Gary Shteyngart will give two lectures at UW in May. Brigitte Lacombe

Find a complete list of readings & talks in Seattle this spring on our Things To Do calendar, or check out the rest of our critics' picks from Seattle Art and Performance.

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March 20

Mark Sarvas with Charles Johnson: Memento Park

In Mark Sarvas's novel, a man learns of a painting that may have been stolen from his Jewish relatives in WWII-era Hungary. He will be accompanied at this talk by eminent local author and professor emeritus Charles Johnson.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free

A Reading with Honor Moore

Discover the multigenre work of Honor Moore, who writes poetry, fiction, and memoir (including her most recent book, The Bishop's Daughter, which was favored with Editor's Choice by the New York Times).
Hotel Sorrento, 7 pm, free


March 21

Capturing Bertha & the Biggest Tunnel in the World through Photography

Catherine Bassetti documented the State Route 99 tunnel, known as Bertha, through photo and video. She'll present some of her images at this talk.
MOHAI, 6:30 pm, free

Chelsey Johnson: Stray City

A young woman who's fled the Midwest for Portland's lesbian community finds herself pregnant.
Third Place Books Seward Park, 7 pm, free

Niti Sampat Patel: Moon Goddess

Mumbai-based scholar Niti Sampat Patel will share an excerpt of Moon Goddess, a multigenerational tale of women in India, the US, and Lebanon.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free


March 22

Bruce Holbert in Conversation with Richard Chiem

Bruce Holbert, a University of Iowa Writers Workshop alum, will read from a ferocious novel set in Electric City, south of the Colville Indian reservation in Washington. Whiskey grapples with toxic families, religious lunacy, and alcoholism, but reportedly preserves a mordant sense of humor.
Elliott Bay Book Company, free

Junot Díaz: Islandborn

The often darkly funny and profane author Junot Díaz has produced a much kinder, gentler story for kids. It's about a little girl, Lola, who is upset when she can't remember the place where her family immigrated from.
Third Place Books Lake Forest Park, 7 pm, free


March 23

Hugo Literary Series: Joshua Ferris, Melissa Febos, E.J. Koh, and Tomo Nakayama

Critically acclaimed novelist Joshua Ferris (Then We Came To The End) will read along with Melissa Febos (author of the lauded memoir Abandon Me), and local poet E.J. Koh (who's book A Lesser Love won a Pleiades Press Editors Prize in 2017). Local singer/songwriter Tomo Nakayama will serve as the evening's musical guest. His new record, Pieces of Sky, is great. RS
Fred Wildlife Refuge, 7:30 pm, $25

Jennifer Natalya Fink and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

Queer local writer Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore will read alongside Jennifer Natalya Fink, whose novel Bhopal Dance won the 2017 Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free

Tess Gallagher and Lawrence Matsuda

Port Angeles writer Tess Gallagher's 12th volume of poetry, Is, Is Not, will be published by Graywolf Press in America in 2019, but you can hear her now at this reading of her graceful, often narrative poetry. Lawrence Mitsuda, a poet and graphic novelist born in the Minidoka concentration camp and preoccupied with Japanese American memory, has collaborated with Gallagher as well as with the artist Roger Shimamura.
Open Books, 7 pm, free


March 25

King-Snohomish County Regional Spelling Bee

There's nothing cuter than young dorks. This year's competition will be moderated by Seattle Radio Theatre founder and KIRO host Feliks Banel, but the stars, as ever, will be the kids. The final speller standing will advance to the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, DC. KATIE HERZOG
Campion Ballroom, 1 pm, free

Kory Stamper: The Secret Life of Dictionaries

For decades, there has been a war going on between dictionaries. Descriptivists are the cool liberals who think dictionaries should function as a record of language and its inevitable changes. Prescriptivists are the grammar scolds who think words mean something, damn it, and fight to preserve their sense. In Word By Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries, lexicographer Kory Stamper mixes in some of this history with her own as she weighs in on the many word-skirmishes playing out in newsrooms, English classes, and even grocery stores. ("10 items or less?" Are you fucking kidding me?) RS
Campion Ballroom, 6 pm, $5


