Seattle is right now in the middle of a great and vibrant literary boom. All over the city, you’ll find literary organizations, libraries, bookstores, and festivals celebrating writing, comics, and the pleasures of publishing. It can be hard to figure out your place in a scene as broad and diverse as Seattle’s. We’d like to help with that. Every Monday on our home page, you’ll find a roundup of great-looking literary events; we recommend one event per day, and that’s a great way to get out there and see what’s going on.

But there are so many ways to take part in literature in Seattle! What follows is a(n incomplete) list of some of the many ways you can get involved. If you run an organization that’s not on this list but should be, please contact us with relevant information. Also let us know if the contact info on this page doesn’t work; we’ll fix it and direct you to the right website lickety-split.

Clubs and meetings

Many bookstores in Seattle offer monthly (or even more frequent) book clubs where anyone can show up and talk about a book for free. A matter of etiquette: please read the whole book before joining a book club — nobody likes the blowhard who has opinions about a book but didn’t invest the time to finish it — and you should buy the book, or at least a book, at the store you’re patronizing; they’re not doing charity. They’re providing a service, and you should respect their need to pay the bills. We’ve also included a couple of other meeting-type groups here that didn’t really fit anywhere else; explanations follow those listings.

Literary magazines

Get published at one of these Seattle-based magazines and become the pride (or envy) of your peer group.

Local literary news and information

We hope you’ll choose the Seattle Review of Books as your daily destination for reviews, interviews, and local book news. If we’re not serving some aspect of the literary world, please let us know so we can fix that. But we also understand that one news outlet is not enough; a literary bounty like Seattle deserves to be covered by a wide array of outlets and voices. We don’t have enough coverage in Seattle, to be honest. Here are a few:

Open Mic Nights

Get onstage and read your stuff and meet other people who are reading their stuff. (One tip: for God’s sake, practice first.)

Where can you learn?

If you’re new at writing or you’d like to hone your craft, Seattle is home to several nationally respected educational organizations. Some of the programs are free; some are not. If you’re not sure an organization is right for you, all of these groups frequently put on events that demonstrate what they’re up to; most of the events are free. It’s also a nice way to get to know the people who work for the organizations.

Where can you volunteer?

A number of literary organizations are in need of volunteers to perform their daily operations. Volunteering your time isn’t just a gift from the kindness of your heart — although it is that, too. Being a volunteer is the best, easiest way to get your foot in the door at an organization, to win the trust and the attention of the people who work there. If you’re new to town and you’d like to make friends with similar interests, we’d encourage you to give your time to a worthy cause. You’ll likely be rewarded tenfold in experience, friendship, and community.