Alice Walker, the brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning wordsmith behind The Color Purple, will read poetry at a Seattle Arts & Lectures event in October. Ana Elena

Want to curl up with a great read this fall? Get inspired by the host of authors coming to town, including buzzy novelist Lauren Groff, Broad City star and essayist Abbi Jacobson, Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Alice Walker, and popular science writer Neil deGrasse Tyson. Below, we've compiled all of our critics' picks for the season's literary events. You can also find a complete list of readings & talks in Seattle this fall on our Things To Do calendar, or check out the rest of our critics' picks from Seattle Art and Performance.

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Mon Sept 17

Esi Edugyan: Washington Black An enslaved boy on a sugar plantation in Barbados becomes a personal servant to an English naturalist and abolitionist in this tale of freedom, danger, and invention. Canadian novelist Edugyan won the Giller Prize for Half-Blood Blues, which was also shortlisted for a ton of other awards, and Washington Black was longlisted for the 2018 Man Booker Prize. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Mon Sept 24

Preti Taneja: We That Are Young Taneja's retelling of King Lear, transplanted to a powerful business family in New Delhi, uses the familiar elements of an aging titan, his virtuous but rebellious daughter, her bloodthirsty sisters, and their psychopath half-brother. It's been getting great reviews in the UK: After awarding it the prestigious Desmond Elliott prize, the judges actually called it "awe-inspiring." And it's only Taneja's first novel! (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Wed Sept 26

Christian Kracht: The Dead Kracht's resonantly titled novel, which won both the Herman Hesse Literature Prize and the Swiss Book Prize, is about a Swiss filmmaker who travels under Nazi orders to Japan with a secret resistance mission. Kracht has crafted a story about fascism and the screen that's won praise from such literary giants as Karl Ove Knausgaard and Sjón. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Thurs Sept 27

Bayasgalan Batsuuri, Cai Tianxin, Dan Coman and Bejan Matur Four writers from the University of Iowa's prestigious International Writing Program will read, including Mongolian poet and translator Bayasgalan Batsuuri, Chinese poet, essayist, and mathematician Cai Tianxin, Romanian writer and prose writer Dan Coman, and Turkish poet and nonfiction writer Bejan Matur. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Sat Sept 29

Léonora Miano: Season of the Shadow Hear a selection from Cameroonian Francophone Léonora Miano's dreamlike yet brutal historical novel Season of the Shadow, about a village whose members are being abducted for the international slave trade. It won the Prix Fémina (a coveted French literary prize decided by an all-female jury) in 2013, and it's been translated by Gila Walker. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Mon Oct 1

Jessica Hopper: Night Moves Pitchfork critic Jessica Hopper is back with a funny, elegantly written book of essays about her life and the punk scene in Chicago in the 2000s. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Sat Oct 13

Pistil Books 25th Anniversary The wonderfully eclectic online bookstore Pistil Books will continue its 25th anniversary celebrations with cake, a reading by the original and witty Rebecca Brown from her short fiction collection Not Heaven, Somewhere Else, and PEN/West Fiction Award winner Stacey Levine. (Pistil Books, 3 pm, free)

Mon Oct 15

Rebecca Brown: Not Heaven, Somewhere Else Lambda Literary Award and Stranger Genius Award winner Rebecca Brown has been called "one of the few truly original modern lesbian writers" by the San Francisco Chronicle and "dry, witty, graceful — if savage" by novelist Mary Gaitskill. Brown's newest publication, Not Heaven, Somewhere Else, is a collection of imaginative short stories. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Thurs Oct 18

Walter Mosley: John Woman Walter Mosley may be best known for his crime novels, but John Woman features a fascinating new character. Cornelius Jones grows up to be John Woman, an eccentric history professor dedicated to spreading the ideas of his father Herman. (Northwest African American Museum, 7 pm, free)

Fri Oct 19

Kim Sagwa: Mina Kim Sagwa is a rising young South Korean writer who's won multiple awards and was granted a three-year residency in the USA as an "Alien of Extraordinary Ability in the Arts." Her new novel, Mina, is about a frantic teenager driven to distraction by pressures of school and society. She'll be joined by Bruce Fulton and Ju-Chan Fulton, her translators, as well as local poet Don Mee Choi. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Thurs Oct 25

Seattle Arts & Lectures: Barbara Kingsolver Acclaimed novelist Barbara Kingsolver takes the long view. About her new novel, Unsheltered, Kingsolver says, "We're living through a scary historical moment when the most basic agreements about who we are as citizens, and how we'll succeed in the world, are suddenly unraveling. It isn't the first time. People are such interesting animals. Unsheltered speaks to these moments, and uses the lens of unravelings past to ask where we might be headed." Sometimes, the long view is exactly what we need to make sense of the present. KATIE HERZOG (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $20—$80)

