Readings, book talks, and signings give us a chance to do what we love most: build community and conversations around the written word. This fall, we have an exciting range of events lined up—from award-winning photography and rediscovered literary legacies to climate change and conservation activism, we’ve got you covered. We feature below a preview of a few of the local book events that we’re especially excited about, but be sure to check our events calendar for more opportunities to meet our authors in Seattle and beyond.
August 27: Celebrate the Life and Legacy of Robert Cantwell
T.V. Reed in conversation with Jess Walter // Seattle Public Library // 7:00 p.m.
Cantwell has been called the pioneer of the modern Pacific Northwest novel and ran in the same New York literary circles as Ernest Hemingway and John Dos Passos. Indeed, Hemingway considered Cantwell his “best bet for American fiction.” Yet few have heard of Robert Cantwell and his work.
As T.V. Reed shows in his new book, Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left: A Northwest Writer Reworks American Fiction, Cantwell found himself more and more at odds with the Literary Left as the movement shifted from focusing on American working-class socialism to supporting communist efforts across the globe. After publishing The Land of Plenty —a novel of the working-class set in Western Washington—to great acclaim in 1934, Cantwell abandoned novel-writing for a quieter career in journalism. As a result, his literary legacy was nearly forgotten.
In 2012, Seattle publisher, Pharos Editions, brought The Land of Plenty, back into print with a new introduction by New York Times best-selling author Jess Walter. The publication of Robert Cantwell and the Literary Left rounds out the effort to reintroduce Cantwell’s life and work to the broader public.
We hope that Jess Walter and T.V. Reed’s appearance at the Seattle Public Library will be the beginning of a much larger conversation about Cantwell’s contributions to Pacific Northwest and American literature.
More information here.
September 29: Seattle’s Greatest Architects
The Space Needle, Gas Works Park, and Seattle Central Library are only a few of the city’s most unique architectural elements. Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects, Second Editon looks behind the scenes of our well-known landmarks, parks, and residential buildings to profile the architects who made it all possible. First released in 1994, the second edition includes updated information and profiles of four new architects, including pioneering female architect Jane Hastings and Richard Haag, of Bloedel Reserve Fame. This collection of 55 essays—ranging from early Puget Sound residential dwellings, to World War II developments and modern institutions—was edited by Jeffrey Karl Ochsner, professor of architecture at the University of Washington. He’ll appear in conversation with Feliks Banel, producer of “PIE” on KCTS 9 and host of “This NOT Just In” on KUOW 94.9.
More information and tickets here.
October 14: Images of the Northwest
Mary Randlett in conversation with Frances McCue // Town Hall Seattle // 7:30 p.m.
Pacific Northwest photographer Mary Randlett has been documenting notable local figures since her iconic 1963 images of Theodore Roethke — the last before the poet’s death. Mary Randlett Portraits includes images of Roethke, author Tom Robbins, art patron Betty Bowen, artist Jacob Lawrence, and more. Frances McCue, founding director of Hugo House, contributed biographical essays to accompany the photographs. McCue and Randlett will share the vision behind this collection of the artistic and literary culture of Washington, offering a glimpse at the great figures of the past and present.
More information and tickets here.
October 20: The Politics of Climate Change
Joshua Howe // Seattle Public Library // 7:00 p.m.
The dangerous effects of global warming on health, ecosystems, natural disasters, and economics are at an all-time high, according to a recent United Nations report. Despite a better understanding of the science behind climate change, author Joshua Howe says we still don’t have a handle on this environmental problem. In Behind the Curve: Science and the Politics of Global Warming, he traces the history of the global warming debate, beginning with Charles D. Keeling’s 1958 readings of CO2. Howe says a solution is hard to find because political opponents focus on the science behind these discoveries, rather than what they say about our changing planet. In a history fraught with developing world vs. the developed world and liberals vs. conservatives, understanding the past is an important step in moving forward. Howe is a professor of history and environmental studies at Reed College.
More information to come.
October 26: Saving the Great Bear Wild
Ian McAllister // Town Hall Seattle // 7:30 p.m.
Ian McAllister is a conservation activist who masterfully wields both camera and pen to document one of the last truly wild places in North America, the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia. In 2010, he was named a Leader of the 21st century by Time magazine for his work in cofounding the environmental advocacy organization, Pacific Wild, which he continues to run.
McAllister’s new book, Great Bear Wild: Dispatches from a Northern Rainforest, combines photographs of the astonishing biodiversity of the Great Bear Rainforest with essays that illustrate the many threats that climate change, oil pipelines, and resource extraction pose to the region. The book features a foreword by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who situates McAllister’s work within broader questions about wildlife conservation and energy consumption.
Jane Goodall comments on the book, “Through breathtaking photographs and moving prose, McAllister’s Great Bear Wild presents a compelling case for the urgent need to protect, in perpetuity, one of the most magnificent ecosystems on the planet—the increasingly threatened Great Bear Rainforest.”
More information to come. McAllister will also speak at the Portland Audubon Society on October 28.
November 10: Citizen Activism in the Making of Modern Seattle
R.M. Campbell, Mary Coney, and Wes Uhlman with David Brewster // Town Hall Seattle // 7:30 p.m.
In the 1950s, the city of Seattle began a transformation from an insular, provincial outpost to a vibrant and cosmopolitan cultural center. As veteran Seattle journalist R. M. Campbell illustrates in Stirring Up Seattle: Allied Arts in the Civic Landscape, this transformation was catalyzed in part by the efforts of a group of civic arts boosters originally known as “The Beer and Culture Society.” This “merry band” of lawyers, architects, writers, designers, and university professors, eventually known as Allied Arts of Seattle, lobbied for public funding for the arts, helped avert the demolition of Pike Place Market, and were involved in a wide range of crusades and campaigns in support of historic preservation, cultural institutions, and urban livability.
In a discussion guided by Town Hall founder, David Brewster, members of the original Allied Arts group—Mary Coney and R.M. Campbell—and former Seattle mayor, Wes Uhlman, will examine the role of citizen activism in making Seattle what it is today.
More information to come.