Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit

Past Event: Thursday, June 5, 2014

At Town Hall Seattle

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Literary Arts

The author of thirteen books, Solnit writes on art, landscape, public and collective life, ecology, politics, hope, meandering, reverie, memory, and the power of story.

Her books include River of Shadows, Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (2004), for which she received a Guggenheim, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award.

Solnit’s 2013 publication “The Faraway Nearby,” noted as possibly her best by the Boston Globe review, offers a number of themes involving meaningful travels both literal (Iceland) and metaphorical (fairy tales). In a series of 13 chapters with titles like “apricots,’’ “ice,’’ “breath,’’ “flight’’ that circle back and repeat, Solnit blends essay and memoir in examining how we escape through stories, why we tell them, and the role of empathy in our narratives.

Selected Works

The Faraway Nearby (2013)
Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas (2010)
A California Bestiary (2010)
The Battle of the Story of the Battle of Seattle (2009)
A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster (2009)
“News from Nowhere: Iceland’s polite dystopia”. Harper’s Magazine. October 2008.
Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics (2007)
After the Ruins, 1906 and 2006: Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fire (2006)
Yosemite in Time: Ice Ages, Tree Clocks, Ghost Rivers (2005)
A Field Guide to Getting Lost (2005)
Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (2004)
River of Shadows: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West (2003)
As Eve Said to the Serpent: On Landscape, Gender, and Art (2001)
Hollow City: The Siege of San Francisco and the Crisis of American Urbanism (2000)
Wanderlust: A History of Walking (2000)
A Book of Migrations: Some Passages in Ireland (1997)
Savage Dreams: A Journey Into the Landscape Wars of the American West (1994)
Secret Exhibition: Six California Artists of the Cold War Era (1990)

Links of Interest

Interview with California Reads author Rebecca Solnit
NPR: Telling Stories About Ourselves In ‘The Faraway Nearby’
A Paradise Built in Hell: Rebecca Solnit on “The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster”

Event Details

Town Hall Seattle

1119 8th Ave
Seattle, WA 98101

View directions.

Transportation & Parking

Town Hall Seattle is centrally located at 1119 8th Ave, on the corner of 8th and Seneca. Their venue is served by frequent bus routes, is near access to light rail stations, and close to a number of parking options nearby. Please see their website for more details.


Open Captioning is an option for people who have hearing losses, where a captioning screen displaying the words that are spoken or sung is placed on stage. To make a request for open captioning, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10. For digital streams of online events, all pre-recorded and live online events will have either open or closed captioning. Please note: for in-person events at Town Hall Seattle, we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure captioning services. 

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are devices that people with hearing loss use in conjunction with their hearing device (hearing aids or cochlear implants). Town Hall Seattle has a hearing loop system, so you can switch your T-coil hearing aid to telecoil to have the stage’s microphones transmitted directly to your hearing aids. To pick up a headset, check in with any Town Hall usher when you arrive.

Sign Language Interpretation is available upon request for Deaf, DeafBlind, and hard of hearing individuals. To make a request for interpretation, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Sign Language Interpretation” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process and we will contact you to confirm details. Please note: we appreciate a two-week advance notice to allow us time to secure interpretation

Wheelchair Accessible Seating and Accessible Restrooms are available in all sections at Town Hall Seattle, which is fully accessible to ticket holders with physical mobility concerns. Town Hall Seattle recommends that visitors use the 8th Avenue Entrance for events in the Great Hall, and elevators with Braille signage go to all levels within the Hall. The venue has all-gender, ADA-accessible restrooms on the lobby and Forum level. To reserve seating for a specific mobility concern, please contact us at or 206.621.2230×10, or select “Wheelchair Accessible or Alternative Seating Options” during ticket checkout, and we will contact you to confirm details. For more details on accessibility features at Town Hall, click here.

Guide and service dogs are welcome.

All-gender restrooms are available.

We are pleased to offer these accessibility services at our venues, and they are provided at no additional cost to ticket holders. Please contact us with any questions and feedback about how we can be more accessible and inclusive. Our Patron Services Manager is available at, or Monday-Friday from 10:00am – 5:00pm at 206.621.2230×10.

For more accessibility information, please head to If you would like to make accessibility arrangements you do not see listed here, please contact our box office or select “Other Accommodations” from the Accessibility section during your ticket checkout process, and we will contact you to confirm details.