Seattle is often described as one of the most literary cities in the country. And I believe that. All I have to do is go to my favorite bookstore where like-minded book lovers like me hang out in large numbers any day of the week. And we have Seattle Arts and Lectures and the Seattle7Writers and the Seattle Library Foundation. And, of course, Book-It Theater. All kinds of authors show up here to promote their books, even in the rainy season. In case you think this is just wishful thinking on my part, check out this recent article about Seattle’s movement to become an official UNESCO City of Literature. According to Mary Ann Gwinn, “If selected, Seattle would join seven other cities designated as cities of literature.” They include Edinburgh, Dublin, Iowa City, and more. Read more here:
In an earlier New York Times article called “Book Lovers Ask: What’s Seattle’s Secret?” our own Nancy Pearl was interviewed about the program she started here over a decade ago — If all of Seattle Read the Same Book which distributed free copies of a selected book throughout the area and posters around town encouraged individuals to read the book and discuss it at library-sponsored events. Back then, the program attracted little national attention, but now Nancy Pearl, and Seattle are on the literary map. She says, “New York may publish the books, but Seattle significantly defines America’s reading list.” “Though the big publishing houses are still ensconced in New York, the Seattle area is the home of Amazon, Starbucks and Costco, three companies that increasingly influence what America reads.”
The thing is, I sometimes miss literary events because I don’t know they’re happening. Just a couple of months ago Ann Patchett was at Town Hall and I didn’t know about it until after the fact. Darn! I used to find events in The Seattle Times but somehow I’m not seeing those comprehensive listings even though I subscribe to the old-fashioned paper and online version. So I decided to do a little research and see if I could find out the best place to look for literary events schedules.
The Seattle Times online appears to have a fairly comprehensive list of literary events in the greater Seattle area. But their site is kind of clunky. First you go to The Seattle Times online, then hover over “Entertainment” in the menu across the top. There’s a drop-down list with a shortcut link to “Find Events and Venues.” When you click on that you can search for the type of arts event you’re looking for. When I searched for “literary events in Seattle” I got a long list of author appearances at local bookstores, libraries and Town Hall. Okay, but kind of exhausting.
So I continued my research — specifically to check out The Stranger which shows up with the sub-title “Seattle’s Only Newspaper.” Love it! The Stranger’s website is great — much more visually appealing and user-friendly than the stodgy Times. And there are many ways to search for literary or other arts events. You can go to “Lists” and click on “Book Listings.” Or you can click on the Settle Arts and Performance Quarterly Link, “A complete guide to Seattle’s current art, film, dance and theater season.” This guide has great photos and lots of options. At top right is an Events calendar which has a link to all the artsy things one could want. Clicking on “books/readings” gets me to a scroll down list which includes lectures, readings and all things bookish at every venue around Seattle. It also marks some events as “Staff Picks.” Yes, this will be my go-to place to check for upcoming literary events in Seattle.
But wouldn’t it be better if I could somehow get that information sent to me, instead of having to search for it? Yes. So, I signed up for The Stranger’s email list. We’ll see how that works. I also signed up for Town Hall’s “stay in the know” emails. Now I am going to know about all the great things coming up in Seattle’s literary scene. Yay! If you readers out there have any other suggestions for staying up on literary events in Seattle, do leave a comment here!