August 2020

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08/03/2020 - 5:00pm

Virtual Event
Emily Levesque with Zach Weinersmith
Virtual Event
University of Washington Astronomy Professor Emily Levesque studies massive stellar astrophysics and the use of massive stars as cosmological tools. Tonight she celebrates the publication of her first book for general audiences. The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy's Vanishing Explorers (Sourcebooks) takes readers inside the most powerful telescopes in the world and introduces them to the people who run them. She also explores the future of one of the most ancient and inspiring scientific disciplines as we gain the ability to see farther beyond our planet than ever before while relying increasingly on code and computers to study the stars. A past winner of the 2014 Annie Jump Cannon award, earlier this year, she was awarded a 2020 Newton Lacy Pierce  prize for young astronomers for outstanding achievement in observational astronomical research from  the American Astronomical Society. "Warm, engaging and packed with highly accessible science, The Last Stargazers is thoroughly entertaining and an impetus for readers to take up a little stargazing of their own." - Shelf Awareness. "The Last Stargazers is perfect for anyone who has ever wondered what it's like to actually be an astronomer, or who has dreamt of staring up at the stars. Amidst the stories of mishaps and mistakes is a surprisingly romantic view of the glory of exploration, taken one dark night at a time." - Dr. Chris Lintott, BBC The Sky at Night. Astronomer Emily Levesque, author of The Last Stargazers, appears in conversation with Zach Weinersmith. Zach Weinersmith draws the daily comic strip Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal and co-wrote the New York Times bestselling pop science book "Soonish." He and his wife run the Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses, a celebration of original incorrect theories of science, at MIT and Imperial College London during years when there isn't a worldwide pandemic. Pre-signed copies of The Last Stargazers will be available for purchase from the Elliott Bay Book Company.    Event Link  
 

08/03/2020 - 8:00pm

Virtual Event
Mark Gevisser with Samantha Allen
Virtual Event
If author Mark Gevisser is dialing in for this evening’s program from home, then he is dialing in from ‘tomorrow,’ as he resides in Cape Town, South Africa. Wherever he lives, he has written a significant, major new work, The Pink Line: Journeys Across the World’s Queer Frontiers (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). He will be conversed with for this by Samantha Allen, author of Real Queer America, and who has already had this to say about The Pink Line: “No one understands queerness from an armchair — and few have captured that truth better than Mark Gevisser. The Pink Line is a vital exploration of queerness around the globe, searching and intimate but also expansive in its scope. Like all the best writing about LGBTQ lives, this book clearly changed its author. It would be impossible not to be transformed by the reading of it.” "In this masterful recounting of sexuality and identity around the globe, Mark Gevisser achieves an almost shocking empathy. His accounts are riveting, brilliantly researched, liberal, and forthright. He talks to people with and without privilege, of every race and of every nationality, limning the aspects of queer experience that are universal and those that are local. In intimate, often tender prose, he brings to life the complex movement for queer civil rights and the many people on whom it bears. Whether recounting suffering or triumph, Gevisser is a clear-sighted, fearless, and generous guide." —Andrew Solomon. Presented by Town Hall Arts & Culture in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   Event Link  
 

