We’re coming up on the end of the year, and the number of available literary events are rapidly declining. Don’t get me wrong — there are still plenty of readings between now and the end of the year, but this is the one time of year when literary-minded folks are not spoiled for choice: rather than three or four good options a day, Seattle’s readers readers are lucky to get one. This must be what it’s like living in basically every other city in America.
In fact, it’s looking like Wednesday, December 14th is the last day of the normal Seattle reading calendar for 2016. It’s a big blowout of a night, with two different group readings happening on Capitol Hill, and it’s your best opportunity for a fun literary event for the next three weeks or so.
First up is the 15th installment of the Lit Fix reading series at Chop Suey. Here’s what the $5 cover at the door will get you: You’ll enjoy a rare Seattle appearance from Brooklyn novelist Leland Cheuck, whose The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong follows one Asian-American family, Forrest Gump-like, through some of the darkest moments in American history (the building of the transcontinental railroad, the internment of Japanese-American citizens during World War II.) Cheuck is joined by Seattle writer Steven Barker — whose memoir about working in the temp economy, Now for the Disappointing Part, is anything but disappointing — and the remarkably prolific Lori A. May. Seattle native Sasha LaPointe, who is best-known for her accounts of her Nooksack heritage and intergenerational trauma, capably rounds out the docket.
Like most Lit Fixes, this is a reading that celebrates writers at just the right point in their careers: when they have a book or two under their belts and they’re just starting to develop a real following. If you want to see tomorrow’s superstars in a casual, supportive environment, Lit Fix is for you.
But there’s another group reading that can’t be ignored happening across town at the Pine Box at the exact same time. Four terrific Seattle writers, each of whom enjoys a strong and devoted following, join forces to read new work along the theme of “Origin Stories.”
These are names you see a lot around town: Bellingham poet Robert Lashley, Seattle poets Sarah Galvin and Michelle Peñaloza, and Jessica Mooney, an up-and-coming writer of short fiction. Any one of these writers could headline any number of events around town, but the four of them together should make for an unforgettable evening, especially since they’re sharing new work having to do with origins, which is an incredibly potent starting point for a shared group reading. Expect personal work about pivotal decisions in the lives of these terrific writers.
There’s always a little manic energy around readings at this time of year. The audiences can get a little thin because there’s an office Christmas party or family matters that need attention. Writers are pre-annoyed by all the gaudy consumerism in the air. And the folks who do show up are likely to be misanthropic and sick of all the ceremony of holidays. In other words, late-year readings are the perfect recipe for a memorable evening. Go out and make something happen.