Lit Crawl 2013: Get Drunk on Good Writing

If you like drinking while reading, then Seattle is going to look a whole lot like paradise this Thursday.

Starting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24, the city will be blanketed by Seattle “literati” as they explore the wonders of this year’s second-annual Lit Crawl.

The evening will be packed with literary events and offers Seattle residents a chance to see the unique literary flavors the city has cultivated throughout the last decade. Featuring over 60 authors at 19 venues around Capitol Hill and downtown, the night will feature a whole slew of local authors doing readings at bars and businesses. The readings will come from their own published material, works in progress or their favorite writers.

For those interested in getting a wide sweep of the Seattle literary scene, no other night will offer as many opportunities to see Seattle’s diverse pool
of talent.

Angela Smalley, one of the volunteers on the event’s board of directors, thinks the Lit Crawl is a great opportunity to put Seattle’s creative talent—both known and unknown—on display.

“Seattle is such a vibrant city for art, on so many levels, and there are already lots of literary events throughout the year,” said Smalley. “An event like this really helps to show that Seattle is a great place to be a writer. There is a whole community here, not only of writers, but of people who support them and want to see them thrive.”

The first ever Lit Crawl occurred in San Francisco in 1999 as part of the city’s larger Litquake event. It gave smaller, local authors the chance to have informal readings around the city. Rather than maintaining the mystique of the larger events, the Lit Crawl offered up an opportunity to see the city’s local literary scene in settings as intimate as a chaotic bar.

The event has since spread to cities like New York, Los Angeles and Austin. This is Seattle’s second year participating and the event looks set to grow as the years go on. In 2014, both Portland and London will host their own Lit Crawls.

Local poet Susan Rich, who has published three collections of poetry and is popular both in Seattle and abroad, will be hosting a reading at Paco Wine + Spirits and giving a sneak peak of her new book “Cloud Pharmacy,” which is due out in March. Rich participated in the Lit Crawl last year and is excited to be reading again.

“I believe in pushing literature out the door of the book shop and into the streets, or in this case, the bars,” said Rich.

She also believes that the event allows local authors to engage with people living in Seattle who otherwise might not be aware of what is offered.

“Some people have compared Seattle right now to the famous literary scene of Paris in the 1920s. And yet, to some Seattleites, this is a secret side of their beloved city,” she said. “Poetry belongs integrated into the life of our city; this way people realize you don’t need a Ph.D. to enjoy a well-crafted lyric.”

Different venues will also have different themes. Babeland, for example, will be hosting “Crazy Sexy Zombies” at 7 p.m., where B.F. Dealo, the pen name for two local artists, will read from their book “Fifty Shades of Brains.”

Local businesses stand to reap just as many benefits from the night.

Rich Fox, one of the owners of Von Trapp’s, sees the night as another good opportunity for business owners to integrate themselves into the Seattle community. The restaurant will be hosting “Oh, The Places You’ll Go,” a series of writing with a strong sense of place, at 6 p.m.

“To be honest, regardless of any business benefits in terms of revenue, I think it’s just good to know that the relationship goes both ways,” said Fox. “It’s not about [customers] just coming into the restaurant and supporting our business—it’s us supporting the interests of the community.”

Katie Shirley, an employee at Von Trapp’s who will also help to host the event on Thursday, thinks events like Lit Crawl are an important component in keeping authors connected to real audiences.

“So much art goes without soul; everyone can just see and find what they want online,” said Shirley. “I enjoy the fact that we’re putting on Lit Crawl so we can have actual people standing up and reading their books, reading their fiction in front of a crowd.”

The event starts at 6 p.m. and finishes at 9 p.m. with a reception at Hugo House that will end at midnight. The full list of venues and authors can be found on the event’s website.

Sheldon Costa

Sheldon is a senior creative writing major. This is his first year writing for The Spectator. He was once bitten by a duck in Palm Springs.


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