08/04/2020 - 6:00pm

Virtual Event
Molly Wizenberg with Kate Schatz
Virtual Event
A few months later than intended for all concerned, we are delighted, COVID-19-induced delays and all, to finally be helping launch Seattle writer Molly Wizenberg’s utterly engaging new book, The Fixed Stars: A Memoir (Abrams), into the world with this virtual reading and conversation tonight. In her newest book, she has written a thoughtful and provocative story of changing identity, complex sexuality, and enduring family relationships. At age 36, while serving on a jury, otherwise more or less assuming her life’s course was set,  Molly Wizenberg found herself drawn to a female attorney working a case, this when she had been married to a man (who was also her business partner) for nearly a decade and mother to a toddler. This book, with lay-it-on-the-line frankness and vulnerability that is also discreet, chronicles what would happen, how Molly Wizenberg’s life would fundamentally alter. “The Fixed Stars is a nuanced look into two subjects frequently depicted as binary: love and sexuality. Wizenberg writes of her journey into queerness with tenderness and curiosity, two essential qualities for any sort of entry into new lands. This book spoke directly to my heart. Read it.”— Esmé Weijun Wang. “Interwoven throughout with research insights into the complexity of female sexual identity, Wizenberg's book not only offers a glimpse into the shifting nature of selfhood; it also celebrates one woman's hard-won acceptance of her own sexual difference. A courageous and thought-provoking memoir.”— Kirkus Reviews.  Joining Molly Wizenberg in conversation this evening will be Kate Schatz, the Bay Area-based author, activist, historian, and educator, most known for her bestselling Rad Women series of books, including Rad American Women A-Z, Rad Girls Can, Rad Women Worldwide, and Rad American History A-Z. Molly Wizenberg herself is the author of earlier acclaimed memoirs, A Homemade Life and Delancey, and, with Brandon Pettit, co-founded the award-winning Seattle restaurants Delancey and Essex. This should all be a delight. Please join us.  Presented by The Elliott Bay Book Company with promotional support from LitHub.   Event Link  
 
 
 
 
 

08/07/2020 - 5:00pm

Virtual Event
Isabel Wilkerson
Virtual Event
Ten years after Isabel Wilkerson's ground-breaking, Pulitzer Prize-winning epic account of the Great Migration north by Black Americans, The Warmth of Other Suns, she returns with an astounding new book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Random House). Timely and timeless in its range and scope, this book could and should shift and alter fundamental perspectives on how race and related matters are viewed, perceived, experienced, understood. She does deep reading and research in the U.S., but also examines India - somewhere people think of where the word 'caste' is used - and shows how and why, including connections between here and there. She also examines how Nazi Germany studied the U.S. and its Jim Crow policies for helping formulate what would become their genocidal practices against Jewish people in Europe. She also uses personal anecdotes and stories - those of others and her own - to show how pervasive the place of caste is here. "In this powerful and extraordinarily timely social history, Pulitzer winner Wilkerson investigates the origins, evolution, and inner workings of America's 'shape-shifting, unspoken' caste system. Tracking the inception of the country's race-based "ranking of human value" to the arrival of the first slave ship in 1619, Wilkerson draws on the works of anthropologists, geneticists, and social economists to uncover the arbitrariness of racial divisions, and finds startling parallels to the caste systems of India and Nazi Germany ... Wilkerson cites studies showing that black Americans have the highest rates of stress-induced chronic diseases of all ethnic groups in the U.S., and that a third of African Americans hold anti-black biases against themselves. Incisive autobiographical anecdotes and captivating portraits of black pioneers including baseball pitcher Satchel Paige and husband-and-wife anthropologists Allison and Elizabeth Davis reveal the steep price U.S. society pays for limiting the potential of black Americans. This enthralling exposé deserves a wide and impassioned readership." - Publishers Weekly. This is a book to reckon with. The event will include a talk by Isabel Wilkerson, followed by a conversation with a special guest. The author will also answer audience questions, which may be submitted via the Q&A function at the time of the event. A portion of the ticket proceeds will be donated to the Northwest African American Museum and to Tasveer.   Event Link  
 

