October 2021

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10/01/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Habiba Ibrahim with Margo Natalie Crawford & Stephanie Smallwood
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
A lively October begins here with an evening we wish was live and in-person, as two of the three people participating in this evening’s program live and teach here. Yet, the virtual doings, allows us to be joined from afar, both for participating, and virtually attending. This evening celebrates the publication of University of Washington English professor Habiba Ibrahim’s striking new book, Black Age: Oceanic Lifespans and the Time of Black Life (NYU Press). Professor Ibrahim compellingly posits that age as a part of Black people’s lives has been subjected to various constraints and impositions, from Black people as children on through life as elders.  "Habiba Ibrahim’s Black Age opens up powerful new vocabularies and paradigms for thinking about Black cultural expression—and indeed Black life. Through beautifully argued analyses of literary texts, Ibrahim produces startling and profound insights into age, temporality, modernity, race, subjectivity, and the very category of the human." ~Gayle Wald. “This truly revelatory book uncovers the flesh of black age. Through a focus on black untimeliness, Habiba Ibrahim reveals a counter-history of modernity. Ibrahim adds vital new dimensions to the study of blackness as an alternative relation to time. This tremendous book reveals that black life is a state of being alienated from the time of one’s own body and a radical refusal of patriarchal adulthood." ~Margo Natalie Crawford. The just-noted  Margo Natalie Crawford, professor of English and director of the Center for Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, and author, most recently of What is Black Literature? and Black Post-Blackness, along with Stephanie Smallwood, professor of History in various fields at the University of Washington and author of Saltwater Slavery will join in this evening’s discussion. Habiba Ibrahim is also the author of Troubling the Family: The Promise of Personhood and the Rise of Multiracialism. Event Registration  
 

10/02/2021 - 1:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Jon McGregor with Yiyun Li
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Virtually on-hand from Nottingham, we believe, where he is professor of creative writing at the University of Nottingham, is acclaimed novelist Jon McGregor. The recipient of the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Costa Book Award, the Betty Trask Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters E. M. Forster Award, and a three-time longlisted nominee for the Man Booker Prize for his earlier books, most recently Reservoir 13, Jon McGregor’s appearance here is for his much-awaited new novel, Lean Fall Stand (Catapult). Laudatory reviews from its earlier publication in the UK herald the praises to come here. “The breathtaking opening chapters describe a research expedition which goes horribly and fatally wrong. It starts out as a white-knuckle ride of a story, before Mr McGregor changes course . . . With skill and compassion Mr. McGregor evokes an underfunded social-care system as well as the determination and inventiveness of its workers . . . This fine novel is reminiscent of A Change of Climate, Hilary Mantel’s novel of 1994, with its shifting perspectives and emphasis on a single, life-altering event. The far-ranging human story in Lean Fall Stand simultaneously unfolds and enfolds.” —The Economist. “Lean Fall Stand is a beautiful piece of work and should win a roomful of prizes. Jon McGregor writes plainly and exactly, like a poet, and the precision of his writing makes every heart-beat register. The quality of his attention is a flicker of light around the fragile human condition, and it leaves the reader moved and subtly changed, as if she had become part of the story.” —Hilary Mantel. Appearing online with Jon McGregor, a pleasure it will be to have Yiyun Li as part of this. Her books include the PEN/Jean Stein Award-winning novel, Where Reasons End; Dear Friend, From My Life I Write to You in Your Life; and, mostly recently, Tolstoy Together: 85 Days of War and Peace.   Event Registration  
 
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10/03/2021 - 2:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Shin Yu Pai & Ann Spiers
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Two excellent poets from hereabouts who’ve read in real life at Elliott Bay in the past - Shin Yu Pai here in Seattle and Ann Spiers from Vashon Island - will virtually read from new books (more than one new book) ‘here’ this afternoon. Each has new releases from Empty Bowl. Shin Yu Pai’s newest is Virga, her eleventh book of poems in an artistic body of work that also includes essays and visual art. Virga carries out lived Buddhist life, as practice, as inner voice, and as identity, being Asian American - and more. Ensō (Entre Rios) is also a recent book, coming out in 2020. Shin Yu Pai has received numerous awards, honors, fellowships from a wide variety of literary and artistic organizations. Among her many other endeavors, she is presently curating programs at Town Hall Seattle. Ann Spiers, we wish, was ferrying over from Vashon for this. On Empty Bowl’s behalf, she is here with Rain Violent, The title attest to the forces at nature, such as they have become in our lifetimes, the part of rain within it. Artist Bolinas Frank adds dimension to a book that is resonant with it. Vashon Island’s Ann Spiers hikes the Northwest woods and beaches, including the coast from Cape Disappointment to Cape Flattery. She is active in Vashon’s Audubon, land trust, and park conservation. Besides Rain Violent (Empty Bowl), other 2021 titles include Back Cut, (Black Heron) and Harpoon (Triple Series, Ravenna).   Event Registration  
 

