Seattle is named for Chief Sealth, a Suquamish and Duwamish chief. Seattle occupies land that has been home to storytellers for thousands of years. The Duwamish and Coast Salish predate white settlement in the area, and storytelling is still a strong part of their cultural traditions.
Seattle has a ‘Civic Poet’. The Civic Poet program celebrates Seattle’s rich literary community, while investing the future of literary arts through community engagement. One project that the inaugural Civic Poet created was a Poetic Grid of Seattle that is a digital map of the city with site-specific poetry embedded in it.
The Seattle Public Library was the creator of the ‘One Book, One City’ program. Started in 1998 by Nancy Pearl (whom you may know from her librarian action figure), the program launched as ‘What if All of Seattle Read the Same Book?’ Now celebrating its 21st Anniversary, Seattle Reads is a beloved program.
Seattle is home to many publishers, including Sasquatch Books, Fantagraphics (a comics and graphic novel publisher), Mountaineers Books, University of Washington Press, as well as many small publishers like Chin Music Press, Black Heron Press, and poetry publishers Copper Canyon and Floating Bridge Press.
Seattle is home to many writing organizations and centers that support new and developing writers, including Hugo House, Clarion West, and the African-American Writers’ Alliance.
INDIGENOUS WRITERS EXCHANGE
In 2016 and 2017 Seattle partnered with our sister city, Christchurch, New Zealand to host an exchange of indigenous authors. In 2016, Elissa Washuta traveled to Christchurch to participate in the weeklong WORD Christchurch literary festival. In 2017, Nic Low, who splits his time between Christchurch and Melbourne, traveled to Seattle for a ten day visit. Both artists had the opportunity to meet stakeholders in the literary community, read from their work and explore the city.
As an outgrowth from this exchange Catalyst, a literary journal in Christchurch, featured the work of four Seattle-based poets in their August 2016; while the Raven Chronicles, a literary journal in Seattle, featured the work of four Christchurch based writers in their November 2017 issue.
TASTE OF ICELAND
Seattle has had the pleasure of partnering with Iceland Naturally and Reykjavik to host literary programs as part of the annual Taste of Iceland event. In years past, literary luminaries Andri Snaer Magnusson, Guðmundur Andri Thorsson and Eliza Reid (currently Iceland’s First Lady!) have all been featured.
Seattle invited the city’s sitting Civic Poet and Washington State Poet Laureate, Ananstacia-Reneé and Claudia Castro Luna respectively, to contribute poems for Heidelberg’s ‘Poetic Encounters’ project in 2018. Ananstacia-Reneé contributed “Eyes Are On It” while Claudia Castro Luna contributed “Tyranny of the Milky Way.”
LitCrawl Seattle is an annual one-day book festival that packs more than 80 author talks, panels and performances into a single night in October. Events take place in venues all across Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, from bars and restaurants to galleries and libraries.
The Antiquarian Book Fair features dealers from across North America, Europe and beyond who offer thousands of collectible books, prints, maps, manuscripts, autographs, photographs, posters, postcards, broadsides, fine bindings and ephemera for sale.
Seattle Urban Book Expo is an annual event that provides a platform for authors of color to showcase their literary work and connect them with readers in their community.
Short Run is an annual one-day comix arts festival which showcases both emerging and established artists, creating a space for discovery, inspiration, and above all, quality work.
Emerald City Comic Con is a destination comic and pop culture show in the Pacific Northwest. ECCC delivers the best that the comics and pop culture industry has to offer directly from the creators, bringing super fans exactly what they crave: interaction with quality content and guests and an inclusive space to celebrate their fandom.
GeekGirlCon celebrates women in science, tech, gaming, comics, and more through an annual convention in Seattle, WA and other events.
Norwescon is a premier science fiction and fantasy convention in the Pacific Northwest, and one of the largest entirely volunteer-operated regional conventions in the United States. While maintaining a primarily literary focus, Norwescon is large enough to provide a venue for many of the other aspects of science fiction and fantasy and the interests of its fans such as comics, costuming, art, gaming, science, technology, and much, much more.
The Seattle Children’s Book Festival is a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that works to promote children’s literacy in the greater Seattle area by connecting young readers with award-winning authors and books. We put on a free festival for the public featuring award-winning children’s book authors and illustrators from all over the United States. After the festival, we deliver outstanding new books into the Seattle Public Schools that need them the most. Access to new, relevant, award-winning books should be a right, not a privilege.
The Mineral School has a bold vision to create a mountainside arts oasis in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, a place where visiting visual, performing, and literary artists will work in solitude within their studios, then connect as they wish over meals and at leisure, sharing ideas and perspectives with one another and the community. They are renewing not only the 1947 school building that serves as the setting for this vision, but also artists hoping to re-center their practice.
Hedgebrook is a literary nonprofit, whose mission is to support visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. They offer writing residencies, master classes and salons at a retreat on Whidbey Island, and public programs that connect writers with readers and audiences around the world.
Rockland is a creative residency designed to support dedicated artists and writers seeking a private space to generate new ideas, complete projects, or make artistic connections in Seattle, WA, USA.
The Seventh Wave Magazine is an arts and literary nonprofit interested in conversations, both on and offline, about the most pressing social issues of our times. Their Bainbridge Island residency offers an intimate, topic-based experience in an oasis of lush silence and space amid tall evergreens.