08/08/2020 - 6:00pm

Free Shipping or Curbside Pickup by Appointment for Online Orders
TO THE ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY COMMUNITY I’ve become the dullest of correspondents with distant family and friends. As each week now seems exactly identical to the one before, I find I have little new or particularly interesting to say, and hear myself repeating the same dull commonplace particulars over and over. And time has taken on shifting subjectivities, such that the beginning of each week appears a steep mountain of hours and days to be scaled, yet by the end of the week incidents that occured at its onset seem to have happened only a day or two ago. Of many more distant events, whether some happened a month, or three, or six or more ago I often can’t reliably recall, since they all belong to a prior and ever more distant reality. In short, I’ve become thoroughly a creature of this confining present, itself maddeningly contradictory in the sense of partial safety it promises, and the degree of deprivation it imposes. But then, thank goodness, there are books. I find in that hour or so at the weary end of each day, a cache of space and time for my imagination to roam free-- it’s the primary nourishment of what sanity I manage to retain. I began by devouring mysteries by some of my current favorite authors: Peter May, Donna Leon, and, particularly, Fred Vargas. Currently I’m immersed in Moby Dick-- a book which-- I abashedly admit, I’ve not previously succeeded in traversing cover to cover. This time I will-- with much delight. It’s been bringing me every day delicious passages, such as:   There are certain queer times and occasions in this strange mixed affair we call life when a man takes this whole universe for a vast practical joke, though the wit thereof he but barely discerns, and more than suspects that the joke is at no one’s expense but his own.   So I’m thinking today of you, dear reader, and hoping the worlds you’re visiting on the page continue to offer the respite, or escape, consolation or stimulation to keep you buoyant through the challenges ahead. With my best wishes to all.
Peter
5/1/20
    TO THE ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY COMMUNITY So here we all are-- plodding toward the end of the fifth week of this segment of the strange new reality. Let’s call this chapter “Sequestered.” Anchored to our homes, we reach through ethereal channels to touch virtual fingertips, and the deficient though essential  reassurance of community and continuity thus achievable.  Here at the bookstore, four or five of us at any given time move quietly-- safely distanced-- around the dormant space. The floorboards fail to creak at our spectral passing, awaiting the corporeal weight of your returned tread to restore their voices. The shelves tower stolidly, the book jackets’ faces glazed, awaiting the gaze of present eyes, the reach of garnering fingers. We--as I suspect is generally the case-- have fallen into a rhythm, a routine for these bizarre conditions-- and have acclimatized to the pattern, actually clinging to it, while disdaining its imposition. A situational Stockholm syndrome. The distressing paradox of now. For us, here, it’s the disturbing abstraction of providing books, without, in many cases, touching them, to you-- dear readers-- without seeing, without speaking with you. And so very grateful to be able to do as much. And it’s your comments-- your encouragement-- the expressions of love for this book place-- that keep us linked to the reality of future return to actual presence. Speed the day when we can meet again within these walls, along these aisles, among these books. In the meantime, be safe, resilient, and hopeful.  With my best wishes.
Peter
4/24/20
    TO THE ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY COMMUNITY I came upon this poem a little while ago and it’s given me a lot of comfort in recent weeks— lending resolve on those despairing mornings, and offering a measure of calm in the multiple deep night panicked awakenings.   Quoth the hummingbird whose dance I watch through my kitchen window this darkest of mornings: Keep your faith bright and your wings in motion the air will hold you up.   I hope it might provide you too with a small beam of light in the darkness we’re navigating together. With best wishes to all.
Peter
4/17/20
    TO THE ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY COMMUNITY As we near the end of the third week of the shutdown, I find myself thinking frequently of the word “essential.” We see it as an official designation of individuals (healthcare professionals, delivery drivers) and institutions (pharmacies, liquor stores). It leads me to wonder what really is essential-- at least in my life. Shelter; food; connection with loved ones, friends, colleagues; connection with the natural world; the comfort and inspiration of the written word. Though I’d never associated the word “essential,” I’ve always thought of this bookstore-- as of manifold independent bookstores-- as a vital part of the civil fabric of our city. A place where lovers of the book can come together in safety and community and graze among the shelves; a place offering close encounters with the creators of thought and dream and verbal music; a place to find information or advice to guide the thirsty reader to a satisfying spring. That is why, throughout the years, through blizzard, earthquake, riot, global economic meltdown (and we have weathered all of these), our first dedication has been to keep the store open-- as a haven offering the sense of comfort and continuity our community has craved. And that’s what makes the current crisis so fundamentally different from every past exigency. Just as we stay in contact with family and dear ones through phone, zoom, whatever connective technology, so we are doing what we can to be here for you-- though it’s all a pale substitute for free proximity. The messages we’ve received of support, encouragement, alliance, are inestimably inspiriting and my heart overflows with gratitude to you. What has always been obvious is that you are essential to us-- without you there is no Elliott Bay Book Company. Your engagement with our work has always been our foremost responsibility and our highest privilege.  So it’s with profound appreciation that I send my best wishes, with hopes to welcome you safely once again through our front door-- as soon as may be.
Peter
4/10/20
    TO THE ELLIOTT BAY BOOK COMPANY COMMUNITY I’m writing with overwhelming gratitude for the ongoing support we’ve received-- not just the orders (and every order makes a difference in helping us get through the shutdown and out the other side), but also for the expressions of concern, encouragement and commitment to the welfare of the bookstore. You are providing not only the means, but equally importantly, the inspiration to keep working toward that day when we can reopen our doors and come together again in safety and renewed community. I want to thank you for the history we share, your support in the present we’re navigating together, and the future to which we all aspire. With best wishes for the welfare of all.
Peter Aaron
Owner
4/3/20
 