10/04/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Lara Kaminoff with Taylor Dow
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
A special night indeed, as one of our own - Elliott Bay bookseller (book-slinger by her measure) Lara Kaminoff launches her debut graphic novel this evening, the delightful irrepressible book that is How To Pick a Fight (Nobrow Press). With regrets that this has to be virtual - we can imagine how this would all feel in Elliott Bay - we think this will be fun and lively nonetheless. Not only are we excited about this story of a young fellow trying to make his way in the world, but others are already chiming in, as well.  “Disillusioned with life in his cramped family house, and determined to achieve his dream of becoming a champion fighter, young Jimmy runs away from home seeking his fortune elsewhere. His greatest desire is to become as renowned a name as his hero, the legendary Pimento Gonzales, under the sobriquet of “Jimmy Ruckus”... Lara Kaminoff’s How to Pick a Fight features a protagonist reminiscent of all those scrapper-type characters who populated classic British humour weeklies of yesteryear. Only in this case, rather than a series of repetitive one-page strips, Jimmy wanders through an extended narrative with a very definite destination in mind. From the start, Kaminoff establishes Jimmy as a likeable but mishap-prone youngster focused on one vision over everything else; something which guides his interactions with those he meets on his travels … How to Pick a Fight reads more like a series of transformative encounters than a structured narrative but that’s very much part of its charm. Jimmy’s journey opens up questions of happiness over ambition, of finding one’s place in the world, and whether there’s value in dedicating ourselves to a singular purpose over everything else. Kaminoff takes that to an intriguingly symbolic conclusion that in its own quiet way leaves us with much to meditate on at the end of Jimmy’s story. It’s in the visual storytelling, though, that How to Pick a Fight truly excels. Kaminoff’s outstanding use of lettering tricks, changing perspective, and the passage of time makes for many memorable sequences that are pure comics in composition. The diminutive Jimmy, for example, with only a backside-level view at a wrestling match absorbing the action through sound alone; the representational nature of dream sequences; and how time can move at different sequential rates when he is stranded on a remote island. They all display inventive uses of the tools of the form that are a joy to experience with Kaminoff’s fluid cartooning, animated characters and lively, energetic action scenes prove the perfect complement. How to Pick a Fight is a coming-of-age story with a decidedly quirkier take than the norm with a central character who, despite his rambunctious nature, remains relatable simply because Jimmy’s frustrations with his life so knowingly echo our own.” - Andy Oliver, Broken Frontier. That is only the first review... Joining Lara in conversation for what should be a thoroughly enjoyable evening is Seattle cartoonist, teacher, and game designer Taylor Dow. His books include Apocalypse Dad and How 2B King. His “Bird Knight” comic is syndicated online.   Event Registration  
 

10/05/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Kim Thúy with Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
A writer whose work is well known on both sides of the Canada/U.S. border, Montreal-based novelist Kim Thúy is a writer we’ve long sought to host - for her works of fiction, which include Ru, Mān, and Vi and her excellent cookbook, Secrets from My Vietnamese Kitchen. Ru was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the New Academy Prize in Literature, and recipient of the du Prix du Ran Public au salon du livre de Montréal, and the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. We are delighted she is making it here virtually for her newest novel, Em (Seven Stories Press, translated from the French by Sheila Fischman). “A constellation of connected characters provides a snapshot of Vietnam and the Vietnamese diaspora in North America from French colonization to life after the war. Thúy, who was born in Vietnam and lives in Quebec, delivers a series of interconnected vignettes in her new novel … Thúy moves the reader from a rubber plantation to the village of My Lai; from Charlie Company’s massacre to Operation Babylift and the experiences of orphans adopted by American families; from Saigon to nail salons and the cancer-causing chemicals found at both rubber plantations and salons. Characters appear and reappear as the threads weave together in economical but potent prose. Thúy troubles the line between fiction and nonfiction and their different ideas of truth … In the end, it feels like a work of visual and literary art at once. A brief, moving meditation on the nature of truth, memory, humanity, and violence: a powerful work of art.”– Kirkus Reviews. “Just like tender, strong and graceful Vietnamese silk threads, Kim Thúy masterfully weaves us through Vietnam’s 20th-century history while binding us to the lives of its people so that their experiences expand our worldview. Em is an original, innovative, poetic and haunting novel that deserves to be read, shared, studied and discussed.”– Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai.   Event Registration  
 

