The Art of Racing in the Rain) writes that Boling's "brilliant novel is a meditation on the resiliency of the soul and the spirit, and will long be remembered.”

David Shields
There's enough going on in Seattle's literary scene that not having heard of a specific writer isn't necessarily a flaw or fault. But if you don't know about David Shields, you've got your head in the sand. He's UW's Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, and more importantly, a prolific author who has had his hand in a massive number of high-profile projects. He's been working steadily for decades, but just since 2015, he published an intellectual "quarrel" with Caleb Powell titled I Think You're Totally Wrong (which he followed up with a film adaptation directed by James Franco), edited an anthology on concision titled Life Is Short – Art Is Shorter: In Praise of Brevity, co-wrote a "sexual autobiography" of actress and voiceover artist Samantha Matthews, created something like an art book (a compilation of reviews of New York Times war photographs), and has just released a new book about language, reading, perception, and culture: Other People: Takes & Mistakes, a collection of essays divided into the categories "Men," "Women," "Athletes," "Performers," and "Alter Egos." Hear from Shields about this new work, which is certainly full of artistic, philosophical musings and illuminating stories.


Silent Reading Party
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. (sAnd, 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. Lately the resident musician is pianist Paul Matthew Moore. He's amazing.


Seattle StorySLAM
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.


Loud Mouth Lit
This series of "fresh, local, and organic" author readings, which thrives on face-to-face interaction, is curated by playwright and fiction Paul Mullin. At the February edition, Mullin will read "The Demise of the Lost Flyer Art Show," about a woman who kidnaps a conceptual artist who creates illustrations out of lost person and pet posters, and guest author Tina Rowley will read "Green," in which a woman "trades the loneliness of semi-solo travel for ambivalence about her dicey new boyfriend and never stops longing for home."

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