March 26

Himanee Gupta-Carlson: Muncie: India(na)

"What do nonwhites, non-Christians, and/or non-natives mean when they call themselves American?" Himanee Gupta-Carlson examines this question in her book, Muncie: India(na): Middletown and Asian Americans.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free


March 27

March SFWA Reading Series: Nancy Kress, Cat Rambo & Nicola Griffith

Take this opportunity to meet three heavy-hitting Northwest women sci-fi writers: Hugo and Nebula Award winner Nancy Kress, Clarion West alum and Jeff VanderMeer collaborator Cat Rambo, and the Washington State Book, Lambda, Tiptree, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winner Nicola Griffith.
Wilde Rover Irish Pub, Kirkland, free

Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno: There Are No Dead Here

Maria McFarland Sánchez-Moreno will read from There Are No Dead Here: A Story of Murder and Denial in Colombia, a harrowing look at paramilitary massacres in the drug-funded guerrilla wars of Colombia in the 1990s.
Phinney Neighborhood Association, 7:30 pm, $5


March 28

Luis Alberto Urrea: The House of Broken Angels

Pulitzer finalist Luis Alberto Urrea's The House of Broken Angels, which takes inspiration from his own life, relates the tale of a dying patriarch, his journey as a young man from La Paz to San Diego, the grudges and loves of his extended family, and his 100-year-old mother's funeral.
Central Library, 7 pm, free


March 29

Ryan Holiday: Conspiracy

Find out just how the late, lamented Gawker fell in Ryan Holiday's account of the secret vengeance wrought by the billionaire Peter Thiel after Gawker blog Valleywag outed him as gay.
Third Place Books Ravenna, 7 pm, free

Word Works: Charles Johnson

Acclaimed Seattle writer Charles Johnson is the author of books including Middle Passage, the winner of a National Book Award and a MacArthur "genius" grant, and the subject of this praise from James McBride: "He is one of America's greatest literary treasures. He is a skilled wordsmith, superb craftsman, master of understatement, philosopher, cartoonist, and deeply talented novelist."
Frye Art Museum, 7 pm, $15


March 30

Laura Lippman and David Simon

Lippman is an award-winning author of detective novels, and David Simon, her husband, created The Wire, which sustained the golden age of American television, and also Treme, which helped. RS
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $20–$80


March 30 & April 1

Thi Bui: The Best We Could Do

In her debut graphic-novel memoir, Thi Bui, on the verge of first-time parenthood, traces her feelings of both fear and love back to her family, who were refugees after the Vietnam War and came to the United States in a boat. AMBER CORTES
WithinSodo, 7 pm, $15 (March 30); Nue, 3–6 pm, free (April 1)


March 31

Dan Kaplan, Bill Carty, and Kary Wayson

Portland's Dan Kaplan, who edits the Burnside Review, will read tasty, witty poems from his latest collection, Instant Killer Wig. Also featured on this night will be Bill Carty, a Maine native living in Seattle who edits Poetry Northwest, and Seattle poet Kary Wayson.
Open Books, 7 pm, free


April 3

Michael Gazzaniga: The Consciousness Instinct

If you're turned on by the million mysteries of the galaxy floating around inside your head, you need to familiarize yourself with the work of Michael S. Gazzaniga, the director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the president of the Cognitive Neuroscience Institute. In his new book, The Consciousness Instinct, Gazzaniga advocates for an interdisciplinary approach to the study of consciousness, a subject that has suffered from over-specialization. His thinking about what biologists, philosophers, and physicists can contribute to the field of brain science is fascinating. This one is a must-read. RS
PATH Auditorium, 7:30 pm


April 5

Michael Wolff: Fire and Fury

Yes, that Michael Wolff, the one who wrote the explosive (and yet, hardly surprising) insider view of the Trump White House, Fire and Fury.
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $70–$110


April 6

Amy Glynn and Garrett Hongo

Amy Glynn, who's been published in The Best American Poetry and won Poetry Northwest's Carlyn Kizer Award, will share this evening with Hawaii-born, Lamont Poetry Prize-winning author Garrett Hongo.
Open Books, 7 pm, free

