Spring Readings and Events: Charles Johnson, Lidia Yuknavitch, Alexander Chee, Ada Limón, and More

Posted Mon, 3/05/2018 - 7:57am by  |  Category:

We have a packed calendar of readings and events this Spring season, showcasing some of the best up-and-coming writers, renowned bestselling authors, and much-anticipated new books.

Hugo Literary Series

This spring wraps up the 2017-18 season of our signature Hugo Literary Series, with two dreamy lineups and new work on the Hugo House-commissioned themes “Homecoming” and “There Goes the Neighborhood” — themes that reflect the sunny optimism of our staff (we originally thought we’d be in our new home this month)!

On March 23, Joshua Ferris, bestselling author of three novels including Then We Came to the End; Melissa Febos, author of the critically acclaimed essay collection Abandon Me and the memoir Whip Smart; and award-winning poet and translator E.J. Koh, author of A Lesser Love, will all unveil new work on the theme “Homecoming.” Singer/songwriter Tomo Nakayama—named “Best Folk Act” in Seattle Weekly’s Best of Seattle 2017 and Lit Series alumnus—will perform new songs to the same theme.

Lidia Yuknavitch

The beloved Northwest writer Lidia Yuknavitch graciously stepped in to headline the final Hugo Literary Series event of the season on May 11 (Jami Attenberg was previously scheduled to appear but, due to unforeseen circumstances, could no longer attend). We can’t wait to hear what she comes up with, inspired by the theme “There Goes the Neighborhood.” Adding to a still-phenomenal lineup are poet Tarfia Faizullah, author of the remarkable collections SEAM and Registers of Illuminated Villages; and the incomparable Ijeoma Oluo, whose breakout book So You Want to Talk About Race (Seal Press) is essential reading.

Word Works: Writers on Writing

Dr. Charles Johnson

For the Word Works series, Charles Johnson, one of America’s preeminent scholars on literature and race, will speak on March 29. His most recent book, The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling is both a literary reflection on the creative impulse and a utilitarian guide to the writing process (David Guterson called it “indispensable”). Johnson will describe how plotting should proceed in the beginning, middle, and at the end of a story, reading passages from his essay “Storytelling and the Alpha Narrative” to spark what we hope will be a lively and in-depth audience Q&A.

For a poet’s perspective on craft, Ada Limón also visits for the Word Works series on April 14. In her craft talk, “Grief and Release: Poetry as Elegy,” Limón will explore why the art of the elegy has long been an obsession of poets and why it is that poetry seems to be the right art form for the exploration of loss. Her collection Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions) was a National Book Award finalist, and the forthcoming The Carrying (Milkweed Editions, August) is being called her most powerful work yet.

Other Events

In addition to our two series, we have lots of free special events this spring. Notable among these include a reading with Honor Moore on March 20. Presented in partnership with our friends at Hedgebrook, the poet, memoirist, and writer will read and discuss new work, both poetry and fiction. Moore’s most recent book, The Bishop’s Daughter, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award.

Alexander Chee makes a welcome return to the House on April 23 to launch How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. This is Chee’s first book of nonfiction and readers are understandably excited — the book was named a Most Anticipated Book of 2018 by Esquire, Book Riot, The Rumpus, Paste, and Buzzfeed; a Most Anticipated Nonfiction Title of 2018 by Bitch; and a Top 10 Essay Collection of Spring 2018 by Publishers Weekly.

Slam poet Anis Mojgani also makes a welcome return on May 1, joined by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz and Derrick C. Brown. All three are celebrating new books soon to be published by Write Bloody Publishing.

Among other book and chapbook launches is Hugo House instructor and award-winning writer Ruth Joffres publication celebration on May 10. Joffre will read stories from her debut story collection, Night Beast (Grove Atlantic/Black Cat), which Kelly Link called “nimble, audacious, and far seeing.”




Check out our calendar for a list of all upcoming events — a perfect way to stay occupied while awaiting completion of the new Hugo House.