Fri Nov 9

Lisa Halliday: Asymmetry During the early 2000s, a young editor begins an affair with a much older writer. In another thread of the story, an Iraqi American man is detained at a US airport by immigration officers. The two narrative threads come together in an unexpected climax. Lisa Halliday's first novel has garnered wild enthusiasm from many critics; Katy Waldman of the New Yorker called it a "literary phenomenon." (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Literary Series: Lauren Groff, R. O. Kwon, Kim Fu, and Shelby Earl Lauren Groff is an amazingly talented fiction writer (author of Fates and Furies and lots of other books), and the Hugo House Literary Series is a must-see. The theme this time is "Diving Into the Wreck" (inspired by the Adrienne Rich poem). Groff, along with writers R. O. Kwon and Kim Fu, read works written specifically for this night, along with live music by Shelby Earl. It goes down at Hugo House's new home, which you also must see. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE (Hugo House, 7:30 pm, $25)

Sat Nov 10

R. O. Kwon: The Incendiaries A young college freshman secretly tormented over her role in her mother's recent death is drawn into an extremist religious cult. When she disappears, Will, a young man who himself is recovering from his own fundamentalism, becomes obsessed with finding her. This novel has generated huge buzz, with praise from authors like Viet Thanh Nguyen and Lauren Groff. (Third Place Books Lake Forest Park, 7 pm, free)

Fri Nov 16

Adrianne Harun: Catch, Release An underappreciated short story writer who lives in Port Townsend, Adrienne Harun is the real deal. She's fantastic. Her work has appeared in Best American Short Stories and Best American Mystery Stories, and her new collection is called Catch, Release. JOULE ZELMAN (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Thurs Nov 29

Word Works: Natalie Baszile Baszile's mastery of setting is evident in her debut novel Queen Sugar, about an African American woman from Los Angeles who inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana. Fiction crafters and other writers are invited to learn from her at this talk. (Hugo House, 7 pm, $15)

See all fiction readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Sun Sept 23

Norman Fischer, Catherine Bresner, Joshua Edwards Hear poetry from Zen Buddhist priest Norman Fischer (Untitled Series: Life As It Is), Catherine Bresner (whose The Merriam Webster Series and Everyday Eros chapbooks were published by Mount Analogue), and Joshua Edwards (Imperial Nostalgias). (Open Books, 7 pm, free)

Tues Sept 25

Heid E. Erdrich: New Poets of Native Nations Twenty-one Native American poets have contributed to this anthology edited by Heid E. Erdrich, an Ojibwe writer and sister of famed author Louise Erdrich. She'll appear alongside Trevino L. Brings Plenty, Laura Da', and Cedar Sigo to read from this book of emerging talent. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Thurs Sept 27

Kevin Prufer and Megan Snyder-Camp Four-time Pushcart Prize-winning poet Kevin Prufer also acts as editor-at-large for Pleiades: Literature in Context and curates the Unsung Masters Series. Megan Snyder-Camp wrote The Gunnywolf, which won the 2016 Dorothy Brunsman Award, and has won many other laurels for previous works. (Open Books, 7 pm, free)

Thurs Oct 4

Alice Walker Even if you think you don't know Alice Walker, you know Alice Walker: She's the brilliant, Pulitzer Prize-winning wordsmith behind The Color Purple, not to mention dozens of other award-worthy works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She's also an activist well regarded for her work in the civil rights and feminist movements. On this night, she gives a talk and reads from a new book of poems, Taking the Arrow Out of the Heart, which "bears witness to our troubled times, while also chronicling Walker's well-lived life." LEILANI POLK (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $20—$80)

Sat Oct 6

Gramma Reading Series #2 The mighty local poetry press will host another night of readings and performance, hosted by Stranger music calendar editor Kim Selling. Hear poetry by 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner Tyehimba Jess, Kaveh Akbar (editor of Divedapper), and former Seattle Civic Poet Anastacia-Reneé, plus Imana Gunawan and Au Collective's Moonshine cabaret. (Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 7 pm, $12)

Fri Oct 12

Melissa Stein Well-published, Pushcart and APR/Honickman First Book Prize-winning poet Melissa Stein will read, presumably from her 2018 collection Terrible blooms (Copper Canyon Press). (Open Books, 7 pm, free)

Rupi Kaur Rupi Kaur is a bestselling Canadian poet who illustrates her own books and performs her work in theatrical and musical productions. (Paramount Theatre, 7 pm, $21—$31)

Sat Oct 13

Book Launch Reading with Rae Armantrout & Graham Foust Don't miss Rae Armantrout; she's won a Pulitzer (for her 2010 poetry book Versed). Her other recent work includes Money Shot and Wobble (September 2018). Graham Foust, who has been nominated for the Northern California Book Award and the Believer Poetry Award, will be reading from Nightingalelessness, his newest book. (Open Books, 7 pm, free)

Wed Oct 24

Vis-à-Vis: 100 Rooms Book Launch Few writers approach poetry with the Vis-à-Vis Society's level of inventiveness and wonder. The collective—composed of Sierra Nelson, Rachel Kessler, and Anne Bradfield—combines scientific inquiry with poetic techniques to create various kinds of linguistically charged visual art, data-based poems, and a whole slew of other genres they more or less invented. Their stuff bursts with surprise, warmth, and wit, and I'm always curious about whatever they're up to. Press materials indicate that their debut book, 100 Rooms, will surely embody all those qualities. It's about the way gentrification affects artists, and it's based on a poetic survey conducted at DK Pan's Bridge Motel Art Happening of 2007. RS (Hugo House, 7 pm, free)