Fernando Pérez: 'A Song of Dis-mantling' Book Launch with Bojan Louise, Naa Akua, and Jane Wong

Fernando Pérez, a specialist in "lyric and nonce forms," will share poems about identity and migratory family history.
Hugo House First Hill, 7:30 pm, free


April 7

An Evening with Sarah Vowell and Michael Giacchino

Hilarious essayist Sarah Vowell (The Wordy Shipmates) and film composer Michael Giacchino (who scored Rogue One) will most likely have a blast conversing about "The Old and the Dead."
Benaroya Hall, 8 pm, $25–$45


April 8

An Evening with Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott's friendly, nonjudgmental, and vague brand of Christianity irritates many critics even as they praise her linguistic facility and approachability. But she wrote Bird by Bird, an indisputably great book, and she is funny as hell on stage. CF
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $27–$55


April 9

Cecile Richards: Make Trouble

Cecile Richards presided over Planned Parenthood through years of attacks by right-wing nuts in and out of Congress. The former executive director will present her newest book.
University Temple United Methodist Church, 7 pm, $27

Meg Wolitzer: The Female Persuasion

Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings, Belzhar) deals with mentorship, idealism, hero worship, and love in her latest novel.
Elliott Bay Book Company, free

Megan Ming Francis

A popular centrist sentiment goes like this: "Yeah, yeah, protests are great and all. But they don't actually change anything." Well, University of Washington professor Megan Ming Francis is here with a three-part lecture series that suggests otherwise. Her book Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State brilliantly surveys the trajectory of the NAACP's anti-lynching movement. RS
Kane Hall, Room 120, 7:30 pm, free

Michael Bennett: Things That Make White People Uncomfortable

In addition to being a Super Bowl champ, a three-time Pro Bowler, and one of the best defensive ends in the country, Michael Bennett is a powerful voice in the Black Lives Matter movement, and also a fucking hilarious person. (Remember that time he stole a police bike and rode it around CenturyLink stadium to celebrate winning the 2015 NFC championship?) In his new memoir Things that Make White People Uncomfortable, co-written by Dave Zirin, Bennett recounts the path that led him to where he is now and articulates his thoughts about racial dynamics in the country. RS
Connolly Center, 7:30 pm, $5


April 10

Jonathan Evison: Lawn Boy

Jonathan Evison's previous novels include All About Lulu, West of Here, The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving, and This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, all of which have earned plaudits from the Stranger's book critics (and from the New York Times and other such papers that creep about in our shadow). His latest book is about a Chicano landscape worker in Washington State who's desperately striving for a break in life.
University Book Store, 7 pm, free

Leslie Jamison with Claire Dederer: The Recovering

A young, talented nonfiction writer best known for her book The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison has just published a new book called The Recovering, which "turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself," according to publicity materials. CF
Central Library, free


April 11

Samantha Irby with Lindy West: Meaty

"Samantha Irby is my favorite living writer," Lindy West says. "Actually, I'll throw in the dead ones too. Screw you, Herman Melville." West will lead a discussion with Irby on the occasion of Irby's second book, Meaty.
University Temple United Methodist Church, 7:30 pm, $5

Sean Penn: Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff

The two-time Oscar winner for Best Actor will now tell a story through another medium in his novel Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff, about a middle-aged jack-of-all-trades and contract killer.
Moore Theatre, 7 pm, $34


April 12

Charles Simic: 54th Annual Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Reading

Charles Simic is such a legend I didn't even know he was alive. I just thought you automatically transubstantiated into a poetry Jesus after you win the Pulitzer, the Griffin, the MacArthur, and serve as Poet Laureate of the United States. But here is! The approachably surreal bard of Belgrade, the survivor of several WWII-era bombing campaigns who still maintained his sense of humor, the last Napoleon soldier, the great translator of Toma Šalamun (!) and Vasko Popa (!)—right here in Seattle! RS
Kane Hall, Room 120, 7 pm, free

Laverne Cox

Since shining so brightly as Sophia Burset in Orange Is the New Black, Laverne Cox has been using her humor, her warmth, and her intelligence to pave and widen the path for other trans artists to follow. Her lecture, "Ain't I a Woman," which borrows its title from Sojourner Truth's classic speech, very much serves that end. RS
Moore Theatre, 7:30 pm