 
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08/09/2020 - 7:30pm

Virtual Event
Barney Scout Mann
Virtual Event
We believe renowned mountaineering writer Barney Scout Mann will be discussing his newest book, Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail (The Mountaineers), from some point well south of here, as he is generally based in California. He was certainly up this way, writing of hiking the length of the Pacific Crest Trail in this venturesome new book, a journey the seasoned long-distance hiker handled with relative (relative) aplomb. This book admirably serves armchair purposes and at the same time will tempt and inspire the intrepid at heart. Why not? Presented by Town Hall Science series in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   event link  
 

08/10/2020 - 6:00pm

Virtual Event
Susan Hough with Sandi Doughton
Virtual Event
In the first half of the twentieth century, when seismology was still in its infancy, renowned geologist Bailey Willis faced off with fellow high-profile scientist Robert T. Hill in a debate with life-or-death consequences for the millions of people migrating west. Their conflict centered on a consequential question: Is southern California earthquake country? Pasadena based research seismologist Susan Hough’s book, The Great Quake Debate: The Crusader, the Skeptic, and the Rise of Modern Seismology (University of Washington Press) tells the story of this debate, which took place as severe earthquakes in Santa Barbara and Long Beach caused scores of deaths and damage. The Great Quake Debate reflects some of the questions that scientists face today as they decide how to report bad news to communities. Susan Hough is also the author of Earthshaking Science: What We Know (and Don't Know) about Earthquakes and Richter's Scale: Measure of an Earthquake, Measure of a Man. She appears in conversation with Seattle Times reporter and science journalist, Sandi Doughton, author of Full-Rip 9.0: The Next Big Earthquake in the Pacific Northwest. Co-presented by University of Washington Press and the Elliott Bay Book Company.   Event link  
 

08/11/2020 - 5:00pm

Virtual Event
David Litt
Virtual Event
David Litt, former speechwriter for President Obama and former head writer and producer for Funny or Die, joins the King County Democrats as part of their Summer Speaker Series, speaking on democratic reform, strategies to ensure Democratic wins in 2020, and priorities for 2021. David Litt’s most recent book is, Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn't, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think (Ecco Press).  “In this snappy and well-informed dissection of the current state of American democracy, Obama administration speechwriter Litt (Thanks, Obama) claims that "our representative government may be representing someone, but it isn't us." Combining solid historical analysis, substantive political science, and wry humor, Litt examines myriad ways that "politics have changed for the worse" over the past 40 years and offers issue-by-issue suggestions for reform. He documents a 500% increase since the 1970s in the number of Americans disenfranchised because of a felony conviction, notes that "60 percent of U.S. senators are elected by just 24 percent of the voters," and compares America's low voter turnout to the rest of the world ("We're slightly ahead of Latvia. So that's nice."). Litt also laments the "rightward lurch" of Republican lawmakers and their judicial appointments, the loosening of campaign finance restrictions, the influence of corporate lobbyists on policy making, and the obstructionism of Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell. The author's ideas "to stop the decay of our republic" include automatic voter registration, ranked choice voting, and requiring a Supreme Court supermajority to overturn federal law. Both optimistic and clear-eyed, this quip-filled call to action will resonate strongly with young progressives.” -Publishers Weekly   Event Link    
 

