Most events at the Get Lit! Festival are free and open to the public, though donations are gladly accepted and may be suggested at certain events. The information below provides details for events that require a ticket.

To Purchase Tickets for Headlining Readings and Writing Workshops

Tickets are available through TicketsWest. They can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-325-SEAT. Tickets can also be purchased in person at all TicketsWest retail outlets.

Tickets will go on sale on Monday, March 27th at 10am PST.


Free Student Tickets
Students from any regional high school or college get in free to all headlining readings by showing a current ID at the event box office. However, space is limited. *This does not apply to our Writing Workshops, however students may purchase tickets to workshops at a discounted price. ($30 general admission, $20 for students with ID)

Ticketed events include:

Headlining Readings

Thursday, April 20
An Evening of Poetry Sponsored by Lost Horse Press
featuring Christopher Howell, Nance Van Winckel, and Albert Goldbarth
The Lincoln Center
7:00 p.m.
$10 plus fees; free with student ID

In celebration of Christopher Howell’s new collection of poetry, Love’s Last Number, he will be joined by his friends and fellow poets Nance Van Winckel and Albert Goldbarth to read from their latest works. The poems in Love’s Last Number are deeply concerned with the nature of time and our relationship with it. Alberto Rios describes reading Love’s Last Number as an experience of being “quietly drawn into an entire book of war poems, demonstrating the abidingly cruel relationship between human beings and the inexorable. It is a circumstance so quietly and powerfully vivified time and again.” Howell’s tenth collection of poetry marks the continuation of a talented career distinguished by appearances in anthologies and journals such as Antioch Review, Colorado Review, Crazy Horse, Denver Quarterly, Field, Gettysburg Review, Harper’s, Hudson Review, Iowa Review, Northwest Review, Poetry Northwest, Southern Review, and Volt. He is the recipient of three Pushcart Prizes and two National Endowment Fellowships.

Nance Van Winckel is the author of eight books of poetry, most recently Our Foreigner, winner of the Pacific Coast Poetry Series Prize, Book of No Ledge, and Pacific Walkers. She’s also published five books of fiction, including Ever Yrs, a novel in the form of a scrapbook and Boneland: Linked Stories. She is on the faculties of Eastern Washington University’s MFA Program and Vermont College of Fine Arts’ MFA in Writing Program. The recipient of two NEA poetry fellowships, the Paterson Fiction Prize, Poetry Society of America’s Gordon Barber Poetry Award, a Christopher Isherwood Fiction Fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes, Nance lives with her husband Rik Nelson in Spokane, Washington.

Albert Goldbarth is the author of over twenty collections of poetry and three essay collections. He has received prestigious fellowships and awards such as the Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Mark Twain Poetry Award. His newest collection, The Loves and Wars of Relative Scale, explores the intersection of the large-scale universe and individual-scale joys and tragedies.

Founded in 1998, Lost Horse Press has continually published and promoted fine contemporary literature. Lost Horse Press will sell all of the books mentioned above at the event and will host a signing after the reading. Lost Horse Press is proud to sponsor this reading through a generous grant from the Selinger Shone Foundation. We thank the Selingers for their continued support.


Friday, April 21st
Poetry and Prose: A Reading with Jamaal May and Emily Ruskovich
The Bing Crosby Theater
7:00 p.m.
$10 plus fees; free with a student ID

This event is a must for this year’s festival-goers; join Jamaal May and Emily Ruskovich for an evening of readings in both poetry and prose. May uses poetry to explore the interconnectedness of people and ideas; Ruskovich utilizes beautiful, character-driven language in her prose to explore the private and painful inner workings of her characters’ minds.

Jamaal May is the author of two poetry collections: Hum and The Big Book of Exit Strategies, both of which were published through Alice James Books. In an interview with The Normal School, May said, “Art, be it poetry, music, sculpture, puppetry—the whole of it, inspires change on a personal level rather than a global one. This is important because the individual is the whole. The creation of art argues that people are connected, ideas are connected, the past and future are connected by this moment.” May’s first collection received a Lannan Foundation Grant, American Library Association’s Notable Book Award, and was named a finalist for the Tufts Discovery Award and an NAACP Image Award.

Idaho, Emily Ruskovich’s debut novel, is concerned with a husband’s fading memory as his wife learns the dark truth of what happened to his children and his first wife.. The New York Times Book Review said, “Ruskovich’s language is itself a consolation, as she subtly posits the troubling thought that only decency can save us.” Ruskovich was the 2011–2012 James C. McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her fiction has appeared in Zoetrope, One Story, and The Virginia Quarterly Review. She was the 2015 winner of the O. Henry Award for her story “Owl.” We would like to thank Gonzaga University for their generous sponsorship.


