When Tara Atkinson lost her favorite bookstore, she decided to do something about it. After the ferociously independent Pilot Books closed down, Atkinson and her friends came together to create the APRIL (Authors, Publishers, and Readers of Independent Literature) Festival, which ran longer than Pilot Books and, arguably, made more of a mark on the city then the bookstore which inspired it.
Atkinson was not just a curator of the APRIL Festival's wildly entertaining events. She was also a participant in the first APRIL pub crawl. She played an interstitial role in the evening, reading a story about fast food burgers while sitting in a little red wagon being pulled down Pine Street in an effort to lead audiences from bar to bar. (At one point during the wagon reading, I turned to author Stacey Levine and confessed that I worried Atkinson was going to get hit by a car or that her driver would lose control of the wagon and that she might die in an accident. Levine considered this for a moment and replied, "I don't know, Paul. It takes a lot to kill a person.")
Atkinson's departure from APRIL — she wanted to work on her own writing — marked the beginning of the end of the festival. The events of APRIL required both Willie Fitzgerald's curatorial exuberance and Atkinson's deliberative eye.
But now Atkinson has turned that eye more seriously to writing, and her first book is in the world. I reviewed Boyfriends last week, calling it "distant and tinged with sadness," as well as "very broadly funny." It's the perfect way to introduce Atkinson as a writer into the world: an affordable e-book, about 40 pages long, with not a word askew.
And now it's time for a party. And as we've already established, Atkinson knows how to put on an event. On social media, Atkinson has been requesting that people send her photos of their boyfriends. She's planning to use those photos as part of her reading. I don't know exactly what Atkinson's scheme is, but she's earned our trust through years of APRIL events, and so I can't wait to see what happens.
Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar, 1508 11th Ave., 709-9797, http://vermillionseattle.com. Free. All ages. Oct. 26, 2017, 7 p.m.