10/05/2021 - 7:30pm

Virtually Hosted by Town Hall Seattle
Seth Kantner with Bellamy Pailthorp
Virtually Hosted by Town Hall Seattle
A writer from up north who has given Elliott Bay audiences and readers everywhere memorable times in the past with such books as Ordinary Wolves, Shopping for Porcupine, and Swallowed by the Great Land: And Other Dispatches from Alaska’s Frontier, Seth Kantner makes this virtual Town Hall appearance for his newest, A Thousand Trails Home: Living with Caribou (Mountaineers Books). “A Thousand Trails Home is a literary tour de force that reaffirms Seth Kantner’s place as one of Alaska’s premier writers. An amalgam of intimate autobiography and impeccable nature writing, Kantner’s luminous prose transports the reader to a timeless world, shaped by great waves of hooves and antlers. -- Nick Jans. "A Thousand Trails Home is a book of supernal majesty, a book to break and restore your heart. Seth Kantner’s devotion to the living pulse and unity of the skein of wonder that is the Alaskan wilderness haunts and inspires me." -- Louise Erdrich. Joining Seth Kantner in conversation this evening is Bellamy Pailthorp of KNKX Public Radio News, where she has worked for over twenty years.  Presented by Town Hall Science in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   Tickets/information  
 

10/06/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Amitava Kumar with Lydia Millet
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Finally, fiction writer and essayist Amitava Kumar is becoming more known in the U.S., after several books marked him as a significant writer in his home country of India. Living and teaching in New York for several years now, he read here a few years ago (when such things happened) for his superb novel, Immigrant, Montana. He is virtually here this evening for his newest, A Time Outside This Time (Knopf). “Why write when things are falling apart? More importantly: how to write when the might of fiction is abused by the worst, when lies are eating through what seemed like reality just a moment ago? These are perennial novelist questions, and A Time Outside This Time confronts them head on. Amitava Kumar’s prose is beautiful, deft and full of memorable details; his narration is marked by immense curiosity, kindness and clarity of thought. He seems to be writing in real time, trying to comprehend, with admirable hope and patience, how to retain faith in literature, in democracy, in the kindness of others. A Time Outside This Time is a courageous book, incredibly relevant for the present moment and crucial for imagining a better future.”—Aleksandar Hemon.  “Kumar’s marvelous book channels Orwell in its outline of our dilemmas with disinformation. Sensuous and searching, this is an absorbing portrait of an inspired artist in the midst of our maddening cultural moment.”—Ayad Akhtar. Making a welcome Elliott Bay return, albeit in virtual conversational mode, is acclaimed fiction writer Lydia Millet, whose 2020 novel, A Children’s Bible, was a National Book Award finalist.   Event Registration  
 

10/06/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by The Seattle Public Library
Brit Bennett with Jazmyn Scott
Virtually Hosted by The Seattle Public Library
The Seattle Public Library’s annual Seattle Reads program this year features novelist Brit Bennett and her ‘expansive’ (NPR) multi-generational bellwether of a book, The Vanishing Half (Riverhead). “Bennett’s gorgeously written second novel, an ambitious meditation on race and identity, considers the divergent fates of twin sisters, born in the Jim Crow South, after one decides to pass for white. Bennett balances the literary demands of dynamic characterization with the historical and social realities of her subject matter.”—The New York Times. “Reinvention and erasure are two sides of the same coin. Bennett asks us to consider the meaning of authenticity when we are faced with racism, colorism, sexism and homophobia. What price do we pay to be ourselves? How many of us choose to escape what is expected of us? And what happens to the other side of the equation, the side we leave behind? The Vanishing Half answers all these questions in this exquisite story of love, survival and triumph.” —The Washington Post. Brit Bennett first captivated readers at Elliott Bay (and elsewhere) when appearing here for her excellent debut novel, The Mothers. Joining Brit Bennett in conversation this evening will be Jazmyn Scott, program manager at LANGSTON. Seattle Reads The Vanishing Half is presented by The Seattle Public Library, in partnership with the African American Writers’ Alliance, LANGSTON, the Northwest African American Museum, and Wa Na Wari.   Registration/information  
 

10/07/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Town Hall Seattle
Martin Williams
Virtually Hosted by Town Hall Seattle
The first of a Town Hall virtual twin bill this evening brings Martin Williams, University of Adelaide professor emeritus ‘over’ from his Glenalta, South Australia home (where it would be Friday by the time this happens) for his new book, When the Sahara Was Green: How Our Greatest Desert Came to Be (Princeton University Press). "Martin Williams has written a magnificent and thought-provoking history of the Sahara. With infectious panache, he reconstructs the formation and geological history of the desert, and looks at the prehistoric peoples who once flourished by its long-vanished lakes and rivers. We learn of dramatic climatic episodes and of ingenious adaptations to extreme aridity that are still relevant today. This wonderful book gives us hope in our drier, warming world. A brilliant achievement.”—Brian Fagan. Presented by Town Hall Science in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   Tickets/registration/information  
 