Fri Oct 26

Mia Ayumi Malhotra: Isako Isako Malhotra's collection Isako Isako, which nabbed the 2017 Alice James Award, addresses myth, war, exile, and intergenerational memory. (Open Books, 7 pm, free)

Fri Nov 2

Cave Canem Writers Showcase Seattle Civic Poet and one-woman literary powerhouse Anastacia-Renee curates and headlines a group of fellows from Cave Canem, a literary organization founded in 1996 to support black poets all over the country by hosting workshops, fellowships, and readings. If you've been reading The Stranger like you should be, you already know you love Anastacia-Renee and Quenton Baker. This is your chance to catch up with their work and also familiarize yourself with Amanda Johnston, Dante Micheaux, and L. Lamar Wilson, who are traveling into town from Texas, England, and North Carolina, respectively. RS (Hugo House, 7 pm, free)

Sierra Nelson: The Lachrymose Report Nelson's work combines the scientific with the lyrical in ways that inject wonder back into both disciplines, and it's looking like the new book will be more of the same greatness. RS (Open Books, 7 pm, free)

Sun Nov 11

Katie Ford Katie Ford (Deposition, Colosseum, and Blood Lyrics) has received a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize. In her fourth book, If You Have to Go, she engages with the sonnet form. She'll be joined by Pulitzer winner Rae Armantrout. (Hugo House, 7 pm, free)

Mon Nov 12

Eileen Myles: Evolution Eileen Myles is a living legend in the world of poetry and one of the foremost dog biographers of her generation. She's reading from her first new book of poems in seven years. It's called Evolution (Grove/Atlantic). You're going. RS (Hugo House, 7 pm, free)

Fri Nov 30

Jeffrey Yang Hey Marfa is this poet and translator's response to a residency in Marfa, Texas, incorporating painted and penciled landscapes by Rackstraw Downes. Don Mee Choi will engage Yang in conversation. (Hugo House, 7 pm, free)

See all poetry readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Tues Oct 16

Ted Chiang and Karen Joy Fowler Last year's lauded sci-fi film Arrival was based on Ted Chiang's short fiction "The Story of Your Life," which combined a gorgeously nerdy and profound examination of alien grammar with a sad and equally profound exploration of love and fate. Chiang will appear with PEN/Faulkner Award winner Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. JZ (Hugo House, 7 pm, $10)

Thurs Oct 25

Shelley Jackson: Riddance The author of The Melancholy of Anatomy and Patchwork Girl will read from her new work Riddance; or, The Sybil Joines Vocational School for Ghost Speakers & Hearing-Mouth Children. Children with speech impediments at a school in Massachusetts learn how to let the dead speak through them in this assemblage-style novel told through "transcripts, found documents, and archival material." (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Sat Nov 17

Writers Under the Influence: Ursula K. Le Guin Iconic fantasy, sci-fi, and speculative fiction author and poet Le Guin passed away in January, but her legacy and part in influencing the genres in which she worked will continue for innumerable ages. At this event, local writers Eileen Gunn, David Naimon, and Nisi Shawl will share stories, thoughts, and more related to Le Guin. LP (Hugo House, 7 pm, free)

Sun Nov 18

Neil Gaiman Gaiman is the British author behind darkly evocative works like the Sandman comic series, American Gods (his novel adapted into a well-regarded fantasy drama TV series on Starz), graphic novel-turned-film Coraline, and a huge range of other novels, plus children's books and collections of short stories and poetry. On this night, he'll tell and read stories and answer questions. LP (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $35—$59)

See all sci-fi/fantasy readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Wed Oct 3

Word Works: Sarah Manguso The writer of brilliant, uncategorizable, brutal books like The Guardians and Two Kinds of Decay—written concisely and in fragments, a form almost at odds with the work's steeliness and poignancy—is also hilarious on the subject of the last paragraph of The Great Gatsby. Ask her about it. CF (Hugo House, 7 pm, $15)

Mon Nov 19

David Sedaris Beloved humorist David Sedaris returns to Seattle for roughly his 10,000th appearance. This time around, he'll be reading from his new book of essays, Calypso. As with all of his readings, you'll find yourself wishing you'd been born a Sedaris, but this time around, don't be surprised if you shed at least one tear—maybe two. Calypso, as usual, is laugh out loud funny, but it's also a sweet, sad meditation on getting older, on death's inevitable approach, on lives both gone right and gone wrong. KH (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $50—$59)

Jonathan Franzen: The End of the End of the Earth Megan Burbank, formerly editor of the Portland Mercury, once called Franzen "the Gwyneth Paltrow of the literary world." His latest book is a collection of essays and speeches mostly from the past five years that touch on diverse topics like endangered seabirds and his relationship with his uncle. (To Be Announced)

See all essay readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Thurs Sept 27

Porter Fox: Northland Porter Fox's Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America's Forgotten Border details his three years of traveling across the border between the United States and Canada. According to the publisher, "Fox follows explorer Samuel de Champlain's adventures across the Northeast; recounts the rise and fall of the timber, iron, and rail industries; crosses the Great Lakes on a freighter; tracks America's fur traders through the Boundary Waters; and traces the forty-ninth parallel from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean." (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Mon Oct 1

