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Single Tickets On Sale Monday!
Single Tickets On Sale Monday!

Don’t miss a moment of SAL’s exciting new season! With Literary Arts lectures at Town Hall, Poetry at the luminous Chihuly Garden and Glass, another amazing year of SAL U, and special events like The Moth Mainstage at Benaroya Hall, SAL is the hottest ticket in town. And single tickets to all SAL events will be on sale Monday August 4th!

Literary Arts Series: James McBride, Colm Toibin, Ruth Ozeki, Sheri Fink, Cheryl Strayed, and Frank Bruni

Poetry Series: Ted Kooser, Matthea Harvey, Sherman Alexie, Timothy Donnelly, Lucie Brock-Broido, and Terrance Hayes

SAL Presents: Hinge with John Darnielle, Nicholas Kristof, Ann Hamilton, and The Moth Mainstage

SAL U: Hacking the Brain to Reveal, Repair and Rebuild, and Thinking Animals: Species, Power, and the Politics of Care in the World


SAL subscriptions are still available. With multiple subscription options, you can have the SAL experience you want. Subscribers also receive numerous benefits, like partner bookstore discounts, dining deals, parking discounts and more. As a SAL subscriber, you’ll never miss the events you want to attend. So subscribe now!

2014 WITS Back to School Breakfast
SAL Presents

Wed 7:30 AM
Seattle's Favorite Poems with Robert Pinsky - Free Event!
Poetry Series

Thu 7:30 PM \ Town Hall Seattle
In Conversation with John Darnielle
SAL Presents

Fri 8:00 PM \ Barboza
Hacking the Brain to Reveal, Repair, & Rebuild

Wed 7:00 PM \ Kane Hall

University of Washington
Ted Kooser
Poetry Series

Thu 7:30 PM \ Chihuly Garden and Glass
An Evening with Nicholas Kristof
SAL Presents

Mon 7:30 PM \ Town Hall Seattle
James McBride
Literary\Arts Series

Wed 7:30 PM \ Town Hall Seattle
Hacking the Brain to Reveal, Repair, & Rebuild
Wed 7:00 PM \ Kane Hall

University of Washington
A Seattle Writer's Tribute to Maya Angelou

WITS writer and poet Daemond Arrindell wrote a moving tribute to Maya Angelou.

"Maya Angelou, who didn’t consider herself wise, but “in root.” She saw herself as connected, to the past – the earth she was metaphorically planted in – but also to the young leaves sprouting. She chose not to look down upon those who came after but to look up at us, with love, to recognize the nutrients of experience and courage and love that she had within her to pass on. Griot that she was, she seemed to delight in this burden. Though, I doubt highly that she would have ever called it a burden."

WITS Year End Readings at SPL: Imagination into Ink

Join us for two inspiring nights as elementary, middle, and high school writers from Highline, Port Townsend, Seattle and Shoreline School Districts, as well as students from Seattle Children’s Hospital, read from their poems, stories, memoirs, and comics. 

Both events will take place at 6 pm at the Central Branch of the Seattle Public Library

Wednesday, May 21: Elementary and Middle School
Level 1, Microsoft Auditorium

Thursday, May 22: High School
Level 4, Room 1

The event is free and open to the public, and we'll be ending each evening with a cupcake celebration, generously provided by Cupcake Royale.

Sponsored by:
Reed, Longyear, Malnati & Ahrens, PLLC
Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Recommend Books You Love, Help SAL

Discover a new iPhone app, tell your friends about books you love and help support SAL! Here’s how:


Between now and May 30, use the app to recommend books to your friends (they don't have to have the app too, you just need their email) and make sure to copy For each book you recommend, BooksILove with donate $1 to SAL. It's that easy! Just by telling people you love about books you love, you can help SAL earn $$$ to support our work to engage readers and writers of all generations!


Thank you, and thanks to BooksILove!

Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco Speaks to Garfield High School Students

The Presidential Inaugural Poet, Richard Blanco, speaks to students at Garfield High School about equality, childhood, cultural landscapes, and being a "full-time poet."

SAL Awarded NEA Grant for WITS

SAL is thrilled to be able to share that we have received a $40k award from the National Endowment for the Arts for our Writers in the Schools program!


The NEA awarded $1.42 million to 56 U.S. literature nonprofits. The announcement comes as part of the organization's reveal of its second round of 2014 grant awards, with nearly $75 million going to 971 arts nonprofits nationwide.

"We know that arts and culture play an important role in our nation's economy, with the most recent numbers showing the sector comprising more than 3.2% – or $504 billion – of GDP," said NEA acting chairman Joan Shigekawa. "The NEA is proud to support the nation's nonprofit organizations which are an integral part of the arts and cultural sector." 

SAL in the News: Seattle Times on Gillian Flynn

The Gone Girl author talks to the Seattle Times' Moira Macdonald about twists, turns and a marriage’s icy heart. 


