Having the opportunity to introduce my memoir Torch in the Dark at Elliott Bay Books is one of the greatest honors I can imagine. I remember the first time I walked down the stairs at Elliott Bay in Pioneer Square. I knew I found a home. I liked the old wood, I liked the shelves. So many books. It reminded me of other large, cozy bookstores I have known, like City Lights in San Francisco and The Strand in New York.
What a special treat it always is to sit down at Elliott Bay and hear readings from authors whose stories touch me, to see them in person. Bettina Aptheker, who spoke at Sproul Hall in Berkeley when I was there in the sixties. Deborah Santana. Deborah and I studied with Natalie Goldberg together. James McBride, whose book The Color of Water meant so much to me. I got to see him at Elliott Bay when he introduced his novel Miracle at St. Anna.
Elliott Bay is so much more than an ordinary bookstore. Founded in 1973, it has a long history that is interwoven with the literary life of Seattle. My teachers, Natalie Goldberg, Jack Remick, Priscilla Long have all read there. When I recently went to see photographer Annie Liebowitz speaking to a packed audience at Elliott Bay, she simply said, “When I come to Seattle, I only want to read at Elliott Bay.” More than 3,000 writers have read at Elliott Bay over the years. I am so proud to be reading at Elliott Bay. I hope you can join me there at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 3.