Seattle Arts & Lectures: Doris Kearns Goodwin A titan of presidential biography, this historian wrote the proverbial books on Franklin D. Roosevelt (No Ordinary Time), Abraham Lincoln (Team of Rivals), and Theodore Roosevelt (The Bully Pulpit). The Pulitzer winner will visit with her latest chunky tome, Leadership in Turbulent Times, which delves into the lives and accomplishments of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson. (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $20/$35)

Fri Oct 12

Women You Need to Know: Jill Lepore Harvard University historian and New Yorker staffer Lepore (Joe Gould's Teeth, The Secret History of Wonder Woman) will illuminate the origins of the USA's dire divisions in her new book These Truths: A History of the United States. "A nation born in contradiction, liberty in a land of slavery, will fight forever over the meaning of its history," she writes memorably. (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $35—$80)

Wed Oct 24

Elaine Weiss: The Woman's Hour In The Woman's Hour, journalist Elaine Weiss captures the pivotal summer of 1920, when the fight for women's suffrage came down to Tennessee's "yes" vote on the 19th Amendment. Learn more at this Town Hall event. (The Summit, 7:30 pm, $5)

Sat Oct 27

Dr. Marie Rose Wong: Building Tradition: Pan-Asian Seattle and Life in the Residential Hotels Get to know a Seattle neighborhood replete with historical treasures at this Town Hall event. Dr. Marie Rose Wong, associate professor at Seattle University, will tell the 157-year story of the International District through an account of its hotels. (Wing Luke Museum, 10 am, $15—$20)

Wed Nov 7

Susan Orlean: The Library Book No matter what you think of dogs, or standing desks, or killer whales, or orchids, you have to admit that Susan Orlean can write. No matter what subject she tackles, she makes it interesting. Am I passionately interested in the fire that destroyed much of the Los Angeles Public Library in 1986? Not exactly. Will I read Orlean's book about it? Absolutely. CF (Central Library, 7 pm, free)

Thurs Nov 8

Vikings Were People Too: Following Odin's Advice with UW Professor Emeritus Terje Leiren For the museum's first entry in the Nordic Lecture Series, UW professor Terje Leiren will discuss Norse mythology. A reception by City Catering will follow. (Nordic Museum, 7 pm, donation)

Tues Nov 27

The Shapeshifting Book: From Clay Tablet, to Paper, to Touchscreen Amaranth Borusk, Associate Director of the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics at UW Bothell, will trace the evolution of the book (and other written records) over the millennia. (McMenamins Anderson School, 7 pm, free)

See all history readings happening in Seattle this fall here.

Memoir/ Biography

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Mon Sept 17

John Kerry: Every Day is Extra The Stranger has not been especially complimentary to former Secretary of State and five-time Senator John Kerry—print editor Christopher Frizzelle called him "the mascot of Embarrassing Democrats" back in 2010. But he was for many years a major figure in national and international politics, and his new book, Every Day Is Extra, should have plenty of insight into his experience in the Vietnam War, his campaign fiasco in 2004, and the Obama years. (Campion Ballroom, 7 pm, $40)

Wed Sept 19

Sharon H. Chang and Friends: Hapa Tales and Other Lies Hapa Tales and Other Lies is a meditation on colonization, Native sovereignty, stereotypes of Hawaii and Hawaiians, Asian American and mixed race identity, and activism. In addition to the reading, there will be performances by Marian Macapinlac, Selena Velasco, Angel Alviar-Langeley (aka Moonyeka), and Rayann Kalei'okalani Harumi Onzuka (Kalei). (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Sat Sept 22

Frank Abe, Shawn Wong, Stephen Sumida, and Tom Ikeda Asian American intellectuals, including biographer Frank Abe, will gather to commemorate John Okada, the author of the classic No-No Boy. This was Okada's only novel; it was spurned upon publication in 1957 for its anti-war message and treatment of Japanese internment in the 1940s. Editor Abe and contributors Shawn Wong and Stephen Sumida will be joined by moderator Tom Ikeda of Densho at the launch of John Okada: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy. (Central Library, 2 pm, free)

Mon Oct 1

Sally Field: In Pieces You like her. You really like her! So do I. The famous actress (Forrest Gump, Mrs. Doubtfire) reads from her autobiography, In Pieces. CF (University Temple United Methodist Church, 7 pm, $29)

Sat Oct 6

Natalie Diaz: Self-Portraits Most people know Natalie Diaz for the hilarious and poignant poetry found in her first collection, When My Brother Was an Aztec (Copper Canyon Press). But at the Hugo House, she'll reveal a series of self-portraits paired with new poems as part of a discussion about contemporary Native identity. Her presentation falls on the 150th anniversary of the birth of Edward S. Curtis, the Seattle-based photographer credited with creating the images white America associates with Native Americans, which makes this whole thing hum with historical significance. RICH SMITH (Hugo House, 7 pm, free)

Sy Montgomery: How to Be a Good Animal Naturalist, adventurer, and friend of the animals Sy Montgomery will read from her newest writing about the incredible creatures of our planet, "from tarantulas to tigers," and the significance they have for her own life. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Mon Oct 8