08/11/2020 - 6:00pm

Virtual Event
Somaiya Daud with Arkady Martine
Virtual Event
Somaiya Daud’s event with us for her debut young adult fantasy novel, Mirage (Flatiron), a book influenced by the author's Moroccan heritage and her love of Arabic poetry,  was one of 2018’s summer season highlights. Mirage was named a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a Booklist Top 10 Scifi/Fantasy Book for Youth, an IndieNext Pick and a Children's Africana Book Award Honor Book for Older Readers. She returns to us virtually for an early evening reading and  conversation in celebration of the second and final novel in this series, Court of Lions. In this book, poetic dreamer Amani has been torn from the boy she loves and has given up contact with her fellow rebels to protect her family. In taking risks for the rebel cause, Amani may have lost Princess Maram's trust forever. But the princess is more complex than she seems. "Lush and dangerous, Mirage had me entranced. Amani's journey--from rural innocent to calculating young woman, from village girl to royal impersonator--is galactic. Daud's novel asks, 'what does it mean to impersonate your enemy?' And the answer she provides here is nothing short of thrilling. I was here for all of it, and I desperately need to know what happens next." --Tochi Onyebuchi, author of Beasts Made of Night.   “In the conclusion to the Mirage duology, identity and self-acceptance are inextricably tied to revolution and the dismantling of colonial oppression and power...Daud continues to explore aspects of colonialism, from cultural erasure to self-hatred, action versus complicity, and liberation from structural oppression. ”-Kirkus Reviews. Somaiya Daud, a former bookseller at Politics and Prose, recently received a Ph. D in English Literature studies with a focus on world literature and nineteenth-century orientalism at the University of Washington. She will appear in conversation with speculative fiction writer Arkady Martine, author of A Memory Called Empire (Tor). Arkady Martine is also known as Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a historian of the Byzantine Empire and a city planner.   Event Link  
 

08/12/2020 - 7:30pm

Virtual Event
David Sheff
Virtual Event
Most known for his book, Beautiful Boy, the writing of which, along with much else David Sheff has written, has been about struggles people have with crippling addiction, with what devastation may be in their lives consequently, and for their seeking of healing and redemption. The latter are addressed in a different way in his powerful new book, The Buddhist on Death Row (Simon and Schuster). Here he tells the story of Jarvis Jay Masters, on death row in San Quentin since 1990, now known within and beyond prison walls as a remarkable Buddhist practitioner. “This book celebrates a liberation not gained by guns and gangs, prison breaks and murder, but by sitting with one’s breath and believing in the perfection of the universe and all who strive and suffer within it. The Buddhist on Death Row is a deeply useful reminder that we can all be free regardless of where we are placed.”—Alice Walker.  “This profound, gorgeous book displays the miraculous human capacity to find redemption, and even joy, no matter who or where we are. Jarvis Masters’ story proves that we are all united by our suffering and by our potential to help others who suffer.”—Sr. Helen Prejean. “I’m a friend of Jarvis Masters, so I know the truth of this book, but I want to hail its power. I believe it will encourage many people to examine their own lives and their unrealized potential for awareness, generosity, commitment, and courage.”—Rebecca Solnit. Presented by Town Hall Arts & Culture in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   Event link  
 
 

08/14/2020 - 6:00pm

Virtual Event
Akwaeke Emezi with J Mase III
Virtual Event
We are thrilled to welcome back, albeit virtually, novelist Akwaeke Emezi, who now has two acclaimed books out since their appearance at Elliott Bay for the astounding debut novel, Freshwater, only two years ago. Occasioning this occasion is publication of The Death of Vivek Oji (Riverhead), a new novel for adults - and what a novel it is. The fate of the central character is given in the book’s title, then is spelled out in its very first words. “Akwaeke Emezi is one of the most daring, blazingly imaginative young writers at work today. Their debut novel, Freshwater, was a coming-of-age tale of a girl of Igbo ethnicity born with multiple selves, each under the domain of a different ogbanje, dark spirits of the Igbo belief system, was a breath of fresh air when it was released in early 2018. Their new novel, a Nigeria-set mystery, begins with a mother opening her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. We then follow this mysterious, somewhat unknowable child, Vivek, through childhood, adolescence and adulthood as he navigates his disorienting blackouts, an emotionally distant father, and a close bond with his cousin, all leading up to “a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.”  –Dan Sheehan, Lithub. “One of the best books of 2020. . . . a vivid, propulsive experience. . . . about freedom and our capacity to imagine what it’s like to be someone else, or perhaps, more so, what it’s like to experience them as they are.” — Goop. Between writing Freshwater and The Death of Vivek Oji, Akwaeke Emezi has also written a YA novel, PET, which was a National Book Award finalist. Appearing in conversation with Akwaeke Emezi this evening will be Seattle-based Black/trans/queer poet & educator J Mase III. He is the author of the poetry collection, If I Should Die Under the Knife, Tell my Kidney I was the Fiercest Poet Around, and the more recent And Then I Got Fired: One Transqueer’s Reflections on Grief, Unemployment, and Inappropriate Jokes about Death. Co-presented by The Seattle Public Library and Elliott Bay Book Company.    Event Link  
 
