Colorado has the right to brag about literature with towns like Boulder being featured in Stephen King novels to the legacy of the Beat Generation’s Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy in Denver to the nationally-recognized writing programs at the University of Denver and Colorado College. Even with these outstanding literary achievements, it sometimes feels like Colorado ignores that sector of the arts. But for the last two years, the Litquake Foundation has thrown a festival geared toward showcasing some of Colorado’s best authors in a setting that Coloradan’s can feel comfortable with — a “crawl” between different locally-owned venues. Much like a pub or bar crawl, the Lit Crawl allows attendees the chance to sample a little from each place and each author.
In its third year, Denver Lit Crawl will give lovers of literature the chance to meet some local authors like Theresa Janson, Tameca L. Coleman, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Brice Maiurro and Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Michael Kodas. New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Swanson, who wrote The Bookseller a few years ago and recently released The Glass Forest will be in attendance. The Bookseller is currently undergoing translation into more than a dozen languages and will become a motion picture starring Julia Roberts. Lit Crawl is hosted by a handful of local literary organizations, including At The Inkwell, BookBar, Colorado Humanities, F-Bomb, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Mile-High MFA (Regis University), Tethered by Letters and Roseanna Frechette & Friends. This year there are over 30 local authors participating.
At each venue, authors will read excerpts from their works (whether that is a book, an essay, an article or a sample of poetry) and field questions from the audience. Even though the last few years have experienced high attendance levels with packed venues, the authors usually stick around long enough for individual queries and conversations, making this a wonderful opportunity for hopeful writers seeking advice, inspiration or an excuse to start their first novel.
With eight different “talks” at four different venues, the Lit Crawl will cover a diverse literary field. Beginning at 5 p.m. with a segment titled “Crossing Genres” led by Roseanna Freschette — a performance poet who thrives on blurring boundaries in order to express an emotion or point of view — attendees can appreciate the creativity in Colorado’s literary community while grubbing down on some food trucks. After fueling up, the crawl continues with sections on noir and mystery writing, an MFA program for writing and more. The final event will be a flash fiction showcase with a performance by punk rock bands.
This year, Lit Crawl will take place in RiNo on September 8 and will coincide with the urban art festival CRUSH. From 5 to 8 p.m., Lit Crawlers can move from the Boxyard Park on Broadway and Blake to the Infinite Monkey Theorem tap house on Larimer and 32nd to Backyard on Blake and finally the Pattern Shop Studio at 33rd and Blake. Attending is free, although it is recommended to support the venues where the talks take place. Aside from enjoying the beautiful words of local authors, participants will also see the changing landscape of murals, street art and graffiti writing on the walls of RiNo during the crawl.