Eric Idle: Always Looking on the Bright Side of Life In 2016, former Stranger editor Sean Nelson wrote: "Of all the members of Monty Python's Flying Circus, Eric Idle has surely had the most fruitful third act. This would be true even if he'd done nothing more than serving as playwright and co-creator of the monumentally popular Broadway show Spamalot. But following that award-winning revivification of the entire Python enterprise, Idle has been more visible than his counterparts in recent years, owing in part to his discovery that the songs he wrote for the group—especially 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life'—have become cherished evergreens." The comic genius will be reading from his book. (University Temple United Methodist Church, 7 pm, $27)

Thurs Oct 11

Lacy M. Johnson: The Reckonings Johnson published her critically acclaimed and frankly harrowing memoir, The Other Side, with Tin House in 2014. The book is a highly lyrical account of the day her ex-boyfriend kidnapped her, raped her, and planned to kill her. She literally broke free from her chains, escaped the soundproof room he'd locked her in, and found help before he could carry out the last part of his plan. When she toured the country behind this book, readers wanted to know what she wanted to happen to "The Man I Live With," as she called him in the book. The Reckonings serves as her reply. Other essays in the collection address additional forms of violence in American culture, including racism and environmental devastation. RS (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Oct 22–23

Jill Soloway: She Wants It Love or hate Transparent, you have to admit Soloway changed television. But I'd much rather talk about her TV adaption of I Love Dick. Have you seen that yet? Oh my god, what is wrong with you? What do you have against satires of the art world, send-ups of sexism, and Kevin Bacon's bare ass? CF (Oct 22: Third Place Books Seward Park, 7 pm, free; Oct 23: Temple De Hirsch Sinai, 7:30 pm, $5—$35, presented by Town Hall)

Fri Nov 2

Abbi Jacobson: I Might Regret This You probably know her as Ilana's bestie and as the cocreator of the hit Comedy Central series Broad City; Abbi Jacobson comes across as the more introverted, less flexible (literally) of the treasured comedy duo. As the show began to wind down (its fifth and final season is set to air next year), Jacobson took off on a journey all her own, driving across the country solo, spending time in cities and towns across the way, and trying, like all good millennials, to figure her shit out. It's On the Road for the modern era, but with fewer drugs, less ego, and a hell of a lot more charm. KH (Third Place Books Lake Forest Park, 7 pm, $32)

Sun Nov 11

Peter Sagal: The Incomplete Book of Running Peter Sagal may be a star among the NPR set, but when he's not hosting the public radio quiz show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, he's often found running, a hobby this formerly indoorsy guy didn't get serious about until he was 40. Since then, Sagal has logged tens of thousands of miles, and in his new book, he reflects on what running has given him, from life-changing experiences like crossing the finish line of the 2014 Boston Marathon just moments before the bombs went off, to your everyday, running-induced diarrhea. At once both witty and wise, The Incomplete Book of Running will appeal to both readers who run and to those of us who prefer to put up our feet, turn on the radio, and listen. KH (Seattle First Baptist Church, 7:30 pm, $5)

Mon Nov 19

Damien Echols: High Magick In a story made famous by the HBO trilogy Paradise Lost in 1994, then-18-year-old Damien Echols, along with other teens, was convicted of murdering three young boys as part of an alleged Satanic ritual in West Memphis, Arkansas. After 18 years in prison and a better-late-than-never examination of DNA evidence, Echols and the others were released, an experience he wrote about in the 2012 book Life After Death. His latest work, High Magick, is a guide to the spiritual practices that helped Echols survive nearly two decades locked up for crimes he didn't commit. KH (Neptune Theatre, 7 pm, $33)

See all memoir/biography readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Thurs Nov 29

Jonathan Lethem: The Feral Detective A talkative lady named Phoebe Siegler hires a reclusive detective, Charles Heist, to help her find a friend's missing daughter. But when the two find that Arabella has joined a group of desert-dwellers and turns out to be in danger, the mismatched duo find that they're also in harm's way. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

See all mystery readings happening in Seattle this fall here.

Politics/Current Issues

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Tues Sept 18

Cristien Storm: Empowered Boundaries The co-founder of Seattle's self-defense Home Alive organization will present her book Empowered Boundaries: Speaking Truth, Setting Boundaries, and Inspiring Social Change. Home Alive instructor and sexual health educator Becky Reitzes will join her. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Thurs Sept 20

Anand Giridharadas: The Self-Interested Altruism of Today's Elite Want some good arguments to lob at our Bezos-worshipping, techno-libertarian overlords who think Amazon's "Community Banana Stand" serves as a sterling example of corporate magnanimity? Then pick up a copy of former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas's new book, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World, and buy yourself a ticket to his Town Hall lecture. In the meantime, if you see Bezos gliding around town on a Solowheel, tell him to pay his fucking taxes. RS (Southside Commons, 7:30 pm, $5)

Fri Sept 21

DeRay Mckesson: On the Other Side of Freedom Black Lives Matter activist DeRay Mckesson wears a blue vest, maintains an impeccably trimmed goatee, hosts Pod Save the People, and spearheads Campaign Zero, an organization devoted to ending police brutality through legislative means. He's touring the country with a new book about his experiences "at the front lines" of the BLM movement. RS (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $50)

