BOOKS AND BITES
Reno's Literary Crawl celebrates the written word - and local cuisine.
WRITTEN BY CLAIRE MCARTHUR
PHOTOS COURTESY OF NEVADA HUMANITIES/DAVID FLEMING
Participants of all ages enjoy hearing authors speak about their work at the Literary Crawl
The sixth annual Literary Crawl is bringing a broad celebration of literature that encompasses everything from discussions on food writing and fake news to the more traditional poetry readings and author talks.
“The whole day is a celebration of the written word in all of its forms,” says Stephanie Gibson, program manager of Nevada Humanities, the organization behind the event. “We have an open mind when it comes to what constitutes literature.”
The Sept. 14 event takes over California Avenue in Reno for a day filled with panels, workshops, readings, live music, food trucks, art, dance performances, children’s activities, and more.
“While one might feel a little daunted by the thought of a poetry reading,” Gibson notes, “we not only have those types of traditional readings, but we also have people talking about recent publications, books they’ve published, and ideas that matter to us in Northern Nevada, which could be issues of ecology and the environment; gun violence in our schools and communities; or politics and the concept of fake news, and how journalism is working to combat that.”
The crawl kicks off with a speech at the Nevada Museum of Art from keynote speaker Kiese Laymon, the award-winning author of Heavy: An American Memoir, which chronicles Laymon’s journey growing up a headstrong black son to a complicated-yet-brilliant mother and his complex relationship with anorexia, obesity, sex, writing, and gambling. The memoir was one of three books selected this year for Nevada Humanities’ statewide book club, Nevada Reads.
Reno native, author, and musician Willy Vlautin also will discuss his fifth novel and another Nevada Reads selection, Don’t Skip Out on Me. The book tells the story of a young Paiute Indian-Irish boxer.
The Literary Crawl hosts nearly 100 different authors, speakers, readers, poets, dancers, and other artists.
“As an organization, we see the humanities as lived experiences by people, and part of that, of course, is having food at the crawl and talking about food-and-drink traditions and what’s on our kitchen tables,” Gibson says. “We’re excited to have edible Reno-Tahoe contributors bring their expertise about food writing and food tradition in the region.”
A panel featuring edible’s managing editor, Jessica Santina, and contributors Sandra Macias, a writer, and Shea Evans, a photographer, will discuss what “goes into developing and producing magazine content that reflects the region, supports local food-and-drink producers and purveyors, and makes people hungry,” Santina explains.
“We’re excited to be part of this event that showcases such a wide variety of literary specialties and local talents,” she adds.
Restaurants and bars on and around California Avenue — such as The Loving Cup, Ceol Irish Pub, Washoe Public House, Bibo Coffee, 1864 Tavern, and Pignic Pub & Patio — will offer small plates and drinks as part of the crawl. A number of local food trucks, including Thali and Espinoza’s, also will be parked outside of Sundance Books and Music, a participating venue in the event. Other confirmed venues include Nevada Museum of Art, Downtown Reno Library, Great Basin Community Food Co-op, and Arts for All Nevada at the Lake Mansion.
“We really see this as an opportunity to celebrate not just literary culture in our region, but [also] the restaurants and food culture on California Avenue,” Gibson says.
The Literary Crawl is free and family friendly, though some venues are 21 and up. The event kicks off at noon with the keynote speaker and lasts until 8 p.m. For details, visit Nevadahumanities.org.