Christmas Claims Its Literary Victims

With Lit Fix and Origin Stories, December 14 is effectively the last day of Seattle’s 2016 lit calendar.

Leland Cheuck. Courtesy of the artist.

We’re coming up on the end of the year, and the number of available literary events aise rapidly declining. Don’t get me wrong—there are still plenty of readings between now and the end of the year, but this is the one time of year when literary-minded folks are not spoiled for choice; rather than three or four good options a day, Seattle’s readers are lucky to get one.

In fact, it’s looking as though Wednesday, Dec. 14 is the last day of the normal Seattle reading calendar for 2016. It’s a big blowout of a night, with two group readings happening on Capitol Hill, and it’s your best opportunity for a fun literary event over the next three weeks or so.

First up is the 15th installment of the Lit Fix reading series at Chop Suey. You’ll enjoy a rare Seattle appearance from Brooklyn novelist Leland Cheuck, whose The Misadventures of Sulliver Pong follows one Asian-American family, Forrest Gump-like, through some of the darkest moments in American history. Cheuck is joined by Seattle writer Steven Barker—whose memoir about working in the temp economy, Now for the Disappointing Part, is anything but disappointing—and the remarkably prolific Lori A. May. Seattle native Sasha LaPointe, best known for her accounts of her Nooksack heritage and intergenerational trauma, capably rounds out the docket.

Like most Lit Fixes, this reading celebrates writers at just the right point in their careers: when they have a book or two under their belts and they’re just starting to develop a real following. If you want to see tomorrow’s superstars in a casual, supportive environment, Lit Fix is for you.

But another group reading that can’t be ignored is happening across town at the Pine Box at the exact same time. Four terrific Seattle writers, each with a strong and devoted following, join forces to read new work on the theme of “Origin Stories.”

These are names you see a lot around town: Bellingham poet Robert Lashley, Seattle poets Sarah Galvin and Michelle Peñaloza, and Jessica Mooney, an up-and-coming writer of short fiction. Any one of them could headline any number of events around town, but the four together should make for an unforgettable evening, especially since they’re sharing new work having to do with origins, an incredibly potent starting point for a shared group reading.

There’s always a little manic energy around readings at this time of year. Audiences can get a little thin because an office Christmas party or family matters need attention. Writers are pre-annoyed by all the gaudy consumerism in the air. And the folks who do show up are likely to be misanthropic and sick of all the holiday ceremony. In other words, late-year readings are the perfect recipe for a memorable evening. Paul Constant is the co-founder of The Seattle Review of Books. Read daily books coverage like this at Lit Fix, Chop Suey, 1325 E. Madison St., $5. 21 and over. 7 p.m. Wed., Dec. 14. Origin Stories, Pine Box, 1600 Melrose Ave., Free. 21 and over. 8 p.m. Wed., Dec. 14.

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