Tues Sept 25

Shane Bauer: The Business of Prisons and Punishment Shane Bauer was one of three Americans captured and held hostage in Iran while hiking near the Iraq-Iran border in 2009. After two years (and a nearly half-million dollar payment), Bauer was released, only to return to the US and enter a whole different kind of prison system—this time, as a reporter. In 2014, Bauer got a job as an entry-level guard at a private prison in Winnfield, Louisiana, an experience he documented in a National Magazine Award-winning exposé published by Mother Jones in 2016. That article was expanded into a book, The Business of Prisons and Punishment, and Bauer will read excerpts and discuss this devastating indictment of America's prison system during this Town Hall talk. KH (Seattle First Baptist Church, 7:30 pm, $5)

Wed Sept 26

Steve Phillips: Brown Is the New White According to Town Hall's description for this event, Steve Phillips will break down the persistent "myth of the white swing voter" through an analysis of the 2016 election. He says, and supports, what many have been shouting: Progress will depend on a strategy that incorporates America's "racially diverse majority." (The Collective, 7:30 pm, $5)

Fri Sept 28

Jose Antonio Vargas: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas comes to Town Hall's Inside/Out series with his new memoir Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen. Vargas has been writing and speaking with authority on the plight and power of undocumented immigrants for several years now, and his work continues to be an invaluable resource for those who want this country to live up to its Dream. The memoir covers his own experience with immigration and detention, challenging our default understandings of "home." RS (Seattle First Baptist Church, 7:30 pm, $5)

Wed Oct 3

Arne Duncan: How Schools Work President Obama's Secretary of Education confronts the crisis in public education in his book How Schools Work. In this Town Hall talk, he'll explain where we fall behind and why, and what we can do to give students the education they deserve. (Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University, 7:30 pm, $5)

Mon Oct 8

Chris Hedges: America: The Farewell Tour Many pundits have been racking their brains trying to understand how the United States got to this tumultuous moment, but few have the chops of Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Chris Hedges. At this Town Hall event, hear excerpts from his book America: The Farewell Tour, about the epidemic of hopelessness across the country and the ills that arise from it. (Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University, 7:30 pm, $5)

Wed Oct 10

Van Jones If you don't know Van Jones as Barack Obama's Special Advisor for Green Jobs (remember when the president cared about stuff like that?) or as a co-founder of the social justice nonprofit Dream Corps, you've probably seen him on CNN. He'll present his topical new book, Beyond the Messy Truth: How We Came Apart, How We Come Together, which is included in the ticket price. (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $10—$95)

Thurs Oct 18

Ben Fountain: Beautiful Country, Burn Again Rich Smith introduces Ben Fountain thus: "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." Now, Fountain turns from fiction to bring us a book-length expansion of his 2016 essays on the US elections published in the Guardian. He'll be joined in this talk by Maria Semple. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Fri Nov 2

Jabari Asim: We Can't Breathe Jabari Asim will present a wide-ranging book of eight essays that "reclaim the narrative of Black history and culture in America, focusing on how Black bodies, Black words, and Black culture and society have been policed, punished, and stolen for hundreds of years." Topics include black fatherhood, black literature, and the resilience of black culture. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Sun Nov 11

Pete Souza Pete Souza is the guy who took the picture of Barack Obama leaning over to let the little kid touch his hair, to see if it really was just like his. This is the guy who took the picture of Barack and Michelle Obama hugging on reelection night 2012 that became one of the most retweeted photos ever. 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 (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $47—$187)

Tues Nov 13

Adam Hochschild: Lessons from a Dark Time and Other Essays Town Hall will present a talk by journalist Adam Hochschild (who wrote the essential histories Spain in Our Hearts and King Leopold's Ghost) on the occasion of his new collection of essays and articles from throughout his career. He observes everything from "a California gun show to a Finnish prison, from a Congolese center for rape victims to the ruins of gulag camps in the Soviet Arctic," and from Nelson Mandela's campaign to the machinations of the CIA. (Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University, 7:30 pm, $5)

Wed Nov 14

Francis Fukuyama: Identity Earlier this year, Charles Mudede described Fukuyama's philosophy: "But all of this ideological business seemed way out of place in a post-historical world. Thinkers like Fukuyama marked the end of the Cold War as the end of ideology: American ideology rose to the condition of reality; Soviet ideology sank into the depths of the past. Human development had reached its terminal point with democratic capitalism." But, of course, ideology has never been out of the picture, and its triumph in American life today is all too obvious. To his credit, in 2014, Fukuyama warned of the deterioration of American institutions and the fall of the state to special interest groups. In this talk, Fukuyama will speak about the "demand for recognition of one's identity," which he says is "a master concept that unifies much of what is going on in world politics today." (Pigott Auditorium at Seattle University, 7:30 pm, $5)

Wed Nov 28

Rob Reich: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy According to Reich (not the popular left-wing economist, but a Stanford professor of political science and philosophy), wealthy donors might actually be subverting democracy by exercising money as power (and getting some sweet tax breaks in the process). What would philanthropy look like if it were pro-justice and pro-democracy? (Impact HUB Seattle, 7:30 pm, $5)

Tues Dec 4

Richard Rothstein: Color of Law Author Richard Rothstein explodes the myth of the equitable American city in his study of the de jure—legislated—segregation in The Color of Law. Though it's long been accepted that racism has divided up cities, Rothstein argues, apparently with overwhelming evidence, that discrimination was enforced by local, state, and national law. According to Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic, Rothstein's research on the subject is "brilliant." This is the paperback tour. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

