Seattle City of Lit: What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

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Even the cats in Seattle, like Sesame here, are literature lovers.

Greetings, Seattle readers and writers!

We had a heck of a busy summer and wanted to update you all on where our bid to join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network stands, among other things!

We submitted our UNESCO bid in July and celebrated with a small toast the Sorrento Hotel, which has been generous in hosting us. UNESCO committees will discuss the bids and make decisions. We will find out if we received the designation before the end of 2015.

We also also finished a short video about Seattle’s literary community. The video features Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, Ruth Dickey, Chris Higashi, Gary Luke, Rick Simonson, Garth Stein, Ken Workman, Tree Swenson, and Eric Reynolds.

We brought in some money! Our board continued efforts to fund our initial program, the International Writers Exchange, working closely with the office of Nick Licata, various staff at the City of Seattle and the Office of Arts and Culture. The Office of Arts & Culture accepted our proposal and contributed $7500 in additional funding for this program (thanks OAC!).

And there’s more money! Every board member has made a financial contribution. Between those, other community contributions, and additional pledges, we’ve raised nearly $14,000 towards the organization’s overall programs and operations.

We compiled an Inventory of Literary Elements thanks to our Advisory Board, which has been generous with ideas and resources. We brainstormed a list of elements in the local literary ecosystem. We expanded this (ongoing) list, which you can find online here. Feel free to send us additional ideas!

We are planting seeds for a future board. We would love to see a diverse and representative Board of Directors, and we have developed a board recruitment committee. In the past few weeks we confirmed members to this committee, whose formal meetings are being scheduled now.

We made poetry a priority. We were deeply involved in the design of the Civic Poet program, worked on it this summer, and are thrilled to welcome Claudia Castro Luna, for whom we co-sponsored a reception at the Sorrento Hotel in September. Luna will be involved in City of Lit programming via the Writers’ Exchange and other programs.

We’ve been partying! We have officially co-sponsored two events this fall, one at Hugo House featuring readers from the Iowa International Writers Program: Sara Baume (Ireland), Margarita Mateo Palmer (Cuba), Homeira Qaderi (Afghanistan), and Antônio Xerxenesky (Brazil). Wow!

On Friday October 9 we’re headed north of Iowa with Taste of Iceland at Elliott Bay Book Company: Eliza Reid, co-founder of the Iceland Writers Retreat, in conversation with Tree Swenson of Hugo House. They will discuss Iceland’s special inspiration for writers, gender equality, and Cities of Literature (Reykjavík is one!). The event is followed by Nigeria’s Chinelo Okparanta with Seattle poet Montreux Rotholtz, presented by EBBC and Hedgebrook. Amazing evening!

What to do now? While our bid is pending, talk to us and about us and with us on social media! Send happy vibes for our bid to join UNESCO! Tweet or Facebook at us with interesting literary material that brings you joy or makes you think! You can find us on Facebook here and on Twitter here.

A happy, bountiful autumn to you all!