CHS Pics | A Hugo House full of small press all-stars on Capitol Hill


(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

RJ Casey and Ann Casey of Yeti Press

RJ Casey and Ann Casey of Yeti Press

55 small press publishers, some producing as few as six works per year, some fewer, filled 11th Ave’s Hugo House Sunday afternoon for the APRIL Book Expo, the grand finale of the 2015 edition annual festival and one of many last bows for Hugo House as we know it before a planned, literary nonprofit-friendly redevelopment of the property.

During the week, CHS also stopped through a seance at the Sorrento Hotel and APRIL’s “offsite” with the Vignettes gallery. If you missed the event but are interested in learning more about the region’s small press publishers, here’s a roster of Sunday’s participants. You can learn more about the APRIL Festival at

More pictures below. Continue reading

2015 APRIL will be ‘largest ever’ edition of small press literature festival

APRIL-logo-full-GreenThe cozy, home-like environment of Richard Hugo House’s original and current space makes it a pretty fitting last stop for APRIL Festival’s annual grassroots romp around Capitol Hill and First Hill. Add the sorta-twisted fact that the 1904 building that houses the internationally acclaimed center for writers was once a mortuary and the space might seem an even more ideal fit as a venue for the week-long literature festival known for its freewheeling spirit and often unorthodox approaches to presenting works.

However, next year APRIL will have to find another site for its capstone small press Book Expo, and other events it has traditionally held at Hugo House. The writing center’s current building will be torn down in 2016 to make way for the construction of a six-story mixed-use structure. Thankfully, the new building does promise to provide a continued home for Hugo House on the east side of Cal Anderson Park, but it will of course take some time to build. And the new space will of course be a change; a welcome change in many respects, Hugo House’s executive director Tree Swenson says, but aspects of the ambiance will certainly shift.

It remains to be seen how APRIL will adapt in 2016 and if it will return to Hugo House once the new incarnation is completed. And while thanks to generous support Capitol Hill gets to hold on to Hugo House, some fear that trends the Hugo House property revamp reflects — including the continuously rising property values and rents helping spur the rolling redevelopment of the neighborhood — may threaten to push most less-commercial artists and arts out of the neighborhood once and for all. Meanwhile, the city’s designation of Capitol Hill as Seattle’s first official Arts District represents one effort meant to help prevent that from happening.

All that said, though at its inception four years ago it may have entered a Capitol Hill already past its prime as a readily accessible place for the arts to thrive without intervention or initiatives, APRIL has nonetheless seen impressive growth since its humble beginnings. Whats more, APRIL continues to find some ways to grow in 2015, as it now looks to adapt to new challenges in the near future.

“It’s definitely getting bigger and bigger than we ever could have imagined when we started it,” said Tara Atkinson, who founded APRIL along with Willie Fitzgerald back in 2012, when the two found themselves unemployed roommates in a Capitol Hill apartment that also served as APRIL’s headquarters. The acronym they chose as the name for the festival that comes every March, and which has morphed in to an organization that also offers some smaller literary events throughout the year, is descriptive — ‘Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature.’

This year’s festival runs one day shorter than 2014’s, kicking off Tuesday, March 24, with a party at Barboza, and wrapping up Sunday, March 29, with the Book Expo at Hugo House. However, while the number of days and events is indeed slightly lower, some other numbers are up. Continue reading

Design competition could put a well-crafted Little Free Library on your Capitol Hill corner

Finding one of Capitol Hill’s Little Free Libraries is a lovely little literary treat. What are they reading in Miller Park? What are they giving away?

Sometimes, the design of the free-book boxes also tells a story. A Seattle Little Free Library design competition benefiting non-profit Architects Without Borders will recognize the creativity and functionality of these neighborhood mini-repositories:

PrintClick here for the COMPETITION BRIEF
Click here to REGISTER




SEPTEMBER 6-7 & 13-14, 2014

Let Your Library Loose this Summer!

