How can literary culture influence social change? That's the timely question at the heart of "Seismic: Seattle, City of Literature," a new anthology with a virtual release party hosted by The Seattle Public Library and Seattle City of Literature on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.

Edited by award-winning Seattle journalist and novelist Kristen Millares Young and published by Seattle City of Literature, "Seismic" is a collection of essays that examines what it means for Seattle to be a UNESCO City of Literature — a designation earned in 2017.

With cover art by Mita Mahato, contributors include Anastacia-Renee, Rena Priest, Timothy Egan, Charles Johnson, Ken Workman, Dujie Tahat, Wei-Wei Lee, Claudia Castro Luna, Jourdan Imani Keith and Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore.

"While celebrating Seattle's inclusion in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network, this collection is not a commemoration. It is a call to action," wrote Millares Young in the introduction. "'Seismic' is a living portrait of a city we love too much to lose."

Though the essays were commissioned prior to the pandemic, Millares Young wrote, the wisdom of these artists "should be considered as we revitalize our city's neighborhoods and cultural institutions in the wake of COVID-19."


Join the "Seismic" release party online from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15. The event, which will be held on Zoom, is free but registration is required. "Seismic" contributors participating in the event include Millares Young, author of "Subduction"; Ken Workman, the great-great-great-great grandson of Chief Si'ahl; Washington Poet Laureate Claudia Castro Luna; Seattle's Civic Poet Jourdan Imani Keith; Anastacia-Reneé, a writer, TEDx speaker and podcast host; American Book Award-winning poet Rena Priest (Lummi), Seattle's Youth Poet Laureate Wei-Wei Lee; and award-winning author Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore. Find full bios of the contributors on the Seattle City of Literature website.

"Seismic" will be available in free print editions from local independent bookstores and in free digital editions on the Seattle City of Literature and The Seattle Public Library websites.

"We write to improve the quality of ideas in circulation throughout society, so we decided to make "Seismic" free so that more Seattleites can access the collection," said Millares Young.

Get a sneak preview of the anthology in The Seattle Times, which published essays by Millares Young and Ken Workman, and Crosscut, which is publishing a two-part series that began with Claudia Castro Luna's essay on how "inclusivity could inspire a literary renaissance."

This collection is made possible by The Seattle Public Library Foundation, Seattle City of Literature, The Seattle Public Library, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, Amazon Literary Partnership and author series sponsor the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation.


The Library believes that the power of knowledge improves people's lives. We promote literacy and a love of reading as we bring people, information and ideas together to enrich lives and build community.

All physical locations of The Seattle Public Library are closed in accordance with public health guidelines to limit the spread of COVID-19. Visit the Library's Road to Reopening page for more information on book returns, Curbside Service and other Library services being offered. You can now place new holds on physical Library materials.