10/07/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Warwick’s
Amor Towles with John Grisham
Virtually Hosted by Warwick’s
Along with bookselling colleagues up and down the west coast, we are delighted to co-present what should be a splendid evening with Elliott Bay favorite Amor Towles, in conversation with John Grisham, on the occasion of the former’s much-anticipated new novel, The Lincoln Highway (Viking). Elliott Bay audiences have known Amor Towles’ storytelling skills first-hand, with memorably wonderful evenings here for his first two critically acclaimed, bestselling novels, Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. We aren’t the only ones, of course, but Elliott Bay readers were among the first and most fervent as all began to unfold. The new book is quite an unfolding, too. “Towles’ third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow . . . A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, [The Lincoln Highway] is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history. An exhilarating ride through Americana.” —Kirkus Reviews. “[A] playfully thought-provoking novel . . . [Towles] juggles the pieces of his plot deftly, shifting from voice to voice, skirting sentimentality and quirkiness with a touch of wistful regret, and leading up to an ending that is bound to provoke discussion.” —Booklist. Joining Amor Towles in conversation this evening will be John Grisham, who knows a thing or two about masterful writerly storytelling himself, the author now of thirty novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and six novels for young readers. This should all be good fun, as much as anything virtual can be. Presented jointly by Elliott Bay Book Company; Auntie’s Bookstore; Diesel, A Bookstore; Rakestraw Books; and Warwick’s. This is a virtual event, featuring Amor Towles, author of The Lincoln Highway in conversation with John Grisham, and taking place on Zoom Webinar. Zoom links will be sent out 48 hours before the event. Ticket sales end (and the last Zoom links sent out) at 6 pm on Thursday, October 7th. Each ticket includes event access and a copy of The Lincoln Highway shipped to an address within the Continental U.S. via USPS Media Mail. Books will be shipped after the Event. International shipping is NOT available for this event.    Registration/information  
 

10/07/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Teresa K. Miller & Janice Lee
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Two writers who are presently based in or near Portland give this virtual joint reading from their new books this evening. For onetime Seattle resident Teresa K. Miller, it is with her National Poetry Series selected new book of poems, Borderline Fortune (Penguin). “Teresa K. Miller explores startling territories in Borderline Fortune. She addresses the lines we’ve drawn and erased for centuries on the earth—that conform to the borders we cross and uncross in the mind. Yet: ‘I’m asking you to believe in what you’ve never seen or heard,’ she writes, refusing the mind’s limits. Here is the dark power of climate change where she finds ‘the future all danger, heat, & scarcity.’ Blake, Dickinson, and Hopkins’ Terrible Sonnets hover (‘birds build—but not I build’), above trees cut down and hope with feathers. The damage done to the earth echoes the damages to the protean mind of the poet—but Miller remains radiantly elusive, an escape artist in these marvelous poems of altered terra firma and revelation.” —Carol Muske-Dukes, who was the National Poetry Series judge selecting Borderline Fortune. “The poems in Borderline Fortune are so sharply crafted, they serve as the pick and axe that dig deep into the granite of the past. Miller questions specific characters, many ghosts from the past that hold secrets to a history she is rebirthing. The poems shape a world created from the knowledge and the mythology Miller has extracted.” —Elmaz Abinader. Teresa K. Miller is also the author of sped and Forever No Lo, as well as co-editor of Food First. Also reading this evening is Janice Lee, a professor of creative writing at Portland State University, the founder and executive editor of Entropy, the author of seven previous books of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, here this evening with a new novel, Imagine a Death (Texas Review Press). “In Janice Lee’s newest work, Imagine a Death, her methodical, dedicated attention illuminates the otherwise impenetrable depths of grief. She invites us to bear witness to The Writer, The Photographer, and The Old Man—each having survived the death of a beloved—as they engage in pathetic but ultimately deeply resonant efforts to shape their lives ... Through a panoply of animal interpellators, Lee invokes a world that is audaciously savage and catastrophically familiar, and offers an astonishing take on the saga—sung in a Beckettian key. To truly imagine a death requires attending to how we persist after.” —Juliette Lee.   Registration/information  
 

10/07/2021 - 7:00pm

Boon Boona Coffee
Marcus Harrison Green
Boon Boona Coffee
724 S 3rd Street, Ste. C
Renton, WA 98057
Tuesday, September 21 NOW Thursday, October 7 at 7 p.m. :: Live/In-Person at Boon Boona Coffee Wednesday, September 29 at 7:30 p.m. :: Live/In-Person at Town Hall Seattle (and Livestream) These two evenings, noted above, mark the launch of a debut book, by one of the vital, essential journalist voices here in Seattle today, Marcus Harrison Green. The founder/publisher of the South Seattle Emerald and a columnist with the Seattle Times, he has not only put his own writing on the line, but has helped give a forum for others’ voices, with the community paper and through book anthologies such as Emerald Reflections 2: A South Seattle Emerald Anthology and the co-presented ‘Life on the Margins’ podcast. These evenings are occasioned by the publication of Marcus Harrison Green’s own book, Readying to Rise: Essays (VertVolta Press). These autobiographically-driven essays chart Marcus Harrison Green’s growing up Black in a gentrifying Seattle. School,  the police, Black Lives Matter, his grandmother’s lessons, religious faith and not, bipolar disorder, the human condition, and more, are taken on with astute insight, feeling, thought. This is a book readers here have been waiting for. Among Marcus Harrison Green’s honors and awards, is the Seattle Human Rights Commission’s Individual Human Rights Leader Award for 2020. In person tickets are now SOLD OUT, but to register for free live stream access and for more information on the October 7 program at Boon Boona Coffee, 724 S 3rd St, Renton, WA 98057 (featuring performances by the Bushwick Book Club, Reggie Garrett, Moni Temp and others: Click here. For tickets/information on the September 29 program at Town Hall Seattle, which will include Seattle Times editor Michele Matessa Flores in conversation, and will be both live/in-person and live-streamed: Click here.  
 

