If you ever find yourself getting down about Spokane's supposed inability to support any event that doesn't involve pavement and athletic shoes, remind yourself of Get Lit. What started seven years ago as a modest local literary festival highlighting regional small presses, local authors and the people who read them has now become a near-monolithic affair involving Pulitzer Prize winners, wittily acerbic expatriates and even those who've lived with bounty prizes on their heads.
With some widely publicized personnel shakeups this year at the event's sponsor, EWU Press, some wondered if Get Lit would be able to get off the ground. Scott Poole, who founded Get Lit along with Christine Holbert of Sandpoint's Lost Horse Press, moved to greener pastures in Portland, where he now helms the Wordstock Book Festival. Ivar Nelson, formerly of the University of Idaho Press, has stepped in to run both EWU Press and Get Lit. Along with a dedicated consortium of press staffers, EWU coordinators and interested community members, not only has Nelson kept Get Lit's reputation for a killer lineup (this year including David Sedaris, Bob Edwards and Salman Rushdie) but he's added two days to the festival and worked in a dizzying schedule of community events (poetry slams, writers in rural schools and workshops, to name a few). Think about it - more than a week of literary gigs at venues all over town, a Met packed to the rafters with people hanging on a poet's every word, the thought of Salman Rushdie wandering around downtown and maybe discovering Boo Radley's or getting hit up for change outside the Starbucks on Main ... To our way of thinking, Hoopfest and Bloomsday ain't got nothin' on that.
First things first. Author Claire Rudolf Murphy has it on good authority that "Sacajawea" is pronounced the way we've always done it here in the Inland Northwest. Soft "j" sound, accents on the first and fourth syllables. Of course now, his