Get Lit! 2012

Last week’s installment of Spokane’s annual literary festival offered many famous authors.

The annual April gathering of words and wordsmiths was once again a success. The Bing was filled for the American Place Theatre’s presentation of “The Giver”. The panels at the Hagan Foundation were well attended as were the community workshops for youth and aspiring writers.

My favorite new venue was the Founders Theater at Saint George’s School. That was where Sherry Jones read from her upcoming novel, “Four Sisters, All Queens”. You know her from her other works, “The Jewel of Medina” and “The Sword of Medina”. As we left the auditorium, we could hear wild turkeys on the hill above. Stochastic.

We also attended a unique presentation of “The Giver” at the Bing Crosby Theater.  It started with a reading from Lois Lowry, the author. She read from her fourth book in the series, “Son”. Following intermission, the story was presented as a play, a one person, abridged version brought to life by a virtuoso performance from Mara Stephens.

My favorite presenter was Susan Orlean from The New Yorker. She spoke about her newest book, “Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend” and various other aspects of her writing career. Her humor and ethical passion were inspiring. She gave me hope that journalism will survive this current era of infotainment.

I regret missing HooPalousa. Imagine a group of famous and not so famous local literary faculty, such as award-winning author and WSU professor Sherman Alexie, going at it on the court – sporting fogged safety glasses while talking literary smack and missing shots from three feet out. (My money was on the Spokane Dirty Realists) And all the proceeds go to a graduate fellowship in creative writing. Priceless.

Oh well, maybe next year. And speaking of next year, it’s never too early to plan.

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Get Lit! 2011

Spokane’s literary festival emerges smaller but stronger.

Shortly after the 2010 Get Lit! festival, the EWU Press stopped its presses … forever. The Press had been the driving force behind the festival, and its demise left the event’s future in question. The question has been answered.

This week, Get Lit!

The MAC is just one of the festival’s many venues.

emerged from the shadows of doubt as a leaner, stronger festival. The schedule was halved and more events involved a fee, but there was still plenty of variety and most of the events remained free. The venues, including the Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture and several college campuses, continued to be of the highest quality.

 
I was not able to attend any readings but was lucky enough to see two lively panels, the first with my youngest daughter. I also caught the finishing festivities across town at the MAC.
 

Waiting to be introduced.

             The panel discussion authors included Brenda Peterson, Jack Nisbet, Luke Baumgarten, Jordy Byrd and others.

Insight.

The subject matter ranged from late night taxi rides to grieving beluga mothers. Between sessions there were numerous opportunities to talk with authors and see their work. Once again, it was an undeniable success. I believe the streamlined schedule will serve as a model for future festivals as well.

EWU-RP campus.

Riverpoint campus venue.
Phase 1 venue.
MAC.

Next year’s theme is “Capture the World” and runs from April 11th – 15th. Hope to see everyone there.

I Have Not Been Rendered

Just a very brief note to anyone wondering. I have not been rendered for comments against authority. I am simply in the midst of an extremely heavy writing month and have had little time to post. It seems lately almost every minute has been filled with drinking coffee and eating prose. (You are what you eat.)

Coffee dreams.

I want to offer a quick congratulations to the Eastern Eagles on their shared title in the Big Sky and birth in the sub-division playoffs. At least there is one team in this state that knows how to win consistently.

I won’t be absent much longer. Until then, hang in there all you Nanowrimo’s.

Got Lit!

The latest version of Spokane’s Get Lit! literary festival wrapped up Wednesday night at the newly renovated Fox Theater. Other venues hosting events throughout the week  included Auntie’s Bookstore, the Davenport Hotel and several college campuses. 

The Jundt Art Museum, Gonzaga University, one of several college venues.

Most of the events were free and all were worthy of attendance. I was lucky enough to sit in on panels and readings that included Jess Walter, Sallie Tisdale, David Laskin and Anna Lappe. The subjects discussed were as diverse as the writers, ranging from LBJ’s favorite soda to the evils of pop-tarts. Fiction, non-fiction and poetry were all represented. 

As much as I was able to see, there was even more that I couldn’t. Authors I missed included Janet Fitch, Richard Russo and Dr. Reza Aslan. Contests, panels and poetry slams filled eight days of literary mayhem. 

The festival ended under a cloud of uncertainty. The EWU Press, founder and major underwriter of Get Lit!, will be closing this spring due to budget constraints. No one knows exactly how this will impact the 2011 event. Hopefully the damage will be mitigated by other schools and businesses. Perhaps next year, one of the lively panel discussions will be on the salient topic of funding literary festivals.  

Auntie's, an annual Get Lit! venue.