10/07/2021 - 7:30pm

Virtually Hosted by Town Hall Seattle
Allison Cobb with Clayton Aldern
Virtually Hosted by Town Hall Seattle
Portland-based poet (After We All Died) and Environmental Defense Fund worker Allison Cobb, who virtually launched this new book with Elliott Bay a few months ago, virtually returns with her extraordinary recent work, Plastic: An Autobiography (Nightboat Books).   “Plastic: An Autobiography is a spinning gyre of history, biology, poetry, and chemistry, gathering centripetal force through attention to such particulars as a shard of plastic from WWII found lodged in the belly of an albatross sixty years later. This is a fierce and brilliant work that perhaps could only have been written by a poet who grew up in the shadow of Los Alamos, aware that the most destructive of human inventions can seem salvific until it is almost too late. Let this book be a call to awareness and action.” -Carolyn Forché. “Close up, the tale of an albatross chick whose stomach became fatally engorged with plastic items mistaken for food. Stepping back, the biography of polyethylene, whose effectiveness as a wire insulator enabled the use of radar in the World War II fighter planes that dropped bombs in Europe and Asia. In between, the stories of those who’ve had their lives altered by plastic, including the once-thriving Black community of Mossville, Louisiana, which now sits in a soup of toxic emissions from, among other things, the manufacture of vinyl chloride — the VC in PVCs.” -Amy Wang, The Oregonian. Presented by Town Hall Science in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   Tickets/registration/information  
 

10/08/2021 - 5:00pm

Virtually Hosted by The Elliott Bay Book Company
Fowzia Karimi with Rikki Ducornet & Micheline Aharonian Marcom
Virtually Hosted by The Elliott Bay Book Company
Perhaps no book release of 2020 was held more close to heart here than that of Fowzia Karimi’s profound, extraordinary book, Above Us the Milky Way (Deep Vellum). Everything about it, from its singular beauty as a book (cover, pages, type, art) to the story it weaves of a family forced to leave their homeland for a new country, literally escaping, and then the life found in the new country as the old country continues to haunt and live on in memory and story is one of astonishment, timelessness, and now, even more, timeliness. The country this family of five young sisters, their mother and father must flee is Afghanistan, 1980. The country they come to is this country. Forty years later, forms of this story are being lived again and again, not always to the ends that the family rendered here manages. This book’s testimony has particulars for Afghanistan, but also speaks to many other forced exiles the world, our country, our city know. “‘In the beginning,’ Karimi states in the early pages of this saturated, elliptical novel, ‘the taking and the killing was not particular, not honed. They took those who did not look right, who walked askew, who spoke the wrong words in the wrong place to the wrong individual….Later, they had names, they had addresses.’ It is 1980, and the Soviet army has invaded Afghanistan, ushering in an era of paranoia, reprisal, state-sponsored torture, and bloodshed … Facing almost certain detention, and probable death, the father, mother, and five daughters flee the country, knowing they will likely never see either their homeland or their beloved extended family again. In America, the five sisters form a new life—one demarcated by before and after—as their father and mother find new work, new friendships, new lives, and new ways of defining themselves both as victims and survivors. Meanwhile, the gruesome harvest of war continues, shivering along the connecting cords of cultural and personal memory to touch every part of the sisters’ world. Structured as an illuminated alphabet, Karimi’s startling debut pieces together a pastiche of memory, folklore, and multilayered sense impressions with photographs from Karimi’s childhood and illustrations of her own making. The result is a sharply etched treatise on the objects of memory—encouraging a perhaps unavoidable comparison to Proust—which sets itself the monumental task of exploring the atrocity of war both as the bombs strike and as they reverberate down through the generations. Because, as Karimi concludes, a ‘war in one place is like a wound in all,’ and what else but the letters of an alphabet, or perhaps sisters, could, ‘give positive form to the formless’ by being ‘forever in two places at once: bound to their fixed positions—for who could reorder the sequence of an alphabet?—and leaving their posts to form this…word.’ A novel powerful in both its beauty and its uncompromising horror whose themes are as sadly timely as they are eternal.” - Kirkus Reviews. With Fowzia Karimi tonight will be Rikki Ducornet, artist and writer, mostly recently of the novel, Trafik, and Micheline Aharonian Marcom, author of the novel, The New American. They both should help make this a great conversation.     Also, here are links to three organizations Fowzia Karimi is recommending for aid to people in/of Afghanistan with the present urgent need: https://enabledchildren.org https://womenforafghanwomen.org https://give.unrefugees.org/210815emer_afgmain_c_4982?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=donate.unhcr.org&utm_campaign=US_PS_EN_AFS_210818&utm_content=rf1128958&SF_onetime=7011K000001HH7NQAW&SF_monthly=7011K000001HH7WQAW Registration/information  
 