Sunday, April 23
Get Lit! Presents Meghan Daum and Justin Torres
The Bing Crosby Theater
11:00 a.m.
$10; free with student ID

Meghan Daum received the 2015 Pen Center Award (USA) in creative nonfiction, received a 2015 Guggenheim fellowship in general nonfiction, and a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in creative writing. In her highly acclaimed memoir, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, Daum demonstrates her mastery of what Salon has called confessional writing, a genre forged by Daum herself, in which she looks inward, and then upward. Her focus is not simply internal; she brings the conversation to the wider world outside herself while using her experience as a touchstone. Her first book, My Misspent Youth, introduced readers to this new and unique voice, and has since its initial publication been celebrated for its contributions to the personal essay form. My Misspent Youth was reissued in 2015 by Picador.

Daum is the editor of Selfish, Shallow, Self Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, a collection of essays from writers who choose to remain childless. In her work, she focuses on issues ranging from grief to the political landscape, authenticity, class in America, and the conflicting ideals of womanhood. As an opinion columnist for The Los Angeles Times, she is a critic of herself, of the media, and of the current political landscape. Daum is an honest, breath-of-fresh-air writer, and as Cheryl Strayed of The New York Times Book Review says, Daum is “one of the most emotionally exacting, mercilessly candid, deeply funny, and intellectually rigorous writers of our time.”

Justin Torres is the celebrated author of We the Animals (Mariner Books, 2012), a small novel about a family of five living in New York. But for it’s all concision, the novel does not lack in power. O Magazine describes the book by saying that “in stark prose, Torres shows us how one family grapples with a dangerous and chaotic love for each other, as well as what it means to become a man.”  The novel earned Torres a spot on The National Book Foundation’s list of 2012’s 5 Under 35. Since the book’s debut, he has continued to publish shorter work in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Tin House, The Washington Post, Glimmer Train, Flaunt, and other publications. Torres recently served as the Picador Guest Professor for Literature at the University of Leipzig in 2016. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is a recipient of the Rolón United States Artist Fellowship in Literature, and is now a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford. He has worked as a farmhand, a dog-walker, a creative writing teacher, and a bookseller.


Writing Workshops

The following ticketed writing workshops take place at the Spokane Convention Center on Saturday, April 22nd. Please be sure to bring a notebook and writing utensil for each workshop. Also check for other requirements from each instructor in the description below.
*Check the full schedule for an additional non-ticketed writing workshop from author Randy Henderson, or contact us via getlit@ewu or 509-828-1498 for more information.


Morning Workshops: The following four workshops will take place from 9:30-11:30 a.m.


All the Feels, Faster! A Writing Workshop with Asa Maria Bradley

Spokane Convention Center, Room 202A

Cost: $30, $20 for high school or college students with student ID

This workshop aims to help writers deepen emotions in early drafts and become more prolific.

Most writers have a clear picture of their characters, but portraying their true emotional depth may take us a few drafts. In this workshop, we’ll explore how to maximize the emotional punch of early drafts and thereby write our way to the final product quicker. Most writers keep track of their characters’ traits and appearances early on in the writing process. In this workshop, we go one step further and look deeper into their backstory and how that relates to their emotional journey in every scene. We’ll learn tips for understanding the characters’ arcs earlier in the writing process, but still leave openings for surprises along the way. Handouts and practical exercises demonstrate how to increase your productivity by spending a short bit of extra time to get to know your characters before you set them on their adventure. No matter your writing habits, this workshop will give you the tools to get to your final draft faster.

The Third Law: An Exploration of Collaborative Writing with Meghan McClure and Michael Schmeltzer

Spokane Convention Center, Room 202B

Cost: $30, $20 for high school or college students with student ID

Newton’s third law of motion states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. There is no better literary equivalent of this than collaborative writing. In this session we’ll examine several collaborative works (from various genres) and explore how each of us participates in forms of shared storytelling in our daily and artistic lives. We will also talk about the strengths and strategies of collaboration and even do some writing of our own (for our class we’ll have exercises that encourage writing with another but can be done alone as well.) We ask that participants bring something to write with (laptop, pen & paper, etc.)