See all politics/current issues readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Tues Sept 25

Encountering Rarity: Restoring the Endangered Island Marble Butterfly For almost 100 years, scientists thought the island marble butterfly was extinct. Now, thanks to conservation efforts at the National Park Service, the unremarkable but beautiful insect is making a slow but steady comeback in the coastal prairie grasses of the San Juan Islands. The decision to save this species or to let it extinguish is still an open question, however. UW's Amy Lambert will tell us what our answer to that question says about our own species. RS (McMenamins Anderson School, 7 pm, free)

Wed Sept 26

Thor Hanson: Buzz—The Nature and Necessity of Bees Washington native and conservation biologist Thor Hanson is one of those science writers who can poke and stoke your curiosity no matter what he's writing about. A few years ago, he championed one of the tiniest but mightiest forces of nature in The Triumph of Seeds. In Buzz, he's moved up one rung on the taxonomical ladder with a comprehensive book on bees, an insect that started out in the world as a wasp that "dared to feed pollen to its young." They've been pollinating the earth's flora for 125 million years, but, like everything else on this planet, they might not be buzzing around for much longer. At this Town Hall event, find out everything you can about these honey bugs before we find some way to shrivel them up for good. RS (The Summit, 7:30 pm, $5)

Thurs Sept 27

Kai-Fu Lee: China, Silicon Valley, and the Dual Visions of AI Hear about China's sudden surge in artificial intelligence research from the author of AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order at this Town Hall event. Kai-Fu Lee foresees a crisis for blue- and white-collar workers, with an even greater exacerbation of economic inequality. Eek. (The Collective, 7:30 pm, $5)

Wed Oct 17

David Reich: Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past At this Town Hall, geneticist David Reich will explain how genomics is revealing the history of modern humans with excerpts from his book Who We Are and How We Got Here. It sounds fascinating and provocative: "Reich suggests that there might very well be biological differences among human populations—many of which are unlikely to conform to common stereotypes." (The Summit, 7:30 pm, $5)

Oct 28–30

National Geographic Live: Social By Nature Broaden your horizons and discover our social mammals close to us on the family tree, like chimps, or a little farther along the branch, like wolves. Join Ronan Donovan for a talk on animal observations. (Benaroya Hall, $28—$48)

Nov 26–27

Neil deGrasse Tyson Frequently memed celebrity astrophysicist and author Neil deGrasse Tyson will tour in support of scientific knowledge. The show on November 26 is entitled "Adventures in Science Literacy" and will address "the state of science today"; "The Cosmic Perspective" on November 27 will be about the emotional impact of understanding Earth's littleness in a vast universe. (Paramount Theatre, 7:30 pm, $46—$86)

See all science/nature readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Sun Nov 4

Renata Lubinsky: Around Seattle in 80 Dates Author and stand-up comic Renata M. Lubinsky writes about her post-divorce romantic misadventures on online dating sites after 32 years as a married woman. (University Book Store, 1 pm, free)

See all humor readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Sept 20–Dec 6

Makers of the Now: Contemporary Native American and First Nations Artists Lecture Series Five Native American and First Nations artists from the Pacific Northwest and Alaska will discuss how they explore indigenous culture of the past and present in their work. (Frye Art Museum, 7 pm, $24/$115)

Sun Sept 30

Mary Gabriel: Five Women Who Changed Modern Art Many art history books write important women in aesthetic movements completely out of history—except maybe as muses and spouses. National Book Award finalist Mary Gabriel's Ninth Street Women helps remedy this failure with her story of Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler, all of whom held their own in the male-dominated realm of postwar abstract painting. She'll be joined in conversation with Julia Ricketts at this Town Hall event. (Impact HUB Seattle, 6 pm, $5)

Sun Oct 14

Doonesbury in the Time of Trump Did you know Doonesbury predicted the Cheeto-in-Chief's presidential bid way back in 1987? Garry Trudeau has been publishing his Pulitzer-winning comic strip for the better part of a near half-century—it first launched in 1970—and it's been syndicated in papers across the US, including the Seattle Times, for a good chunk of that. Nowadays, we only get a new strip of his well-honed political and social satire once a week, on Sundays, but it's always worth reading. This date falls behind the release of #SAD!: Doonesbury in the Time of Trump, a collection of comics tracking POTUS's First 500 Days. LP (Benaroya Hall, 7:30 pm, $48—$90)

Fri Oct 19

Henry Rollins Comedian and musician Henry Rollins will give a special talk embellished with photos from around the world, from "Baghdad to Pyongyang." (Neptune Theatre, 8 pm, $29)

Oct 20, Nov 10 & Dec 1

The Value of a Work of Art Can Be Measured By the Harm Spoken of It: Conversations with David Shields Distinguished intellectual David Shields will appear three times to argue with guests about "lived experience, art, and politics" in discussions based on his own writing and film. The themes will include War Is Beautiful with Whitney Otto, Lynch: A History (a film about Marshawn Lynch) with Kurt Streeter, and I Think You're Totally Wrong: A Quarrel with Caleb Powell. (Frye Art Museum, 2 pm, free)