"Flynn, a former entertainment journalist turned novelist, is talking about “Gone Girl,” her blockbuster third novel. Released in 2012, it’s since sold more than 6 million copies in hardcover (the paperback edition’s finally coming out later this month, after nearly two years), and a feature-film version scripted by Flynn and directed by David Fincher (“Zodiac,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) is coming in the fall, starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. She’ll discuss the book, along with her other works, at Seattle Arts & Lectures next Thursday."


Read the full article here.


There are still a few tickets left to SAL's evening with Gillian Flynn. Get yours now before they sell out!

Thank you for making Words Matter!

Thursday, March 27, was SAL's annual benefit dinner, Words Matter. What an incredible evening it was - we were inspired by Jonathan Evison's remarks on why words matter to him, delighted by WITS student Moses Walker and his beautiful poem about his X-Ray vision to "doing something awesome" with his life, and honored to celebrate Lee Soper and Book-It Repertory Theatre as our inaugural Prowda Literary Champion Award winners.

But most of all we were moved and touched and humbled by the generosity of our SAL supporters. Together, we raised over $189,000 to support our ongoing work to inspire and engage the community.

As George Saunders said so well, we want to use literature as a vehicle for all of us to emerge "some percentage more alive, breathless and with less separate-ness." Thank you for believing in that. Thank you for being with us last night. And thank you for your partnership in making this all possible.


It's never too late to pitch in to make words matter. Click here!

The Catharsis of Angry Letters!

Writer Eli Hastings shares on the WITS blog his experience of the healing power of angry letters. 

Poet Bob Hicok at Nathan Hale High School

Bob Hicok visited Nathan Hale High School this morning and spoke to the 9th grade poets, some of them dressed as super heroes.

He read for fifteen minutes to a completely absorbed group of twenty-three students and shared lines such as, “Tattoo my front door to my tombstone/ and place a key on my tongue like a mint,” and ending, from “Primer,” that explores his Michigan roots, with, “Let us all be from somewhere./ Let us tell each other everything we can.”

Just Added! SAL U

A series of four lectures, with John Delaney of the UW School of Oceanography, will explore how oceans dominate entire planetary ecosystems on earth and probably beyond. A fifth lecture, to be held in October, will share results of the major 2014 Seagoing Expedition to complete construction of a Novel Offshore Laboratory the size of a Tectonic Plate. Click here for more.

Words Matter!

Save the date, mark your calendar; gather your fellow readers, writers and lovers of stories and words! SAL's primary fundraising vehicle, WORDS MATTER, will be held March 27. Author of All About Lulu, Jonathan Evison, will be the keynote speaker. Click here for more.

WITS Tumblr Revives Student Work!

Our WITS Tumblr page is back in action! Every week we'll be publishing work from the past three years of WITS students. Make sure to follow us on tumblr to get a weekly dose of inspiration from our exciting young writers.

12-13 Annual Report is Here!

As 2013 draws to a close and we reflect back on the year that has passed, we are share with you a snapshot annual report of our work this past year. As you'll see, in 2012/13, the generous commitment of our patrons and supporters brought 19 literary luminaries to Seattle, engaged over 15,000 audience members, and allowed our Writers in the Schools (WITS) program to inspire 5,500 children from around the Puget Sound region. Read the whole report to learn more!

Poet Dorothea Lasky Visits B.F. Day Elementary School

Award-winning poet Dorothea Lasky conducted a special lesson for 3rd graders at B.F. Day Elementary School. Find out how her lively visit sparked a classroom full of future writers and performers. 

2012-13 WITS Anthology Released This Weekend

On Sunday, September 29th we'll be celebrating the release of this year's WITS anthology, Only Rocks and Fire, with a book launch event at Benaroya Hall. The anthology showcases the best student work created in the program during the 2012-13 school year, and features the writing and illustrations of more than 100 students in grades K-12. Each of the sites that WITS worked with this year, including 23 schools in the Highline, Port Townsend, Seattle, and Shoreline School Districts and Seattle Children's Hospital, are represented in the anthology.


The book launch is free and open to the public and will include readings by the students, a book signing, and sweet treats from our friends at Cupcake Royale. Please join us in congratulating these wonderful student writers!

Seattle Arts & Lectures Announces 2013-14 Season Subscriptions Now On Sale
Subscriptions for the Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL) 2013-14 season are now on sale and single tickets go on sale August 1. The Literary Arts Series and Poetry Series will each present six events featuring the best-established and emerging authors of our time. The Literary Arts Series will take place at Town Hall Seattle and the Poetry Series will take place at ACT Theatre and Town Hall. Both series will now feature book-signings with the authors, open to all ticket levels. While the Poetry Series will continue to be hosted by Rebecca Hoogs, SAL’s Program Director, the Literary Arts Series will be moderated entirely by local authors and experts, with an introduction by Hoogs or Ruth Dickey, the incoming Executive Director.
WITS Writers In the News

WITS writers-in-residence are in the news! Daemond Arrindell, who has taught middle and high school students through WITS for five years, was featured in The Seattle Times on Sunday, April 7. Check out the article here: Karen Finneyfrock, a local and national slam poetry legend whose first YA novel was released this winter, has an interview published in The Seattle Lesbian Karen has taught elementary, middle, and high school students through Writers in the Schools for six years. Congratulations to Daemond and Karen!


