Zubair Ahmed, Jac Jemc, and Mark “Mom” Finley.

Seattle's literary community is still hungover from the relentless party schedule of the AWP conference that hit town at the beginning of this month. But it's finally time to re-crunken yourself and get back out on the readings circuit—spring is here, wanton lust is in the air, and the APRIL Festival is back in town.

Sign up to ride the 7 Hills of Kirkland this May!
The month long cycling event takes place this May, with ride challenges, prizes from Zoka Coffee and Primal Wear, and funds raised benefiting Attain Housing.

Now in its third year, APRIL—for you virgins, that stands for Authors, Publishers, and Readers of Independent Literature—is a Stranger Genius finalist organization that frees literature from the constraints of mainstream corporate publishing and gives it back to the people with multidisciplinary events in nontraditional venues. Organizers have started putting on more events year-round, including a book club and a bicycle tour of independent booksellers, but the festival is still the centerpiece. In order to help you plan your APRIL, here's a list of all its events, in descending order of awesomeness:

1. APRIL Launch Party

You can't argue with the quality of this lineup. Two of the very best poets in Seattle—Maged Zaher and Ed Skoog—will be joined by APRIL writer-in-residence Jac Jemc and science-poetry-performance artists the Vis-à-Vis Society to kick off the whole festival, with music from jittery local punk rockers Wimps. There will undoubtedly be some surprises, too: Last year's party featured Sarah Galvin reading fortunes, an insane drag performance, and a benediction from Rebecca Brown that served as a rallying call for Seattle as it entered its most exciting literary year yet. This could be the beginning of something huge. (Mon March 24, Chop Suey, 8 pm, free)

2. Independent Publishing Expo

More than 30 small presses from all over the country sell their books in a giant marketplace, with bonus readings and maybe a food truck. It's a pop-up bookstore that doesn't sell the kind of books you can buy at a Barnes & Noble; instead, each book has the kind of handcrafted intensity and personalized beauty that you used to be able to find only in handwritten letters. (Sat March 29, Hugo House, 11 am–5 pm, free)

3. The APRIL Pizza Party

Last year, APRIL concluded a reading with a table groaning with bucketfuls of Ezell's fried chicken. It worked surprisingly well—an audience leaving a reading is always looking for something else to do, and there's no better way to help a brain digest the protein of a strong literary event than by stuffing its belly full of comfort food. This year, APRIL is pairing pizza and beer with readings from poets Mark Leidner (more about him later) and Donald Dunbar, along with local cartoonist Eroyn Franklin. Dunbar is a Portland poet whose chapbooks are burning the poetry community down. Franklin is continually innovating in the field of comics. It's a young and hungry lineup, so it only makes sense that the reading is followed by food. (Fri March 28, Hugo House, 7 pm, $10 advance)

4. A Poet, a Playwright, a Novelist, and a Drag Queen

Arguably APRIL's most popular event, this game show competition is exactly what the name promises: a poet (the hilarious Sarah Galvin), a playwright (Spike Friedman, who also writes smart sports pieces for Grantland and The Stranger), a novelist (the ambitious Ryan Boudinot), and a drag queen (Mark "Mom" Finley, who has often been described as "controversial" on the internet) do battle for fabulous prizes. As their whole shticks have to do with performance, the drag queens often have the edge in these shows—Cherdonna kicked ass last year—but never discount the entertainingness of Galvin. If I had to lay money on a favorite to win, I'd bet on her. (Tues March 25, Sorrento Hotel Fireside Room, 8 pm, $10 advance)

5. The All Made Up Fiction Showcase

Chicago novelist Jac Jemc is APRIL's very first writer-in-residence, so you'll be seeing her at multiple events this week. Her novel My Only Wife is about a locked apartment, a missing wife, and a husband who can't be bothered to investigate her disappearance. Jemc is joined by Stranger Genius of literature Matt Briggs and up-and-coming short-story author Richard Chiem. The readings will be paired with a performance and installation from the Satori Group. (Thurs March 27, 8 pm, LAB@Inscape, $7 advance/$10 at the door)

6. Vignettes + APRIL

One of the best aspects of APRIL is that literature bounces up against other disciplines, creating new and vibrant artwork that never would have otherwise existed. Tonight, a bunch of local visual artists make new work in response to Mark Leidner's excellent poetry collection Beauty Was the Case That They Gave Me, with a reading by the author at 8:30 p.m. Events at Vignettes are always sweaty, packed affairs, which is perfect, considering Leidner writes sweaty, dense poetry. (Wed March 26, Vignettes, 7 pm, free)

7. APRIL Happy Hour

This series of happy hour readings is a great way to start a night of literary events. They're low-key affairs featuring two authors reading in a booze-friendly venue, a kind of APRIL Unplugged. As I mentioned in my Suggest for this outing (see stranger suggests.com), Shin Yu Pai and Zubair Ahmed are what the future of poetry in Seattle looks like, making this the most essential of all the APRIL happy hours. (Wed March 26, Blindfold Gallery, 6 pm, free)

8. APRIL Happy Hour

Kate Lebo writes poetry about pies. She often will perform as a pie-poetry jukebox, in which someone from the audience names a pie and she reads a poem about that pie. I've never seen her stumped by a pie suggestion. Jane Wong writes fragile, beautiful poetry that slips in like a secret and then chews your heart out. (Tues March 25, Quarter Lounge, 6 pm, free)

9. APRIL Happy Hour

Tonight's readers are nonfiction prose stylist Darren Davis and Lauren Ireland, who writes poetry about living in New York ("Don't/touch me. Yes I am very tired.") and other awful things ("You know,/You are never alone—I don't mean that/in a kindly way."). (Thurs March 27, Bush Garden, 6 pm, free)

Support The Stranger

10. APRIL Closing Party

It's not so much that this is the least-awesome event in the festival—on the contrary, with music from DJ Res and the promise of "surprise readings," it sounds like a lot of fun. It's just that it sucks that APRIL is over for another year. (Sat March 29, Vermillion, 8 pm, free) recommended