Thurs Nov 8

Jason Lutes: Berlin In the culmination of a long-awaited project, Fantagraphics will release Jason Lutes's Berlin, a graphic chronicle of Berlin's fall to the onslaught of fascism. Berlin is 20 years in the making: Way back in 2001, Evan Sult wrote in The Stranger, "Where Art Spiegelman's Maus defined the comics version of World War II, and Joe Sacco's Palestine examined the postwar Jewish state, Berlin acts as a kind of fictional prequel." This is not one to skip. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Sat Nov 10

Eroyn Franklin Playful and inventive comics artist Franklin (full disclosure: we've published her in The Stranger), will show off some recent self-publications. (Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery, 6 pm, free)

See all art-related readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Thurs Sept 27 & Thurs Oct 4

Jake Uitti: 100 Things To Do In Seattle Before You Die and Unique Eats and Eateries of Seattle Go to this reading to be privy to Stranger contributor and former Third Place employee Jake Uitti's favorite food spots around town. (Sept: Third Place Books Ravenna, 7 pm, free, Oct: Third Place Books Ravenna, 7pm, free)

Tues Nov 27

Ina Garten Barefoot Contessa is one of those cooking shows that you don't even really have to watch; Ina Garten's instructions on how to prepare, make, and serve anything from a big breakfast buffet (potato pancetta frittata, yum!), to food for a surprise Italian party (balsamic roasted beef, anyone?) is soothingly delicious background noise. The last few seasons of Food Network's longest running cooking show all have a "Cook Like A Pro" theme, which spurred her 11th and latest cookbook (and the reason she's coming to Seattle), Cook Like a Pro: Recipes and Tips for Home Cooks. LP (Benaroya Hall, 8 pm, $48—$58)

See all food-related readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Thurs Sept 20 & Sat Sept 22

Deb Caletti: A Heart In A Body In The World National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti's new novel is about a woman who runs cross-country from Seattle to D.C. in an attempt to outpace a tragedy haunting her. (Thurs: University Book Store, 6 pm, free; Sat: Third Place Books Lake Forest Park, 7 pm, free)

See all kids & young adult readings happening in Seattle this fall here.


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Sat Sept 22

Contrast Collective This Vancouver, B.C., nonprofit has launched a print magazine dedicated to artists of color. They'll be presenting their inaugural publication, The Identity Issue, featuring work by women and non-binary people, as well as their follow-up, Histories, with contributions from all genders. (Elliott Bay Book Company, 7 pm, free)

Grand Reopening Celebration Rejoice! Hugo House will at last unveil its new home, much more spacious and cranny-filled than the former monastery where it's been hunkered for the past few years. Eminent (but friendly!) locals like Anastacia-Renee, Quenton Baker, and Nicole Hardy along with Hugo House writers-in-residence Kristen Millares Young and Amber Flame will read aloud, and the Bushwick Book Club will perform book-inspired music. Stay on for a party with KEXP's DJ Gabriel Teodros. (Hugo House, 5—8 pm)

Thurs Sept 27

South Asian Writers of the Pacific Northwest Former Hugo House writer-in-residence Sonora Jha will host a reading with four Seattle-based South Asian writers: Jordan Alam, Sasha Duttchoudhury, Jasleena Grewal, and Shankar Narayan. (Hugo House, 7 pm, free)

Fri Sept 28

Hugo Literary Series: Jim Shepard, Cedar Sigo, and Sabina Murray Hugo You'll hear from fiction writers Jim Shepard and Sabina Murray, PNW poet Cedar Sigo, and musician Anhayla, all riffing on the theme "Brave New World." (Hugo House, 7:30 pm, $25)

Thurs Oct 11

Lit Crawl: Seattle 2018 Seattle was named an official UNESCO City of Literature last fall, which makes us one of only two US cities on the worldwide list (surprisingly, the other is Iowa City). Basically, it means that Seattle is a haven for literary arts, and during this free, one-night-only event, locals are invited to soak it up during a night of booze and book loving, when a huge range of bars, cafes, and businesses in Capitol Hill present more than 80 writers and artists in events ranging from straightforward readings to cooking demos to performances, with a night-ending after party at the newly re-opened Hugo House. LP (Capitol Hill, 6 pm—12 am, free)

Sat Oct 13

Washington State Book Awards Celebration You'll be on the edge of your seat to find out the winners of this year's Washington State Book Awards, but the fun's not over after the announcements—there will also be signings, book sales, and mingling. There are too many finalists to list here, but we can tell you that you can hobnob with Nancy Pearl, Laura Anne Gilman, Laurie Frankel, Langdon Cook, David B. Williams, Jaimee Garbacik, and many others. (Central Library, 7 pm, free)

First Wednesday

Silent Reading Party The silent-reading party turns nine years old in 2018. For almost a decade, people have been gathering in the Fireside Room of the Sorrento Hotel 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. It's an odd phenomenon—nothing happens—but it's as popular as ever. At last month's party, there was a line out the door. Get there at least an hour early for prime seating. CF (Hotel Sorrento, 6 pm, free)

See all other readings happening in Seattle this fall here.

Open Mic/Storytelling

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First Thursday & Third Friday

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. (Fremont Abbey & St. Mark's Cathedral, 8 pm, $10)

See all open mics & storytelling events happening in Seattle this fall here.