Meditative Writing Practices and Healthy Communities: A Workshop with Paula Coomer

Spokane Convention Center, Room 202C

Regular writing practice can have the same health benefits as other forms of meditation and, as such, can be looked at as a means to improve the overall health of individuals and communities, whether that be a geographic community, workplace, or organization. Learn more about the personal benefits of writing practice and recommendations for setting up a writing practice group at your local library, community center, school, or place of business. Includes a prepared guide with writing prompts and instructions. Leading the workshop will be Paula Coomer, author of poetry collections Devil at the Crossroads and Nurses Who Love English, short story collection Summer of Government Cheese, and novels Dove Creek and Jagged Edge of the Sky.

From Obsession to World: Finding the Story in Your Characters’ Preoccupations

A Writing Workshop with Alexandra Teague and Jason Rekulak

Spokane Convention Center, Room 203

Cost: $30, $20 for high school and college students with student ID

As we know from our own lives, our preoccupations—whether large-scale interests that lead us to study biology at a university, or smaller-scale interests like collecting Mickey Mouse memorabilia and spending weekends at flea markets—help shape our lives and choices. Likewise, by writing toward your characters’ central preoccupations, you can find a rich territory of metaphors and images and scenes to propel your story. What situations does your character find him or herself in that he/she wouldn’t without a certain preoccupation? How does the preoccupation act as a lens that affects everything—not just motives or long-term action in the story? How can researching the preoccupation lead you to new language and images? This session offers examples and discussion of preoccupations in writing (your own and/or your characters’) and writing exercises to help you start diving in. Participants are asked to bring paper and pen, or a laptop for writing.


Afternoon Workshops: The following four workshops will take place from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Artist Trust Workshop

Spokane Convention Center, Room 202A

$30, $20 with student ID

Poet Ellen Welcker will workshop specific components of a literary arts submission packet, which will include a discussion of the purpose of a query letter and examples of successful ones, discussion on how to craft a successful artist statements and bios (for grant applications and general use). There will be time to create and workshop those materials as well. Please bring a notebook, writing utensil, and any materials you already have drafted.

Ellen Welcker’s second collection of poems, Ram Hands, is just out from Scablands Books. Her first book, The Botanical Garden, was selected by Eleni Sikelianos for the 2009 Astrophil Poetry Prize. She is a recipient of a 2016 GAP grant from Artist Trust for her manuscript-in-progress, The Pink Tablet, and a chapbook of these poems are forthcoming from Fact-Simile Books in 2017. She lives in Spokane, WA.

Lyric Writing Workshop with Keleren Millham and Liz Rognes

Spokane Convention Center, Room 202B

$30, $20 with student ID

Songwriting: Lyrics

Good songwriting includes a keen awareness of both music and text. Songs have the capacity to impact a listener in multiple, simultaneous ways through the uses of melody, rhythm, phrasing, story, imagery, and so forth. This workshop will focus specifically on the role of lyrics in songwriting. We will consider examples of song lyrics from various genres that demonstrate different ways of incorporating rhythm, rhyme, other literary devices, and musical prosody, and we will practice exercises to help you write song lyrics. You do not have to be a musician to attend this workshop, but we will have a guitar available.

Low Frequency Oscillator: Writing Workshop with Jamaal May

Spokane Convention Center, Room 202C

$30, $20 for students with ID

A Low Frequency Oscillator (LFO) produces a sonic waveform that typically doesn’t reach into the range of human hearing. Though we can’t hear it, we can hear its effect on a sounds we can hear. In a synthesizer keyboard, this is used to modulate some aspect of a sound and create subtle or not so subtle dynamics. In this class, we will explore this and other sonic tricks as metaphors for how to create more variation and thus more emotional and intellectual engagement in a poem. There will be a discussion on how subtle language is used to manipulate society and what the writer’s role might be in encouraging free thought. Through writing prompts, conversation, and demonstrations we will probe the unseen worlds and find the pulse between image, metaphor, philosophy, culture, and music. Please bring a pen, pencil, crayon, computer, or other writing implement.

Close to the Bone: Creating Fiction from Personal Experience with Justin Torres

Spokane Convention Center, Room 203

$30, $20 for students with ID

What does it mean to describe a piece of fiction as autobiographical or semi-autobiographical? What are the ethical implications of incorporating lived experience into a fictionalized story? Where does the desire to transform our lives into art arise from? This discussion will touch on both craft and compulsion, how and why we tell our stories.


Please check the full schedule for over 40 non-ticketed events including lectures and readings, poetry slams, panel discussions, and even a benefit concert!

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