Weike Wang: Chemistry

Weike Wang's novel was selected for the National Book Academy's 5 Under 35 Award. It's a deeply relatable story about a young woman who suddenly realizes that she's lost the love of chemistry that's driven her research as a Boston University graduate student.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free


April 13–15

Orcas Island Lit Festival 2018

This festival sounds like a boon to anyone who loves both literature and gorgeous island landscapes.
Orcas Center, Eastbound, $65


April 14

Nick Zentner: Ballard Locks Talk

Central Washington University professor Nick Zentner has been recognized by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers for his ability to present geology concepts in a compelling way. At this talk, you'll discover Puget Sound's Ice Age history and the challenges the region poses to its human population.
Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, 3:30 pm, donation

Word Works: Ada Limón

At this Hugo House-organized lecture, called "Grief and Release: Poetry as Elegy," poetry titan Ada Limón will ask why the form of the poem is so suited to "the exploration of vanishing."
Frye Art Museum, 7 pm, $15


April 15

Lindy West: The Witches Are Coming

The author, Stranger alum, and New York Times columnist Lindy West is giving a humorous slideshow called "The Witches Are Coming." I hope it has something to do with her October 2017 column "Yes, This Is a Witch Hunt. I'm a Witch and I'm Hunting You." CF
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $19–$75


April 16

Dr. John Cooper Clarke

If you're a devotee of the accent that emerges from the Northern English city of Manchester, you're probably aware that the dialect exists in its purest and most glorious form in the mouth of Clarke, whose hilarious and cutting poetry was part of the original UK punk and post-punk landscape that forged all your favorite bands. The 69-year-old honorary doctor doesn't make it to America very often, and who knows whether there will even be a future, so if you make room for just one event in this whole calendar, make it this one. SN
Triple Door, 7:30 pm, $22–$30


April 17

Claire Dederer: Love and Trouble

It's hard to express what's so good about Claire Dederer's new memoir about sex, power, female friendship, and the consolations of literature. What emerges, in the course of this vivid, hilarious, daring self-portrait of a book, is a person who has achieved clarity about her own contradictions, or at least has figured out how to use those contradictions as an excuse to bring lively writing into the world. RS
University Book Store, 7 pm

Dennis Overbye: Confessions of a Dinosaur

Dennis Overbye holds the amazing title of cosmic affairs correspondent for the New York Times. In this talk, the Pulitzer winner will speak on his area of expertise, science reporting, as well as the fight against fake news.
Kane Hall, Room 120, 7:30 pm, free


April 19

Dock Street Salon: Anca L. Szilágyi and Ross McMeekin

Two of the authors we were most excited about in the winter will read from their recent debut novels: Szilágyi with the magical realist Daughters of the Air, about a Jewish survivor of Argentina's Dirty War, and Ross McMeekin with The Hummingbirds, in which an escapee from a bird-worshipping cult takes up with a beautiful, married aspiring actress in Los Angeles.
Phinney Books, 7 pm, free


April 20

Sloane Crosley: Look Alive Out There

Sloane Crosley has written another shrewd book about quotidian yet bizarre encounters in her home of Manhattan, with characters like "a feral teenage neighbor" and "the British grifter who is holding her digital identity hostage."
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free


April 22

Laurie Anderson

Avant-garde musician, filmmaker, and poet wizard Laurie Anderson will perform a reading with music and multimedia from her latest book, Things I Lost in the Flood.
Neptune Theatre, 7 pm, sold out

Poetry y traducción: A Bilingual Reading

Bilingual poets Eugenia Toledo (who fled the Chilean dictatorship in the 1970s) and Francisco Aragón (a San Francisco-born activist and CantoMundo fellow) will give a joint poetry reading followed by a discussion on Spanish translation.
Open Books, 5 pm, free


