Even in this unusual year, when the Get Lit! Festival will be delivered to our homes via the internet instead of filling venues throughout Spokane, there is a pretty incredible array of opportunities to hear from amazing poets and authors about their work. You can find the entire slate for this year at getlitfestival2021.sched.com, including which events are on YouTube, which require registration for a Zoom session, and which require tickets or book purchases to take part.
Here are a few of this year's highlights we found while perusing the schedule.
UNMAKING THE PATRIARCHY OF THE MIND
Mon, April 12, 5:30 pm, free
Patriarchal values exist in the minds of many without realizing, so it's important to discuss and unlearn them. At this Get Lit! event, five women writers will share their work while discussing how they write against patriarchal expectations overtly and implicitly. The panel includes Brooke Matson (Spokane writer, educator and founding executive director of Spark Central), Sonora Jh (a journalist in Mumbai and Bangalore before moving to the U.S.), Alexandra Teague (University of Idaho professor who recently published the poetry book Or What We'll Call Desire), Kristen Millares Young (author of the novel Subduction) and former Spokane poet laureate Laura Read (author of Dresses from the Old Country). (SPENCER BROWN)
How to Get Lit!So, how does this online-only version of Get Lit! work, exactly?
As with any festival, it starts with the schedule, which you can find at getlitfestival2021.sched.com. You'll want to create a free account through Sched, the virtual event app, and as you scroll through the list and find events that interest you, you'll be able to register and save them to an online planner.
Most readings and author roundtables are prerecorded and free to attend, and they will be preserved on the Get Lit! YouTube channel after the festival. Live post-reading Q&As will be streamed through YouTube Live — if you register for these events, you will receive an access link — and attendees can ask their questions through the site's chat function.
For a more interactive experience, check out the "Conversations Over Coffee" series hosted by Erin Popelka, which will occur Monday through Thursday at 9 am and allows festivalgoers to drop in for casual conversations about the festival, or about what they've been reading lately.
There are a few events that require a paid admission. To attend "Pie School" with Kate Lebo (April 14), you'll need to purchase a copy of Lebo's new collection, The Book of Difficult Fruit. You'll also have your choice of participating in four different craft classes — two on Friday, two on Saturday — that will cost you $35 (see details at inside.ewu.edu/getlit/festival). These events have a capacity of 25 people, so get your tickets now.
WE THE INDIGENOUS
Mon, April 12, 7 pm, free
In collaboration with virtual reading series We the Indigenous, Get Lit! welcomes four Indigenous authors whose works range from poetic prose to personal essays. Featured authors Tiffany Midge, Elissa Washuta, Jake Skeets and D.A. Navoti are all from the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. Midge, citizen of Standing Rock Sioux Nation, was a 2020 Washington State Book Award finalist for her book Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese's. Washuta is a nonfiction writer and member of the Cowlitz tribe, whose book White Magic will be published in April. Skeets, member of the Navajo Nation, is the winner of the National Poetry Series and author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers. The final speaker, Navoti, is the original founder of We the Indigenous and a creative nonfiction and poetry prose writer. They'll each read from their own work, followed by a discussion led by Navoti. (NATALIE RIETH)
KINK WITH R.O. KWAN
Wed, April 14, 7 pm, free
What goes on in the bedroom has long been a taboo subject. Now the world of kinks are being discussed in ways unseen before. Published in February, Kink is an anthology of literary fiction that brings the often unspoken topics of love, desire and BDSM to the forefront. The anthology was edited by R.O. Kwon and Garth Greenwell, and features works from writers such as Roxane Gay, Carmen Maria Machado and Zeyn Joukhadar. While power play is a large part of the kink community, the real power of Kink's stories are the revelations drawn from examining what goes on in the private sphere. For this discussion, Kwon (author of The Incendiaries) will be joined by intersex trans fem author Vanessa Clark, artist and writer Larissa Pham, and trans writer and editor Callum Angus. (SB)
PIE SCHOOL/PIE, PANDEMIC, WHISKEY & TEARS
Pie School Wed, April 14 at 5 pm, entrance requires purchase of Kate Lebo's new book, Difficult Fruit, from Auntie's (auntiesbooks.com/pie-school-kate-lebo); Pie & Whiskey Thu, April 15 at 8 pm, free
Technically speaking, you could go to either of these events on their own and be a happy camper, but learning how to make your own killer pie from author/pie lady Kate Lebo at Pie School that you can then serve to your household for this year's virtual version of Pie & Whiskey seems so much cooler. You'll note the new name for Get Lit!'s traditional Thursday night affair of slices, shots and stories, a reflection of the strange year we've had since last March. Even with added doses of pandemic and tears, though, you can bet the tales coming your way via YouTube from the likes of Jess Walter, Tiffany Midge, Inlander columnist CMarie Fuhrman, Steve Almond, Melissa Huggins, Gary Copeland Lilley, Phong Nguyen, and Pie & Whiskey co-founders Lebo and Samuel Ligon will hit the spot. (DAN NAILEN)
GRAPHIC NOVELS: LIFE ILLUSTRATED
Thurs, April 15, 5:30 pm, free
The five graphic novelists on this panel intertwine writing and visual art to embody themes of friendship, LGBTQ+ coming of age stories, race, gentrification, the prison system, World War II-era Japanese internment camps, and navigating life through fairy tales. Trung Le Nguyen, Sloane Leong, Kiku Hughes, Mike Curato and Ben Passmore will discuss what it takes to write a vibrant graphic novel, and how to engage with artists' illustrations. Nguyen, also known as Trungles, is a Vietnamese-American comic book artist born in a Philippines refugee camp. Leong, a self-taught artist who's been self-publishing her own comics since 16, is an artist and writer of Hawaiian, Mexican, Native American and European ancestries. Hughes is a Seattle-based cartoonist and illustrator whose first graphic novel, Displacement, was published in 2020. Curato's 2014 debut Little Elliot, Big City, has been translated to over 10 languages and won multiple awards. The final panel guest, Passmore, is the author of DAYGLOAYHOLE, Goodbye and Your Black Friend. (NR)
THE PERFORMANCE OF POETRY
Fri, April 16, 11:30 am, $35
Michael Kleber-Diggs (pictured) will discuss the role of the performance of poetry for modern-day poets, and how they can best thrive on stage. Kleber-Diggs is a poet, essayist and literary critic whose writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Additionally, he is a past winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry, a past fellow with the Givens Foundation for African-America Literature and the former poet laureate of Anoka County libraries in Blaine, Minnesota. Kleber-Diggs' poetry collection Worldly Things that will be published by Milkweed Editions in June 2021 won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize. The workshop will also cover how performance of poetry can lead to career opportunities, successful performance techniques, and ways it is a useful tool in the poetry editing process. The class will be ticketed and limited to 25 participants; tickets can be purchased through the event listing the Get Lit! schedule website. (NR)
TRANSFORMATIVE JUSTICE: UNCAGING CREATIVITY
Fri, April 16th, 2 pm, free
Get Lit! and the Magic Lantern theater are offering a screening of 16 Bars, which portrays the lives of four inmates who take part in a unique rehabilitation effort that involves writing and recording their own music. Todd Thomas, better known as group leader Speech from hip-hop crew Arrested Development, is featured in the film and will be at Get Lit! He'll be joined by criminal justice advocate Marlon Peterson, author of Bird Uncaged, an abolitionist memoir with a new vision of justice. After a reading from Bird Uncaged, Speech and Peterson will be in conversation about transformative justice with Dr. Martín Meráz García, Chicana/o/x Studies professor at Eastern Washington University. (SB) ♦