 
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08/16/2020 - 3:00pm

Virtual Event
Jacqueline B. Williams & Friends
Virtual Event
Join us for a panel discussion and Q&A in honor of the republication of Jacqueline B. Williams’ classic 2001 book, The Hill with a Future: Seattle’s Capitol Hill 1900-1946. Historian and longtime Capitol Hill resident Jacqueline B. Williams is joined by Nan Little, Capitol Hill Historical Society co-founders Rob Ketcherside Tom Heuser for a discussion of the only book devoted exclusively to Capitol Hill history. Jacqueline B. Williams, is the author of The Hill With A Future as well as Wagon Wheel Kitchens, The Way We Ate : Pacific Northwest Cooking, 1843-1900, and coauthor of Family of Strangers: Building a Jewish Community in Washington State. She has received the Virginia Marie Folkins Award, 1997 Award of Individual Excellence from the Washington Museum Association, and the 2008 Pacific Northwest History Award. She grew up in Louisville, Ky. but has lived in Seattle since 1971 and on Capitol Hill between 1972 and 2012. She now lives on First Hill. The Capitol Hill Historical Society republished The Hill with a Future in 2019 with support from 4Culture. This is a unique opportunity to hear more about our neighborhood’s early history and to ask questions. Please join us. Co-presented by Historic Seattle, Capitol Hill Historical Society and the Elliott Bay Book Company. Find out more about the work of our partners: Historic Seattle and CHHS.   Event Link  
 

08/16/2020 - 6:00pm

Virtual Event
Eric Swalwell with Denny Heck
Virtual Event
California Congressman Eric Swalwell, whose duties include serving on the House Judiciary Committee, had an active role in Congress’ recent impeachment of our present president. That process, and more, are recounted in his new book, Endgame: Inside the Impeachment of Donald J. Trump (Abrams Press). “The next best thing to being in the room where it happened, this insider’s account of the Trump impeachment is both wise and personal. It doesn’t hurt that the supersmart author is a sure bet to be a major player in our nation’s future.” — Laurence H. Tribe. “In an administration where a lot of effort is invested in hiding the truth from the public, Congressman Swalwell’s firsthand account makes for very interesting reading. Here are the details of what is really happening in the halls of Congress and what really happened during the House’s impeachment investigation. It’s a must-read for any serious student of the Trump administration.”— Joyce Vance. Joining Representative Swalwell in conversation will be Denny Heck, himself a former member of Congress, presently a Democratic candidate for Washington State Lieutenant Governor. Presented by Town Hall Civics in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   Event Link  
 
 

