Students’ Guide to Lit Crawl Seattle 2014

Photo Courtesy of Mike Russel,

Capitol Hill will be crawling with authors, poets, graphic novelists and literature enthusiasts this Thursday. This year marks the third annual Lit Crawl Seattle, a walking tour from 6 to 9 p.m. where over 65 local authors will present their work at 21 different venues.

The free event takes place in three 45-minute phases (plus 15 minutes breaks in between to walk to the next location), with readings at seven different locations during each phase. Most of the venues are all ages.

Lit Crawl Seattle is part of a literary movement going on in cities across the country—and in London. The Lit Crawl began as the finale to the San Francisco LitQuake, a week-long literary festival in San Francisco that is now celebrating its 15th anniversary. It then spread to Iowa City, Miami, Brooklyn, Manhattan, London, Los Angeles, Austin and Seattle. In many cities, it has been added to an already-existing literary festival, but in Seattle it is a free-standing event.

Rebekah Anderson, a writer herself, first started Lit Crawl Seattle in 2012. Since then the staff has grown to a group of seven coordinators, including other authors and journalists. Aside from these core staff members, they also have partners at each location and volunteers on the actual day to ensure everything runs smoothly.

This year’s Lit Crawl, which has been in planning since March, is aiming to be even bigger and better than in previous years. With more authors, more locations, more official sponsors and more experience, the event is quickly becoming an integral part of Seattle’s literary culture.

Though the Lit Crawl is not unique to Seattle, the context and atmosphere of the event is very local. According to Lit Crawl Seattle’s Programming Director Michelle Goodman, Seattle has a unique literary community.

“First of all, there are so many local authors here,” Goodman said. “It’s not the hugest city, but there are readings happening every night of the year.”

Seattle’s literary scene is also extremely diverse, she said.

“At Lit Crawl, we try to bring all these divergent literary groups into one spot,” Goodman said. “We’re also a very liberal-minded city, and we try to reflect that.”

One entire reading is dedicated to the topic of marijuana, where two authors will read excerpts from their books about pot. This event takes place at the Century Ballroom and is ages 21 and over.

Due in part to the presence of journalists on the Lit Crawl Board of Directors (such as Jane Hodges and Michelle Goodman), the event will also feature several non-fiction authors.

“There are readings on topics that are not traditionally literary,” said Jane Hodges, Co-Chair of the Lit Crawl. “But nonfiction writing about things we’re all experiencing, told in narrative style, can be just as interesting as an invented world.”

An all-ages reading titled “They’ve Got Issues” focuses on social justice issues. The reading will take place at Office Nomads and will include a reading from Kshama Sawant, a popular socialist city council member.

There is something for everyone at this year’s Lit Crawl. Some other literary genres that will be featured include environmental poetry, graphic novels, comics, shorts stories, fairy tales, crime writing and more.

“It’s a fun mash-up,” Hodges said. She hopes it will attract an equally diverse group of people.

“People who care about income inequality may go to readings to hear about that, which will bring the political world and the literary world together,” Hodges said.

Students interested in literature or other topics covered in the Lit Crawl are encouraged to attend.

“If you’re a writer with aspirations to create work, there is a lot to be gained,” Goodman said. “You can see how other people do it, and learn about different styles.”

The event offers a mix of experience levels from which to learn. Many of the featured authors are early in their career, and several are more well-known, established authors. The environment is very friendly and informal, with many opportunities to mingle.

“There’s not much separation between the reader or performer and the audience,” Goodman said. “You’re all there together; it’s almost like a house party.”

This makes it easy to talk to the authors themselves after their readings or at the Lit Crawl after-party, open to all ages, at 9 p.m. at Hugo House on Capitol Hill.

Much more than just a collection of book readings, the Lit Crawl is an opportunity to learn about Seattle’s culture, visit interesting local venues, celebrate local literature and build community.

Seattle Lit Crawl will take place this Thursday, Oct. 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. at various local venues. For a full list of events, visit

The editor may be reached at [email protected]