Unmuted Spotlights the Connective Power of Personal Storytelling

Seattle-based memoir author and writing coach Ingrid Ricks recently led a personal storywriting workshop for LGBTQIA seniors and their allies at Seattle’s GenPRIDE center. The workshop built a community of writers and generated an intriguing anthology of fourteen stories entitled Unmuted: Stories of Courage and Resilience from the GenPRIDE Community, released in October to celebrate LGBTQIA History Month. Join us at 6:30 p.m. on Wed. Nov. 18 for readings from Unmuted Stories. Recently, Ricks shared her thoughts with us here on the publication:

I know it sounds simplistic, but I’m convinced that personal storytelling is the key to world peace.

It was the community-building power of personal narrative — along with its ability to foster healing and empathy in today’s deeply-divided world — that excited me most about partnering with GenPRIDE Executive Director, Steven Knipp, to spearhead its ongoing writing workshop.

Our stories humanize us, connect us, heal us. I’ve seen this play out thousands of times with students of every age, and I witnessed the transformative power of personal storytelling once again this past year in working with the GenPRIDE community.

Though united under the LGBTQIA+ umbrella, the strangers who gathered for the first GenPRIDE writing workshop couldn’t have appeared more different. What did a middle-aged black man have in common with a white transgender woman in her 70’s? What did a retired lesbian English teacher have in common with a gay man struggling to live with AIDS? What did I, a white straight woman, have in common with the LGBTQIA+ community? Our stories. Continue reading “Unmuted Spotlights the Connective Power of Personal Storytelling”

Harry Potter at Home

The new Harry Potter at Home project is a collective effort by Bloomsbury, Scholastic, Audible, OverDrive, Pottermore Publishing, and WizardingWorld.com to bring the magical world of Harry Potter straight to you during these troubling times.

For over twenty years now, the Harry Potter universe has been a comforting and immersive place for all readers, whether old and bald or young with scabby knees. To welcome everyone at home back to Hogwarts, multiple initiatives have been put into action to add a touch of Harry Potter to our daily lives.

Continue reading “Harry Potter at Home”

Nightstand Reads: Seattle author Kim Fu shares recent favorites

Our guest blogger today is Kim Fu, author of the forthcoming novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, in which a group of young girls descend on Camp Forevermore, a sleepaway camp in the Pacific Northwest, where their days are filled with swimming lessons, friendship bracelets, and camp songs by the fire. Filled with excitement and nervous energy, they set off on an overnight kayaking trip to a nearby island. But before the night is over, they find themselves stranded, with no adults to help them survive or guide them home. The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore traces these five girls—Nita, Andee, Isabel, Dina, and Siobhan—through and beyond this fateful trip. Fu will be appearing at Elliott Bay Book Co. at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 13.

I’ve kept a list of every book I’ve read since 2010. It’s been interesting to see patterns that align with events in my personal life: interests that crop up and fade, what and how much I read in a year of mourning versus a year of celebration. Like many people, I also discovered that what I thought of as my own capricious, wide-ranging taste was instead reflective of what books get published and hyped in a particular year, and that I needed to make a conscious effort to read more diversely. I was especially inspired by this list by R.O. Kwon, Continue reading “Nightstand Reads: Seattle author Kim Fu shares recent favorites”

Omar El Akkad, author of American War, on reading and the radical act of empathy

Our guest blogger Omar El Akkad has been garnering rave reviews for his powerful, thought-provoking debut novel, American War. Set during the Second American Civil War of 2075, American War lays bare our own fractured cultural and political existence in a dystopian fantasy that rings all too true for many others struggling in war-torn places of the world. Today he shares three books you probably haven’t read, and why you should. El Akkad will be appearing on Monday, April 17 at the Elliott Bay Book Company. Catch his recent NPR Interview.

Empathy, which these days feels more and more like a radical act, has become as of late the primary criterion for inclusion in my reading list. More than beautiful writing or technical merit or imaginative flair, I find myself most urgently in need of fiction’s ability to transpose, to immerse me in the thick of strangers’ lives. In this isolationist era, run and overrun by men whose worldview relies on exclusion and deliberate unknowing, it seems an obligation to seek out writing that chronicles other cultures, other histories, other lives. Continue reading “Omar El Akkad, author of American War, on reading and the radical act of empathy”

Nightstand Reads: Jane Wong

Our guest blogger today is Seattle poet Jane Wong, visiting Assistant Professor at Pacific Lutheran University and author of Overpour, shares with us her current project and a few books of inspiration. She will be at MadArt at 7pm on Nov. 8 for the event “The Poetics of Haunting.”

Dear Readers,

My project, The Poetics of Haunting, considers how social, historical, and political contexts “haunt” the work of contemporary Asian American poets. How does history – particularly the history of war, colonialism, and marginalization – impact the work of Asian American poets across time and space? How does language act as a haunting space of intervention and activism? The digital site insists on invocation: a deliberate, powerful, and provocative move toward haunted places. It is my hope that you will explore the website, which features audio and video conversations, poetry, photographs, and multi-modal ephemera. And join me on November 8th, 7:00pm with poets Don Mee Choi, Pimone Triplett, and Diana Khoi Nguyen at MadArt for a powerful performance.

Below are a few of the books I am currently reading and returning to when I think about the poetics of haunting: Continue reading “Nightstand Reads: Jane Wong”