Get ready to design, build and steward a Little Free Library prototype that promotes community and literacy in Seattle’s neighborhoods!

Little Free Libraries are small-scale book shelters that function as “take-a-book, leave-a-book” gathering places. They provide a location where the free exchange of books, ideas, stories, and interests contribute to a shared experience valued by neighbors and visitors. All entry fees benefit Architects Without Borders – Seattle, a local non-profit that provides ecologically sensitive and culturally appropriate design assistance to communities in need.

(Image: Judy Solomon)

(Image: Judy Solomon)

Libraries on the Loose Jury:
Marcellus Turner – Seattle Public Libraries City Librarian
Audrey Barbakoff – Librarian at the Bainbridge Island Branch of the Kitsap Regional Library
Kimo Griggs – Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Washington
Lesley Bain – Principal of Framework Cultural Placemaking
Susan Jones – Principal of atelierjonesConsider what design can do to foster community and literacy in our local neighborhoods and let your library loose!

Individuals can register for $75, small businesses for $100. Kids under 18 can enter for free.

We’ll check in on the competition and any new Capitol Hill little library projects to watch for.

Capitol Hill artist paints an apocalyptic background for new Lola comic book series

An excerpt from Lola (Images: Siya Oum with permission to CHS)

An excerpt from Lola (Images: Siya Oum with permission to CHS)

A post-apocalyptic narrative created by Siya Oum hit the racks of Phoenix Comics Wednesday as part of the Capitol Hill-based artist’s first national comic book release. Oum painstakingly forged the tale dubbed Lola out of her Capitol Hill abode through a mostly solo coloring, designing, and writing process.

LOLA-01a-Reg-Siya-OUM“I’ve already written 18 issues,” said Oum. The Wednesday unveiling of Lola, Volume I — that includes six issues — follows the heroine as she navigates the United States after a nuclear disaster and investigates what started it all. The comic was colored in a traditional manner that takes twice as long, she said. The artist plans to release more volumes on a monthly basis, and is getting support for national distribution.

Lola’s release comes courtesy of California-based Aspen Comics. The apocalyptic storyline paints a bleak future for the planet’s environment while creating the legend of Lola and fleshing out the heroine. “It’s a more personal story,” Oum said.

Already with a deep catalog of comics to her name – she’s lost track of just how many – Oum tells CHS that all of her sequential arts have been created on the Hill – and inspired “big time” by the community. “All of it [started here].” Before launching her career on the Hill, Oum had to relocate from some warmer surroundings before digging into her new profession. Continue reading

The one where President Carter comes back to Seattle and visits Capitol Hill with the ‘most important book he’s ever written’

IMG_9683-2Where were you from noon to 12:45 on Monday? While many from the neighborhood were at offices and work sites more than a lunch-time jaunt away from the epicenter, and at least several probably still in bed, Capitol Hill was host to a public visit by a US president for the first time to speak of since, well, we don’t know. Despite the time slot, an estimated 400 people streamed through Elliot Bay Book Co. to get a presidential signature in their copy of Jimmy Carter’s latest book, A Call to Action: Women, Violence and Religion, released last Tuesday, and to have a chance to meet Number 39.

“This is my 28th book, and it’s the most important book I’ve ever written,” the former US president told CHS. “It’s about the horrible abuse of girls and women around the world, including in the United States, so I hope we see some kind of good from it,” he said. An outspoken Christian and “lay minister” from Georgia who turns 90 years-old in October, Carter served as president from 1977 through 1981. In the years since, Carter has gained greater esteem in the eyes of many for his work along with wife Rosalynn at the Carter Center for Human Rights.

A cadre of police cars along with a firetruck and ambulance parked outside Elliott Bay midday Monday, many of their would-be occupants standing by or standing guard on the sidewalk, was just enough of a scene to draw attention.