10/09/2021 - 10:00am

Virtually Hosted by The Seattle Art Museum
Colin Thubron with Blaine Harden
Virtually Hosted by The Seattle Art Museum
Award-winning travel writer Colin Thubron will introduce and discuss his most recent book The Amur River: Between Russia and China (HarperCollins). At the age of 80, Thubron undertook a journey like none other: a 3000-mile trek tracing the enigmatic waterway of the Amur River—the tenth longest river in the world—that winds dangerously between the two superpowers. Long hidden from Western eyes, the Amur River has been the subject of wars, treaties, imperial failures, and horrific genocides. Thubron provides a double vision of past and present as he recounts his travels by horseback through the steppes of Mongolia, and then by wheezing Chinese buses, cars, poachers’ boats, and the Trans-Siberian railroad. His book is a narrative of stories told and untold: the history lying in museums and Buddhist libraries as well as the everyday struggles and tales of the inhabitants living within these nations. “A breathtaking account of the beauty and harshness of the 1,100-mile-long Amur River that forms the border between Russia and China… Thubron documents the interplay of politics and history, contrasting the “subdued fatalism” of Russians living in the river basin with the bustling optimism of the Chinese, whose glitzy restaurants and markets mask signs of discontent…A top-notch travelogue.” -Publishers Weekly. Following his talk, Thubron will be joined for a conversation with Seattle-based author and journalist Blaine Harden, author most recently of Murder at the Mission. Saturday University lectures are organized by the Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas in collaboration with the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington and in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   Get Tickets  
 

10/09/2021 - 2:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Andy Musser with Amy Seto Forrester
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Join Seattle author-illustrator Andy Chou Musser for an afternoon of family fun including insight into his process and childhood artistic inspirations. The event will include a read aloud of his new book, A Home Under the Stars (Little Bigfoot) by Andy's children's librarian-author sister, Amy Seto Forrester. (Signed books are available!) Andy Chou Musser grew up in a mixed race family in Oregon where he was homeschooled in a small house filled with books and art supplies, and surrounded by a big garden. Today, he freelances as a picture book maker and motion graphics designer from atop a cozy hill in Seattle, not far from wild forests and magical woodland creatures. When not in the studio, Andy can be found making music, talking to his house plants, reading library books, and planning adventures. You can see Andy’s art at www.andychoumusser.com. Amy Seto Forrester is a youth services supervisor at the Eugene Public Library with a background in the performing arts. She is passionate about connecting developing readers with engaging books that spark their curiosity. Amy has served on book award committees and writes professional book reviews. She and her husband live in a magical farmhouse where she can most often be found dancing, cooking, making music, and talking to her chickens. To learn more about Amy’s work as a librarian and writer visit www.amysetoforrester.com. Registration/Information  
 
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10/11/2021 - 7:30pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Janine di Giovanni with Mark Markuly
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Award-winning author and journalist Janine di Giovanni, who has written of conflicts in the Balkans, Middle East, and Africa over the decades, and has written such books as Syria’s Secret Library, Games Without Rules, and Lipstick Jihad, gives readers an insightful portrait of disappearing Christianity in some of the places that first nourished it 2,000 years ago in her new book, The Vanishing: Faith, Loss, and the Twilight of Christianity in the Land of the Prophets (Public Affairs). “[DiGiovanni] writes with poignant authenticity as she weaves her own deeply personal faith experiences with those of a parade of Middle Eastern citizens who populate the history she recounts of Iraq, Gaza, Syria, and Egypt, places foundational to early Christianity… Di Giovanni’s many interviews and own observations detail heartrending circumstances that have wreaked irreparable harm to families, towns, and countries. The words of one Syrian expat, ‘Our present is a failure, but our past is glorious,’ illustrate di Giovanni’s difficult, essential undertaking.” —Booklist. Janine DiGiovanni appears in conversation with Seattle University Professor Mark S. Markuly, Ph.D. who served as Dean and Professor of the School of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University from 2007-2020.   Registration/information  
 

