A Blog of Seattle Arts & Lectures

Meet Tessa Hulls, our 2021 Summer Book Bingo Board Illustrator!

The Seattle Public Library and Seattle Arts & Lectures are so pleased to announce that Tessa Hulls, SAL’s longtime “Official Doodler,” will be drawing our 2021 Summer Book Bingo Board! Every year, we partner with The Seattle Public Library to create a Summer Book Bingo card as part of a free program of summer reading fun. Readers play along from May – September to be entered in a chance to win fabulous prizes. Learn more about the program and view previous bingo boards here.

Tessa Hulls is an artist, writer, and adventurer who is fascinated by the concept of home. As the daughter of two first generation immigrants who landed in a town of 350 people, Tessa grew up with an unusual amount of isolation and spent her formative years reading her way through the public library and roaming alone through the hills with a backpack full of books. This love of solitude, research, and forward motion informs much of her unusually multidisciplinary creative practice, and she weaves genres to create work exploring the intersections of history, culture, belonging, and strength.

Tessa is currently holed up in her studio working on her graphic memoir, Feeding Ghosts, forthcoming from MCDxFSG in late 2022! While you wait for its release, you can preview some of the drawings she’s made as an audience member of SAL’s events—see her illustrations from talks by Carmen Maria MachadoMargaret Atwood, and Black Futures.

Below, we asked Tessa to tell us about why she’s excited by the prospect of drawing for Book Bingo and what the program means to her.

By Tessa Hulls, 2021 Summer Book Bingo Board Illustrator

For as long as I can remember, home has been a moving target—a destination that shifts both geographically and emotionally in an orbit I have never stopped chasing. But, in a life characterized by constant change, I have always had one bedrock: books.

As the author Bonhumil Hrabal wrote in Too Loud a Solitude, “My education has been so unwitting I can’t tell quite which of my thoughts come from me and which from my books… because when I read, I don’t really read; I pop a beautiful sentence into my mouth and suck it like a fruit drop, or I sip it like a liqueur until the thought dissolves in me like alcohol, infusing the brain and heart and coursing through the veins to the root of each blood vessel.”

As a little girl growing up in a tiny town abutting thousands of acres of wild land, I remember discovering the feral, anarchic freedom contained within my library card. It blew my world open. I would go to my two-room library and check out books by the linear feet, and each summer I would challenge myself to complete the summer reading program in a week.

I’m technically supposed to be saying no to all freelance work right now because I’m deep in a book publication deadline for my graphic memoir, Feeding Ghosts—but spending a pandemic working on a nonfiction graphic novel about my family’s intergenerational trauma is heavy. I am beyond excited to illustrate Summer Book Bingo in order to take a small morale break from the weight of my book.

Thank you, Tessa!

Posted in Summer Book Bingo