The Poetry Series event with Jorie Graham originally scheduled for May 15 has had to be postponed for health reasons. We have rescheduled this event for Tuesday, September 17 when we hope that Ms. Graham will be in full health and good spirits. If you have tickets for this event and need more information or have any questions, please contact our Box Office by email or phone at (206) 621-2230 x10

Words Matter

On March 15, 2013, over 250 guests attended Seattle Arts & Lectures' 25th Anniversary Words Matter Benefit. The night was enlivened by the alchemy of good words and even better company. We were joined by our founder Sherry Prowda, authors Claire Dederer and Bruce Barcott, Washington State Poet Laureate Kathleen Flenniken, and Writers in the Schools (WITS) student Angel Cielo. Vis-à-Vis Society also made a special appearance collecting data from our guests during the cocktail hour.

We exceeded our goal and raised more than $175,000 in support of Seattle Arts & Lectures' programs! Our guests' generosity thrilled and humbled us. With this support, we are excited to continue bringing another quarter-century of unforgettable and inspiring stories to our community. 
Thank you for helping us make Words Matter!
A Story about SAL: annual appeal

Maga Barzallo Sockemtickem, a 10th grader, walked to the stage at the annual WITS reading at Benaroya Hall. As she read her poem "Snow Turtle," the audience stilled. A patient at Seattle Children's Hospital, Maga shared the intensity of her experience through the power of her precise words and brought together hundreds of people in a moving poetic moment.*

Maga cultivated her writing through WITS, a Seattle Arts & Lectures program that teaches 5,000 public school students and employs local writers to build the next generation of the literary community. Maga's "Snow Turtle" is inspiration for SAL; as we transform throughout this winter during our 25th anniversary, we find it is good to be "the turtle with fire through the snow." SAL has big plans to burn brightly in 2013 and for another 25 years. You can help us do that.

Now is the perfect time to contribute. $5, $25, $100, $500 or more will fund WITS (Writers in the Schools), allow us to bring excellent speakers like Joan Didion and Nick Flynn, and create vibrant education programs like David Domke's SAL U political courses at the University of Washington.

We couldn't do it without your help, so please consider us as the year draws to a close. From all of us at SAL, we thank you!

*Snow Turtle
She ran.
Delicate arrival, blazing alarm.
The wind blew through with ice in its arms.
She listened.
Whispers of sickness, she refused
to be alarmed.
She walked.
Gone through the city.
Healing slowly.
She walked slow.
She grieved
and wondered how
she'd get through.
She realized she'd be the turtle,
this turtle with fire through the snow.

SAL receives $25,000 grant from Amazon will support Seattle Arts & Lectures’ innovative Writers in the Schools (WITS) program for the fourth year with a $25,000 gift, helping to inspire thousands of public school students throughout the region to discover and develop their authentic writing voice through in-school residencies staffed by local professional writers.

The WITS program, founded in 1994, places professional writers-in-residence at public elementary, middle, and high schools around Puget Sound plus Seattle Children’s Hospital, giving young people the opportunity to create, present, and receive feedback on their writing. The program culminates each year in two showcase events: public readings at the Seattle Public Library, and a printed anthology of selected works. The WITS program also offers in-school professional development opportunities for teachers and provides local writers with meaningful employment.

In the 2012-13 school year, the WITS program is serving over 5,000 K-12 students at 24 sites: Seattle Children’s Hospital plus 23 public schools in Seattle, Highline, Port Townsend, and Shoreline School Districts. In addition, the WITS program is providing 22 professional writers with meaningful employment.

About’s Support for the Writing Community
A love of reading and an appreciation for the people who create great books is part of the DNA at offers grants for nonprofit author and publisher groups that share an obsession with fostering the creation, discussion, and publication of books. Please visit for more information.

Interview with the Proprietors of Open Books: A Poem Emporium
When and why did you open the store?
Christine Deavel: Open Books: A Poem Emporium came into being in 1995 when we decided to transform the general bookstore we’d run for seven years into one devoted to poetry, moving it down the street in the process. It was a decision made out of necessity and desire. The lively world of the independent bookstore had begun to crumble at that point (Barnes and Noble had moved into University Village and Amazon had been founded). By becoming poetry-only, we hoped to play to our strengths (we both read, write, and have studied poetry) and to set Open Books apart. And we could spend our days surrounded by what we love -- poetry books -- and talking with people who love them too. Read more.