10/12/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Powell's Books
Jonathan Franzen with Maria Semple
Virtually Hosted by Powell's Books
Along with a cohort of bookstores, mostly from this corner of the U.S. (there's an outlier from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware), we are delighted to be helping present this virtual program with Jonathan Franzen, in conversation with the estimable Maria Semple, on the occasion of Jonathan Franzen’s epic new novel, Crossroads (Farrar, Straus & Giroux). Making this book even more epic is that it’s projected to be the first volume in a trilogy. "[Franzen] imbues his books with big ideas, in this case about responsibility to family, self, God, country, and one’s fellow man, among other matters, all the while digging deep into his characters’ emotions, experiences, desires, and doubts in a way that will please readers seeking to connect to books heart-first . . . Franzen’s intensely absorbing novel is amusing, excruciating, and at times unexpectedly uplifting—in a word, exquisite.”—Kirkus Reviews. "Franzen returns with a sweeping and masterly examination of the shifting culture of early 1970s America, the first in a trilogy . . . Throughout, Franzen exhibits his remarkable ability to build suspense through fraught interpersonal dynamics. It’s irresistible." —Publishers Weekly. A writer whose honors and awards include the National Book Award, Jonathan Franzen’s five previous novels include The Corrections, Freedom, and Purity. He has also written five non-fiction works, most recently Farther Away and The End of the End of the Earth. Seattle novelist and Elliott Bay friend Maria Semple’s most recent novels are Where’d You Go, Bernadette, and Today Will Be Different. Presented jointly by Elliott Bay Book Company, Third Place Books, Browseabout Books, Auntie’s Bookstore, and Powell’s Books.   Event registration  
 

10/12/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Town Hall Seattle
Derecka Purnell with Nikkita Oliver & Darnell L. Moore
Virtually Hosted by Town Hall Seattle
A busy Thursday night has as a highlight this Town Hall virtual evening with acclaimed activist, attorney, and writer Derecka Purnell for her much-anticipated book, Becoming Abolitionists: Police, Protests, and the Pursuit of Freedom (Astra House). “One of the most perceptive and passionate thinkers of any generation, Derecka Purnell, has written a genuinely revolutionary text for our times—one that resists easy answers or solutions and never shies from the hard questions. She proves that abolition is not an event or a utopian dreamstate, but rather a journey of assembly struggling to create new worlds of freedom as we fight the unfree world we inhabit. Beautifully written, passionate, honest, Becoming Abolitionists charts a journey we all must take if we plan to survive, let alone live together.”— Robin D.G. Kelley. “With deep insight and moral clarity, Purnell shares her compelling journey of political education and personal transformation, inviting us not only to imagine a world without police, but to muster the courage to fight for the more just world we know is possible. Becoming Abolitionists is essential reading for our times.” — Michelle Alexander. With Derecka Purnell in conversation this evening will be Seattle-based community organizer, abolitionist, educator, attorney, and Seattle City Council candidate Nikkita Oliver, along with Darnell L. Moore, author of the Lambda Literary Award-winning No Ashes in the Fire, and an educator, writer, and media maker. Presented by Town Hall Civics in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company.   Tickets/registration/information  
 

10/13/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Tomás Q. Morín with Garrett Hongo
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Poet, translator, and professor (presently at Rice University) Tomás Q. Morín makes this welcome virtual Elliott Bay appearance to read from his newly published third collection, Machete (Knopf). Following his earlier Copper Canyon Press books, A Larger Country and Patient Zero, Machete takes in and on such variable subjects as Billie Holiday, the CIA, Jerry Maguire, disco balls, Dante, the Bible, considers what it is we ‘suffer’ in surprising, eye-opening ways. Of Patient Zero, Wesley Sexton at The Adroit Journal notes: “Morín takes us from the enormous to the minutiae and from the universal to the personal, always encouraging us to come to terms as fully as possible with what it means to be a person. What does it mean to inherit one culture, complete with its language and habits and qualitative assumptions, instead of another? What does it mean to admit the limits of our understanding? What does it mean to be profoundly disappointed by the same world that asks us in a million strange ways to love it? The poems in Patient Zero take as a central concern the belief that the stories we tell ourselves affect who we become, and in response, they offer us several marvelously unique narrative possibilities.” Words, questions, challenges we suspect will apply to what is contained within Machete. Tomás Q. Morín is also a brilliant translator of Pablo Neruda’s The Heights of Machu Picchu (Copper Canyon); co-editor, with Mari L’Esperance of the anthology, Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine; and has a memoir coming in early 2022, Let Me Count the Ways. Registration/information  
 

10/14/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Andrea Elliott
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Andrea Elliott put heart and soul - and much of her real life - in spending eight years following the life of a young girl from Brooklyn, as she grows up and into a world that offers complicated love and daunting challenges to her coming of age and into adult life. As articles in The New York Times published at a point garnered attention, even that attention is woven into the pages of Andrea Elliott’s brilliant, harrowing, stirring story, Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival & Hope in an American City (Random House). “Elliott’s book is a triumph of in-depth reporting and storytelling. It is a visceral blow-by-blow depiction of what ‘structural racism’ has meant in the lives of generations of one family. But above all else it is a celebration of a little girl—an unforgettable heroine whose frustration, elation, exhaustion, and intelligence will haunt your heart.”—Ariel Levy. “Stunning . . . a remarkable achievement that speaks to the heart and conscience of a nation.”—Publishers Weekly. “From its first indelible pages to its rich and startling conclusion, Invisible Child had me, by turns, stricken, inspired, outraged, illuminated, in tears, and hungering for reimmersion in its Dickensian depths. This book is so many things: a staggering feat of reporting, an act of profound civic love, an extraordinarily moving tale about the fierceness of family love, and above all, a future American classic.”—Ayad Akhtar. Registration/information  
 