08/18/2020 - 7:00pm

Virtual Event
Micheline Aharonian Marcom with Keenan Norris
Virtual Event
While of course we’d be wishing these evenings to happen with all of us in the presence of each other, we are delighted to bring authors here by whichever means. Which is certainly the case with novelist Micheline Aharoniam Marcom, who gave one of her very first public readings at Elliott Bay when her astonishing debut, Three Apples Fell From Heaven, was published in 2001. She has been back since, and welcomely so, with a number of novels, those initially following Three Apples, which explored the 20th century’s Armenian genocide and its ramifications, over the years. Tonight, it is her newest, The New American (Simon & Schuster). “In Marcom’s powerful, heartbreaking latest (after The Brick House), an undocumented college student makes the long odyssey back to California from Guatemala after being deported ... Desperate to return to his home, his studies, his family, and his girlfriend in California, Emilio embarks on a violent and treacherous trip hopping freight trains with four other migrants. Along the way, members of their group become victims of thieves, rapists, and sadistic police, and must contend with unreliable smugglers. There are also safe houses and villagers who provide food, water, clothing, and medical care, and generous fellow migrants. Marcom’s prose is steady and soulful, particularly during the graphic, harrowing account of an excruciating Sonora Desert crossing, and the narrative is deepened by a series of lyrical interludes describing dangerous journeys of unnamed refugees. Marcom’s remarkable tale credibly captures the desperation and despair of those who undertake the dangerous trek north. - Publishers Weekly. In conversation with her will be San Jose-based writer and professor Keenan Norris, who is the author of the  novel, Brother and the Dancer.   Event Link  
 

08/18/2020 - 7:30pm

Virtual Event
George Dyson with Blaise Aguera y Arcas
Virtual Event
An author who straddles many forms of boundary - in his writing and in being a citizen of both Canada and the U.S. - George Dyson is someone we’ve had a hand in presenting with his many books over the year, including his extraordinary debut, Baidarka, in 1986. He is virtually at Town Hall this evening for his newest, Analogia: The Emergence of Technology Beyond Programmable Control (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). "Analogia is a work of originality and ambition unlike any you've encountered. George Dyson transmutes memoir, history, and forecast into a page-turning tale in which Geronimo, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Catherine the Great, Kurt Gödel, and Steller's sea cow play roles. It's no less the story of the magnificent Dysons, a larger-than-life family spanning physicist Freeman, mathematician Verena, tech influencer Esther, and the author himself, an off-the-grid public intellectual. Analogia offers more serious fun than a dozen of the usual bestsellers." —William Poundstone. "This strange, beautiful, haunting work is like a kaleidoscope of stories, its pattern locking into place at the end. Mixing the rise of computation, the brutal wars on the Apache, the construction of ancient kayaks, and a host of other matters with the author's own remarkable story, George Dyson's book will stick in readers' minds long after they close its covers. Analogia belongs on the shelf that holds Naipaul's Enigma of Arrival and Sebald's Rings of Saturn. And it can stand proudly in their exalted company." —Charles Mann. Presented by Town Hall Science in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   Event Link  
 

08/19/2020 - 7:00pm

Virtual Event
Kevin O’Brien with Laurie Frankel
Virtual Event
It’s summer and high time to celebrate the latest release from renowned horror writer and Capitol Hill flaneur Kevin O’Brien. We can’t do it in person this year, but we hope you’ll join us on the small screen as Kevin O’Brien and his novelist friend (and Seattle Seven Writers comrade) Laurie Frankel talk about his new novel, The Bad Sister (Pinnacle), his much anticipated followup to The Betrayed Wife. These events are always memorable and hilarious (and often include Savoir Fork’s signature baked goods paired with story points from the novels, though this year you’ll have to provide your own treats). The Bad Sister, set in both the Northwest and Midwife, features two half-sisters who learn that they’re at the center of a copycat killer’s obsession with the brutal murders on a college campus fifty years earlier. Kevin O’Brien is the bestselling author of more than twenty books, including They Won’t Be Hurt and No One Needs to Know. Novelist and essayist Laurie Frankel has appeared on our programs many times over the years, presenting her own work (which includes the novel, This Is How It Always Is) and conducting onstage interviews. We look forward to the publication of her novel, One Two Three, which will be published in 2021 by Henry Holt.    Signed copies of The Bad Sister (and of The Betrayed Wife and other books by request) are available for purchase from The Elliott Bay Book Company.   Event Link  
 

