A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Ruth Dickey stands at a lectern speaking into the microphone while holding a piece of paper.

A Letter from Ruth

Dear friends,

This week, we shared our 30th #SALMoment since we all began sheltering in place. And as we hit this milestone, I’ve been thinking about some of my most precious SAL moments over the past 7 years. Perhaps you were, as I was, utterly charmed by George Saunders’ letter to his students that appeared in The New Yorker and as part of Cheryl Strayed’s new podcast. I loved how he framed why our observations and writings about this time matter so much, and it reminded me of when he came to visit SAL back in 2014.

I went to pick him up at the airport, and I was so excited to meet George Saunders and so nervous that I forgot where I parked my car. George could not have been more gracious about it as we wandered the garage aisles, and it strikes me that there is something profoundly similar in our current moment. We are all wandering the aisles of this time, unsure what will happen and how we will find our way. And I’ve been trying to bring to my confused wandering the energy that George cultivated in the SeaTac garage and with his students: honest, curious, appreciative of whatever humor we can find, and fundamentally hopeful.

And, even as we wander, there is always good news to share:

• We’re delighted to reveal the cover of our 2019 Youth Poet Laureate Wei-Wei Lee’s forthcoming book, In the Footsteps of One Thousand Griefs.

• Last week, more than 1,300 households tuned in for our first-ever online event with Elizabeth Kolbert! (The Q&A is free for all). And, this week, our WITS writers went live on Facebook to share their writing.

• And… drumroll, please! Today we’re delighted to officially launch Spring/Summer Book Bingo in partnership with our friends at the Seattle Public Library. Download your digital board here.

We also have news on how we’re navigating through this new time—we are moving our spring events and our annual gala, Words Matter, online. While we wish fervently that we were able to gather in person, we look forward to finding new ways to be together virtually. Although we cannot share the space of a room, we can still share the space of an idea, a poem, and the transformative moments that language makes possible, with the added benefit that our virtual events have room for everyone, near and far. As always if you have ideas, thoughts, or a favorite #SALMoment you’d like to share, I’d love to hear from you at

Taking deep breaths with you, and hoping you and those you love are well,

Ruth Dickey
SAL Executive Director

Posted in 2019/20 Season