It wasn’t James Earl Carter’s first visit to Seattle. “I like to come back here,” Carter said. “I’ve come here for many times, and it’s a beautiful city, to deal with Boeing, to deal with Microsoft, to deal with Google, and so forth. And I have been here several times to sell books,” he said. Continue reading

Late March means APRIL poets, writers, readers on Capitol Hill

The APRIL crew (Image: APRIL Festival)

The APRIL crew (Image: APRIL Festival)

In recent years in early spring, Capitol Hill has been the nurturing ground for a growing literature festival. The unconventional and sometimes raucous grassroots APRIL Festival focuses on “Authors, Publishers and Readers of Independent Literature” — a piece of the diverse make-up of contemporary literary culture and literary economies which rarely receives this level of focus.

“It’s like a farmer’s market for books,” said APRIL coordinator — and CHS veteran — Frances E. Dinger. Continue reading

President Carter appearance planned on our Capitol Hill

(Image: Habitat for Humanity International/George L. Hipple)

(Image: Habitat for Humanity International/George L. Hipple)

We see presidents around our Capitol Hill from time to time. Another will be here at the end of the month for a special appearance at Elliott Bay Book Company.

The Elliott Bay Company will host a SPECIAL INSTORE BOOK-SIGNING by President Jimmy Carter on Monday, March 31 at 12 noon.

9781476773957President Carter will be signing copies of his new book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence and Power.

Tickets to join the signing line for the event will be given out with a purchase of A Call to Action from the Elliott Bay Book Company. The book goes on sale Tuesday, March 25 and advance purchases may be made online, at the bookstore, or by calling 206-624-6600. This Book-Signing is President Carter’s only Seattle appearance. Due to time constraints we will not be able to accommodate personalized book requests or posed pictures. We will open at 10 a.m. Please call the store at (206) 624-6600 with any questions.

You can read an excerpt of the new book here. These righties call it a “a tome of women’s rights.”

In 1980 when Carter lost the presidency to Ronald Reagan, Pioneer Square-born Elliott Bay was already eight years old.

The former president celebrates his 90th birthday later this year.

Seattle Asian Art Museum hosts SAM ‘Great Big Art Book Sale’

Not all of them are “great big” but many of them are. Fans of glossy pages filled with images of lovely objects will want to swing by Volunteer Park’s Seattle Asian Art Museum to score a few bargains at the Seattle Art Museum’s big clearance sale.

Here are the details from the CHS Calendar:

SAM’s Great Big Art Book Sale
Join us January 22 – 26th for our GREAT BIG ART BOOK SALE!

We are offering inventory-clearing deals on hundreds of art books and exhibition catalogues. At the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park during museum hours.

Books on Warhol, Rome, Picasso, Asian Art, Impressionism, Arts and Crafts, Books for kids and much more!

January 22, 24 – 26 from 10am – 5pm and January 23rd from 10am – 9pm.

Writer brings stories of family’s move from Capitol Hill to Costa Rica mountain town to Elliott Bay

Margot Page is back on the backside of Capitol Hill these days. Saturday night at Elliott Bay Book Company, she’ll share some of the stories born when she, her husband and three children left the Hill for Costa Rica:9780615893648

Capitol Hill writer Margot Page takes the stage in our readings room tonight to speak about Paradise Imperfect: an American Family Moves to the Costa Rican Mountains (Yellow House Press), her memoir of pulling up stakes in Seattle and moving with her husband and three children (aged 4,9 and 12) for a time to a small mountain town. “In the power, beauty, and accessibility of its prose, Paradise Imperfect reminds me of Anne Lamott and Barbara Kingsolver. But the brash charm and dark humor are Page’s own.”– Bob Shacochis. “Page’s writing brings together three elements all too rarely found in combination: fierce intelligence; genuine, irresistible funniness; and authentic sweetness.”– Claire Dederer,

Page appears at 7 PM at Elliott Bay Books, 1521 10th Ave.