Writers and artists flooded Capitol Hill on Thursday night armed with novels, poems and comic books. These speakers were filling bars, bookstores, cafes and libraries, ready to share their work with the dozens of Seattleites who attended this year’s Lit Crawl.
The Lit Crawl celebrated its fifth year in Seattle with more than 35 readings and over 80 readers and performers. The event happens for one night once a year, and the artists involved are all Pacific Northwest based. Their work spans over an array of different topics, genres and mediums. The concept of Lit Crawl Seattle is founded from the San Francisco based literary festival, Litquake, which also parents Lit Crawls in Portland, Los Angeles, Boston, Manhattan and Cheltenham. Lit Crawl Seattle is also based specifically in the Capitol and First Hill neighborhood—making this literature walk convenient for Seattle University students to stop by throughout the evening.
Volunteers primarily organized the Lit Crawl, and decided to create five phases this year, spanning from 6 until 9:45 p.m., with an afterparty at 10 p.m. Each phase had five to twelve different options for viewers to attend, focusing on anything from poetry to comics. The artists featured allow for a diverse audience, and the phases do a good job of presenting a large array of topics to cater to all viewers.
In the first phase, listeners had multiple choices on which event to attend, ranging from visual storytelling to poetry to shared pieces of literature. With visual storytelling, local comic book artists read from their pieces of work. The artists featured included Amy Camber, Robyn Jordan, Owen Curtsinger and Lauren Armstrong.
Artist Owen Curtsinger has been creating comics since he was a young boy, but has been seriously focused on visual storytelling for about five years. He shared his beautifully illustrated comic called “Birkeland” during the first phase of readings.
Curtsinger said, “[I like to write about] Interesting stories that I want to translate into that visual narrative, like Birkeland, I happened to read a biography about him and I just kind of started thinking that this would make a really cool comic.”
Although Curtsinger never went to school for illustrating, he has been making art since he was young and went on to study writing in school.
After the reading, Curtsinger said he enjoys focusing his work on concepts that are off the beaten path and would make a good visual interpretation.
“It’s just kind of a labor of love,” said Curtsinger.
The visual storytelling event took place at Ada’s Technical Books, and the wooden benches that filled the small back room were completely filled with listeners.
One of these audience members was Aaron Burke. He was particularly impressed with speaker Lauren Armstrong, the first artist to share her work. Burke also explained that this was the first time he had attended the Lit Crawl.
“I didn’t really know what to expect because this was my first Lit Crawl but I definitely enjoyed it. I enjoyed hearing local artists talk about their books,” Burke said.
As the night progressed, writers and artists continued to fill the rooms they presented in with eager listeners. Local artists Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring presented their letterpress series, “Dead Feminists,” at Ada’s Technical Books.
Taylor Graham, a senior computer science major at Seattle U, attended Lit Crawl for the first time in order to see the successful artists speak about their work.
“I’m just really interested in somewhat dying arts and letterpress isn’t quite as common as it used to be,” Graham said,” I looked at these artists and I saw some of their works and I really enjoyed it and the detail they take in every print is really incredible.”
The Lit Crawl occurs once a year for one night only and brings together a community who appreciates the arts. The organizers of the event aim to provide a number of local artists the opportunity to speak to an audience about their work and to provide Seattleites with the ability to see a deeper level of their writing.
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