10/15/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Victoria Chang with Rick Barot
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
One of our favorite poets at work today, Victoria Chang, author of the multiple-prize-winning OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle, virtually visits with her much-anticipated first adult prose book, Dear Memory: Letters on Writing, Silence, and Grief (Milkweed Editions). “Victoria Chang's Dear Memory is a tender exploration of grief, an excavation into stories untold, memories unshared, the treasures that await our discoveries if we trace through the lives that held ours. It is a vulnerable and evocative experience of what it means to miss, to yearn, to return to the pieces of our most beloved." –Kao Kalia Yang. "After the impressive formal innovations of her 2020 book, OBIT, which won multiple national awards, Chang continues to find new ways to plumb her experiences on the page . . . Depending on what one brings to this book, each reader may find their own moment of goosebumps or tears . . . This book is moving in a way that transcends story and message; it captures a purer sense of another person's heart." ―Kirkus Reviews. Copper Canyon Press, which published OBIT (winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the PEN Voeckler Award, and made nominee lists for the National Book Award and National Book Circle Critics Prize) and Barbie Chang, is due to have a new poetry collection by Victoria Chang out in April 2022, The Trees Witness Everything. Appearing with Victoria Chang this evening will be another favorite poet, Rick Barot, who lives in Tacoma and directs The Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Pacific Lutheran University.  He is most recently author of the much-praised collection, The Galleons, which was Longlisted for the National Book Awards 2020 for poetry. Registration/information  
 

10/15/2021 - 7:30pm

In-Person at Town Hall Seattle & Online
Susan Orlean
In-Person at Town Hall Seattle & Online
1119 Eighth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101
New Yorker staff writer and much-praised author Susan Orlean goes from one vast subject beautifully delineated in The Library in her most recent book to another very distinct, even vaster subject in her newest, On Animals (Simon & Schuster). This book carries personal stake - from childhood on, an abiding interest and one today, as well - also ranging into various texts and stories of other people and animals themselves. “Delightful . . . Another winner featuring the author’s trademark blend of meticulous research and scintillating writing.”—Kirkus Reviews. “Orlean delivers an entertaining and informative look at various animals in this clever collection of essays. According to Orlean, her “animalish” personality has driven her to track down critters her whole life, as well as stories of humans as animalish as she ... Orlean’s prose dazzles …  the essays [are] … packed with spirit. Animal lovers will find much to savor.” - Publishers Weekly. Susan Orlean’s other books include Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief.   Tickets/registration/information  
 

10/16/2021 - 6:00pm

Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Jane Wong with Anastacia-Renee and Chen Chen
Virtually Hosted by Elliott Bay Book Company
Virtual this evening may and will be, but we sense the energy coming from the poets on hand tonight and the work they will be delivering will be palpable as this evening centers on and celebrates the publication of Bellingham/Seattle poet Jane Wong’s very much-awaited new book of poems, How Not to Be Afraid of Everything (Alice James Books). A pre-publication 2019 Alice James Books Award Editor’s Choice, How Not to Be Afraid of Everything follows Jane Wong’s tremendous debut, Overpour. Things here get deeper, more knowing, more everything. “Jane Wong makes a family's immigrant legacy visceral in piercing, deft language that can't be dodged or forgotten once read. Formally diverse and inventive, taut lines serve us images and insights that aren't easily digested about the brutal blessings that come with split inheritances from the homeland and ‘the frontier.’ These hardy poems faithfully recount and recover no matter how taxing this may be. What a searing paean to the living and the ghosts that both haunt and make anything possible! The title? Wong knows. She knows.” —Kamilah Moon. “Jane Wong is a poet who hears the past breathing inside the present, inside the body, every shivering-alive sense. This immensely moving book is a lyrical reckoning with the colossal losses of modern Chinese history; these poems simultaneously inhabit contemporary immigrant life in the U.S. with uncompromising compassion. Instead of a linear document, Wong embraces collage, lacunae, and a kaleidoscopic questioning of what refuses both forgetting and easy remembering—what pulses beneath the amnesiac surface with shimmering fierceness.” —Chen Chen. Appearing also this evening - helping make the energy really palpable - Anastacia-Renee, esteemed award-winning Seattle poet, cross-genre writer, artist (like Jane Wong, an exhibiting visual artist), educator, the author of (v.), Forget It, and Answer (Me), with more soon to come. Also this evening, logging in from another time zone (we believe), poet Chen Chen, author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, and, forthcoming in 2022, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency.   Registration/information  
 
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