Nevada Humanities celebrated literature and arts in the most Reno way possible: organizing a crawl. The organization threw the fourth annual Literary Crawl on Saturday, Sept. 16. This year’s theme was “Crawl Off the Page”.
The Literary Crawl aims to create an “exploratory afternoon and evening of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry readings”, according to promotional materials from the event. The program invites writers from the Northern Nevada region to speak at different events.
Nevada Humanities first started this event after they felt the Reno community needed a literary event. This year’s Literary Crawl is the largest yet.
“We’re featuring over 60 writers, artists and performers, sharing their work in the form of general poetry readings or sessions that are panel discussions about different ideas about romance and feminism for example,” said Stephanie Gibson, Program Manager at Nevada Humanities.
The Literary Crawl, while rooted in traditional written literature, broadened their horizons to include different types of art. Events this year also marked a larger focus on journalists, filmmakers and artists.
“We took the opportunity this year to think about the written word in all its form,” Gibson said. “We want to expand on that notion of what a literary crawl is. It’s not just simply poetry over a pint.”
The afternoon’s events were structured like a story. The “prologue” was set at Sundance Books and Music, where attendees could learn the Crawl’s events and path. From there, crawlers could go to events at any of the 12 locations participating, such as Truckee Bagel Company and Pignic Pub and Patio.
From there, there were three different hour-long “chapters” during which events were held. Some notable events included a 21+ panel about correspondence in literature featuring former University of Nevada, Reno president, Joe Crowley, and a poetry reading by men formerly incarcerated at Northern Nevada Correctional Center.
A featured author during “Chapter 3” was Todd Borg, a local author who writes mystery fiction books set in Lake Tahoe, who spoke about writing about threatening antagonists. Borg was one of many local Reno authors to be featured in the event.
The crawl led to the keynote speaker, Adam Johnson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and professor at Stanford University. The event was held in the Nevada Museum of Art and sold out within a few days. In a discussion hosted by UNR history professor, Dr. Hugh Shapiro, Johnson read from his award winning book The Orphan Master’s Son, a fiction novel about life in North Korea.
During the keynote event, Johnson and Shapiro discussed visits to North Korea, propaganda, and everyday life for North Koreans.
“His writing is especially important right now and seems especially timely,” Gibson said, “So we took the opportunity to invite him to Northern Nevada and he eagerly agreed.”
An “epilogue” party, held at Sundance Books and Music, followed the keynote event. Authors who had participated in events throughout the crawl were available for conversations and book signings, while attendees could listen to performances by the Reno Video Game Symphony and Grace Hayes.
The Literary Crawl will return in Sept. 2018 for their fifth annual event.