April 23

Alexander Chee: How To Write an Autobiographical Novel

After two gorgeous, groundbreaking, award-winning novels—Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night—the novelist Alexander Chee has just published his first book of nonfiction, a collection of his gorgeous, groundbreaking essays. It is not, in fact, a how-to manual on writing autobiographical novels. "In these essays," according to the publisher, "he grows from student to teacher, reader to writer, and reckons with his identities as a son, a gay man, a Korean American, an artist, an activist, a lover, and a friend." CF
Hugo House First Hill, 7 pm, free

Annelise Orleck with Heidi Groover: The Global Uprising Against Poverty Wages

Around the world, farmers and garment workers and hotel staff and fast-food employees and laborers in all kinds of industries have been trying to build coalitions in an effort to secure basic rights for their fellow workers. In We Are All Fast-Food Workers Now, Dartmouth professor of history Annelise Orleck tells the stories of these victories and defeats. The Stranger's own housing and labor reporter, Heidi Groover, will join professor Orleck onstage. RS
Summit on Pike, 7 pm, free


April 24

Madeleine Albright

Former Secretary of State and UN ambassador Madeleine Albright will reveal insights from her timely book entitled Fascism: A Warning.
Paramount Theatre, 7:30 pm, $10–$100


April 25

Sonia Renee Taylor with Anastacia-Reneé

Sonia Renee Taylor's The Body Is Not An Apology is an online community promoting "body empowerment" and helping folks destroy feelings of shame. Taylor will be joined by the unbelievably prolific Seattle Civic Poet Anastasia Reneé.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free


April 26–29

MoPOP Pop Conference 2018

The theme of this year's Pop Con is "What Difference Does It Make? Gender & Music," so naturally all conference components will focus on the dovetailing of music and gender in creative, personal, and public realms. Discussions generally touch on everything from identity politics to boundary-breaking music in the modern era. KIM SELLING
Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP), $28


April 27

Four Way Books Showcase

Nathan McClain will launch his debut poetry collection Scale, an incisive, emotional, unpretentious examination of a father-son relationship. He'll be supported by fellow authors Bruce Willard, Carol Moldaw, and Margaree Little.
Hugo House First Hill, 7 pm, free

Of an Impossible Country: An Evening with Rachel McKibbens, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, and Javier Zamora

SAL teams up with Copper Canyon Press to present three poets "whose work challenges and illuminates the notion of border-crossing," press materials say. McKibbens has a new book out called Blud, Sáenz's novels and poetry are all about life on the US's southwestern border, and Zamora is a young American poet born in El Salvador. RS
McCaw Hall, 7:30 pm, $20–$80


April 28

Independent Bookstore Day

The only way Seattle can possibly keep enjoying a wide variety of excellent, engaged, helpful, independent bookstores is to support them, love them, and buy as many books as we possibly can from them. Independent Bookstore Day gives you a perfect excuse to visit your favorite shops.
Various locations, free


April 29

Pete Souza: Obama

Pete Souza was Barack Obama's official White House photographer. This is the guy who took the photo of Obama's cabinet watching Osama bin Laden's lead-filled demise—the one with Hillary Clinton's hand clamped over her mouth. How can you miss this? CF
Moore Theatre, 7 pm, $57.50


April 30

National Geographic + Pop-Up Magazine

This "live magazine" will present journalism—photos, stories, audio elements, film, and more—on the stage, with a live score by Magik*Magik Orchestra.
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $30–$55


May 1

Anis Mojgani, Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz & Derrick C. Brown

Prolific author and slammer Anis Mojgani, poet and nonfiction author Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz (Dr. Mutter's Marvels), and comic performer Derrick C. Brown will read their dark poems from Write Bloody Press.
Fred Wildlife Refuge, 7 pm, free


May 2

Barbara Ehrenreich: Natural Causes

The author of the brilliant Nickel and Dimed and Living with a Wild God returns with an inquiry into the deeper physical and moral ramifications of trying to strive for well-being against the backdrop of capitalism, mortality, and the health industry. SN
First Baptist Church, 7 pm, free


May 3

Asad Haider: Mistaken Identity

Red May will sponsor this talk that seeks to circumvent "one of the primary impasses of the left," identity politics.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free


May 5

Nikhil Singh: Race and America's Long War

In this Red May-sponsored presentation, Nikhil Pal Singh will address the United States' "imperial statecraft," which has isolated internal and external "enemies" to justify war and persecution. Singh, an associate professor of social and cultural analysis and history, will articulate arguments from his book Race and America's Long War that tie this American tendency to the election of Donald Trump, rendering it more understandable if not less shocking.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free

Rob Lowe: Stories I Only Tell My Friends LIVE!