08/20/2020 - 5:00pm

Virtual Event
Maaza Mengiste with Salar Abdoh
Virtual Event
One of our favorite novelists, with her celebrated debut novel, Beneath the Lion’s Gaze, and then last year’s extraordinary The Shadow King (just longlisted for the 2020 Man Booker Prize!), Maaza Mengiste ‘visits’ from her New York City home to help discuss an anthology derived from her true home city of origin, Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa Noir (Akashic) is edited by her, a wonderful array of stories portraying Ethiopia’s capitol city from various angles and aspects, enlightening, entertaining, and illuminating in many ways. “Addis is one of Africa’s—and the world’s—most vibrant, dynamic scene, and the new Akashic collection displays it in all its complexity. With acclaimed writer Maaza Mengiste at the editing helm, the book brings together an exciting collection of voices exploring the city’s noir side. This is a chance for readers to discover an important literary scene and to explore a city’s past and present.”—CrimeReads. “Each contributor embraces day-to-day life in Ethiopia, and fills each story with a rich sense of time, place, and character. The authors reveal much about a culture unfamiliar to many American readers.” —Publishers Weekly. This, among the many glowing reviews for Maaza Mengiste’s novel, The Shadow King, which features Ethiopian resistance (led by a warrior woman) to Italy on the eve of World War II: “A sprawling, unforgettable epic from an immensely talented author who's unafraid to take risks... [R]endered all the more effective by Mengiste's gift at creating memorable characters... The star of the novel, however, is Mengiste's gorgeous writing, which makes The Shadow King nearly impossible to put down... [O]ne of the most beautiful novels of the year.” - Namwali Serpell, New York Times Book Review. With Maaza Mengiste in conversation this evening is Iranian novelist Salar Abdoh, whose spectacular debut novel, Out of Mesopotamia (Akashic) is just being released.   Event Link  
 
 
 
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08/25/2020 - 7:00pm

Virtual Event
Vanessa Veselka
Virtual Event
Portland writer Vanessa Veselka’s debut, Zazen (Red Lemonade), won the 2012 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize in 2012. She wrote the book at age 40 while driving a cab, raising her child, and waiting tables. She returns today to read from and discuss The Great Offshore Grounds (Knopf), which is in part an homage to the books that meant the most to her. In The Great Offshore Grounds, two half sisters, Cheyenne and Livy, set off to claim their inheritance. Cheyenne is newly back in Seattle, crashing with Livy after a failed marriage and a series of dead ends. Livy works refinishing boats, her resentment against her freeloading sister growing as she tamps down dreams of fishing off the coast of Alaska. But the promise of a shot at financial security brings the two together to claim what's theirs. "The Great Offshore Grounds reminded me of what a great novel can do--Veselka's seafaring epic has the forward momentum of a grand adventure and the spiraling depth of a new myth. All the pleasure of eighteenth century storytelling renewed for our newborn millennium. I love this textured, tonally complex wonder of a book, a quest for Melville's 'unimaginable sublimity' that never shies away from the messy flux of the body, or the oceanic scope of our shared global history. It's also a blast to read--darkly hilarious, astral, cerebral, suspenseful, warm-blooded, divine." --Karen Russell. "I immediately fell in love with the phenomenal sisters at the heart of Vanessa Veselka's supernova of a new novel, The Great Offshore Grounds. This novel is thrilling in its content, daring in heart, and makes a helix between a novel of ideas and the best damn story of women who forge their identities on their own terms that I've read in years." --Lidia Yuknavitch.   Event Link  
 
 
 

08/28/2020 - 7:00pm

Virtual Event
Sigrid Nunez with Karen Maeda Allman
Virtual Event
The winner of the 2018 National Book Award for her novel, The Friend, Sigrid Nunez this evening does a presentation originally slated for this past spring as part of Hugo House’s Words Work craft series. Her craft talk, ‘Giving Full Play to the Imagination,’ on playfulness, imagination, and how to give in to the pull toward the unknown, will be followed by a moderated q&a session with Elliott Bay’s Karen Maeda Allman. Sigrid Nunez has written seven novels, a marvelous memoir of Susan Sontage (Sempre Susan), and has a brand-new novel due out within two weeks after this evening, What Are You Going Through (Riverhead). “Short, sharp, and quietly brutal. . .  spare and elegant and immediate. . . [What Are You Going Through] is concerned with the biggest possible questions and confronts them so bluntly it is sometimes jarring: How should we live in the face of so much suffering? Dryly funny and deeply tender.”—Kirkus Reviews. Presented by Hugo House.   Event Link  
 
 
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