Tonight's APRIL Festival 5th Anniversary Party was a solid mix of new-to-APRIL readers (Hannah Sanghee Park delivered a witty spray of poems about love and "going to town on a tangerine") and longtime APRIL favorites (Ed Skoog always classes up a room, even when he's reading a poem about puppets). But they saved the real news for the end of the night: APRIL co-founder Willie Fitzgerald announced that APRIL's managing director, Tara Atkinson, would be stepping down after this year's festival.
Atkinson is one of the creators of the festival and has been a guiding force ever since. She's been instrumental in the logistics and planning of APRIL, and she has been described to me on more than one occasion as the glue that holds the whole thing together. Her presence will surely be missed in upcoming festivals.
But while Atkinson is obviously irreplaceable, this moment marks a great opportunity for APRIL. Five years in, the festival has clearly defined what it stands for and what its aesthetic is. It is now, thanks in no small part to all Atkinson's work, conceptually durable enough to take on new voices and visions. If you've ever wanted to take part in one of Seattle's most defining literary celebrations, now is the time to get involved with APRIL. Sign up for the mailing list, attend at least one of the three remaining events this weekend, and talk to staff about volunteering. After five great years, APRIL is about to undergo an organizational change, and you can be a part of it.