The eternally handsome and engaging actor brings the live version of his first memoir to the stage.
Moore Theatre, 8 pm, $37–$57+


May 7

Laura Ling: Life Inside a Korean Prison

While working on a story about sex trafficking in North Korea, American journalist Laura Ling and her colleague Eun Lee were captured by soldiers along the China/North Korea border. Sentenced to 12 years of labor in prison, Ling survived months of captivity before returning home in 2009. Hear her discuss her story and insights.
McCaw Hall, 7:30 pm, $67/$77

Viet Thanh Nguyen

He wrote The Sympathizer, which won last year's Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Nguyen strongly believes we need to hear the story of the American invasion of Vietnam from more Vietnamese people's perspectives, and his work is certainly making headway in that direction. His latest is a book of short stories, The Refugees, about the lives of immigrants coming to America following the war. RS
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $20–$80


May 7 & 9

2018 Stroum Lectures with Gary Shteyngart

If you enjoy clever page-turners and you have never read Shteyngart's first novel, The Russian Debutante's Handbook, an unbelievably funny specimen of the immigrant novel, get yourself to a bookstore ASAP. He has since published several other hilarious, globe-spanning novels and one hilarious, globe-spanning memoir, Little Failure. He was born in Russia and lived there as a young child, so he ought to have fascinating things to say about our new overlords, and about the role satire plays in authoritarian societies. He'll give two talks: "Failure is an Option: Immigration, Memory, and the Russian Jewish Experience" on May 7, and "I Alone Can Fix It: Tales from the New Dystopia" on May 9. CF
Kane Hall, Room 120, 7 pm, free


May 8

Salon of Shame

Writing that makes you cringe ("middle school diaries, high school poetry, unsent letters") is read aloud with unapologetic hilarity.
Various locations, $16

Six Pack Series

Six Pack is my favorite reading series in town. Every time I go, I discover at least one incredible local writer/performer who I've never seen before. RS
12th Avenue Arts


May 10

Sheila Heti: Motherhood

The last time the novelist (author of How Should a Person Be?) Sheila Heti was in Seattle, she read a brand new short story commissioned by Hugo House on the theme of "death after life." Someone in the audience encouraged her to send it to the New Yorker, which she did, and shortly thereafter it appeared in the magazine. She returns to Seattle with her best book yet. Like everything she writes, it's hard to distill into a sentence or two, but the basic question Motherhood tries to answer is: Can a woman make books instead of making children? Can art be her legacy, instead of human beings? CF
Elliott Bay Book Company


May 11

Hugo Literary Series: Lidia Yuknavitch, Tarfia Faizullah, Ijeoma Oluo

Lidia Yuknavitch, author of The Misfit's Manifesto, will be joined by Bangladeshi American poet Tarfia Faizullah and Establishment editor Ijeoma Oluo to present new work on the theme "There Goes the Neighborhood."
Fred Wildlife Refuge, 7:30 pm, $25


May 13–15

National Geographic Live — A Rare Look: North Korea to Cuba

David Guttenfelder is an AP photographer who, along with his colleagues, helped show the world what North Korea actually looked like for the first time in 2011. According to press materials, Guttenfelder "broke through another wall when he boarded the first cruise ship in decades to travel from the United States to Cuba, and returned to the island to cover Fidel Castro's four-day funeral procession." RS
Benaroya Hall, $28–$48


May 15

Ariel Levy
New Yorker staff writer Ariel Levy has covered subjects such as South African runner Caster Semenya, artist Catherine Opie, swimmer Diana Nyad, and Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that brought down the Defense of Marriage Act. Hear her discuss her recently released memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply.
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $35–$80

Claudia Rankine

It's hard to overstate the impact of Claudia Rankine's work on American poetry over the course of the last seven years or so. In 2011, she confronted fellow poet Tony Hoagland for writing a poem that contained racist sentiments, claiming that it was "for white people." Their exchange reinvigorated—or at least brought national attention to—a conversation about race, poetry, and the lack of diversity in the literary world. Citizen: An American Lyric, a collage of images and poems about microaggressions and the limitations of language and the experiences of POCs living in a white supremacist culture, was published in 2014 and won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. She writes: "Because white men can't police their imagination, black men are dying." RS
Kane Hall Room 130, 7:30 pm, free

David Shields and Rikki Ducornet

Argumentative intellectual David Shields will appear with painter and writer Rikki Ducornet, who's received boatloads of international awards.
University Book Store, 7 pm, free

Rachel Kushner: Mars Room

In a 2013 article published in the Stranger, Molly Morrow called Rachel Kushner's novel Flamethrowers "almost impossibly good." Kushner's new novel, Mars Room, zeroes in on a convict at Stanville Women's Correctional Facility.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free


May 16

Nicola Griffith: So Lucky

English author Nicola Griffith (whose fantasy novel Hild netted her international awards) will introduce her book So Lucky, a story of a big-shot executive who finds out she has multiple sclerosis.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free


May 17

Rahna Reiko Rizzuto: Shadow Child

Rizzuto has won a ridiculous number of awards. Her third novel, Shadow Child, takes place in post-WWII Hawaii, New York in the 1970s, and 1940s Japan in flashback.
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free


May 21

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil will headline SAL's Poetry Series and share her latest collection, OCEANIC, which is coming out from Copper Canyon Press in 2018.
McCaw Hall, 7:30 pm, $20–$80


May 23

Captain Scott Kelly: The Sky Is Not the Limit

As part of the Unique Lives & Experiences series, former astronaut and engineer Captain Scott Kelly will talk about his four space flights. The words "American hero" are thrown around a lot, but Kelly is pretty damn impressive: He spent a total of 520 days in space and commanded the International Space Station.
McCaw Hall, 7:30 pm, $48–$110

Jessica Johnson: Biblical Porn

The saga of Mars Hill Church and its founder/pastor/charlatan Mark Driscoll—who carved a deep rift in Seattle by infecting an essentially secular social culture with a hypermasculine strain of Evangelical nonsense, as well as colonizing and poisoning the city's music scene, before resigning in disgrace amid accusations of bullying, racketeering, and worse—is treated to a thoughtful, scholarly dissection in this essential book by UW lecturer Jessica Johnson. SN
Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free

The Moth Mainstage

This is the live storytelling competition that many people like because many people (like myself) are horrible gossips who only want to hear people confess their most embarrassing and heartfelt true stories so long as they're on topic. RS
Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $35–$80


June 5–6

An Evening of Sonnets

The UW School of Drama, led by Professor Bridget Connors, will declaim the gorgeous sonnets of Shakespeare.
University of Washington


Every first Wednesday

Silent Reading Party

For almost a decade, people have been gathering in the Fireside Room to escape the distractions of the city, and the distractions of their cell phones, to read silently to themselves in overstuffed chairs or couches in front of the fire while waiters bring them things and Paul Moore plays exquisite piano. CF
Hotel Sorrento, 6 pm, free


Every third Thursday

Margin Shift

This poetry reading series emphasizes the contributions of anyone who might normally be at the margins of the mainstream literary scene.
Common AREA Maintenance, 6:30–10 pm, free


Every fourth Sunday

Pundamonium: Pun Slam Competition

Participants are given a bit of lead time to write a short, pun-based monologue based on a prompt pulled out of a hat, then, based on the response of judges, they are pitted against one another in an improvised pun-off in subsequent rounds, until one is crowned the winner.
Peddler Brewing Company, 7:30 pm, $6


Every last Tuesday

Literary Happy Hour

Capitol Cider invites poets and authors to read their work to a happy hour audience.
Capitol Cider, 5–7 pm, free

Loud Mouth Lit

The writer Paul Mullin, winner of a Stranger Genius Award, curates a "fresh, local, organically sourced" monthly literary event called Loud Mouth Lit dedicated to "the amazing writers living in Seattle."
St. Andrews Bar and Grill, 8 pm, free