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Craft Talk

  • This event has passed.
  • Date: March 17
  • Time: 7:00pm - 8:30pm PT
  • Location: Zoom Room
  • Public Price: $15.00
  • Member Price: $12.00
  • Student Price: $5.00

Word Works | Elaine Castillo: On Reading, Revolution, and the Classics – CANCELLED

This event has been cancelled. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and will be in touch with ticket holders soon regarding their purchases. Thank you for your understanding.

In a global literary and intellectual culture awash in misinformation and at the same time, so seemingly obsessed with the rhetoric of free speech, cancellation, and the supposed dangers of things like "critical race theory," how can we approach the classics—the books often thought of as the cornerstones of Western literature, if not Western civilization full-stop—in ways that are novel, galvanizing, and perhaps even reparative? How do we read, how have we been taught to read, and what does any of that have to do with notions like resistance, or indeed revolution? We’ll talk Homer, Austen, Cinderella, images of the American West as envisioned by people outside of it, the poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, translation, dictatorship, and what it can mean to be a reader in the world. Elaine Castillo will be joined in conversation by Jen Soriano.

Word Works craft talks by novelists, essayists, poets, and memoirists focus on writing as process rather than finished product, examining how language works to inspire and provoke new ideas through live close readings of the writer’s own or others’ work. These talks are designed to apply to writers of all genres as well as illuminate well-known works for avid readers. The talks are followed by an interview with a noted editor, writer, or critic.

See the full 2022-23 Word Works series lineup here »

Jen Soriano

Jen Soriano


Jen Soriano (she~they) is a Filipinx writer and movement builder who has long worked at the intersection of grassroots organizing, narrative strategy, and art-driven social change. Jen has won the International Literary Award for Creative Nonfiction, the Fugue Prose Prize, and fellowships from Hugo House, Vermont Studio Center, Artist Trust, and the Jack Jones Literary Arts Retreat. Jen is also an independent scholar and performer, and has served as poet in residence with Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility. Jen is author of the chapbook “Making the Tongue Dry,” and co-editor of Closer to Liberation: A Pina/xy Activist Anthology. She received a BA in History and Science from Harvard and an MFA in fiction and nonfiction from the Rainier Writing Workshop. Originally from a landlocked part of the Chicago area, Jen now lives with her family in Seattle, near the Duwamish River and the Salish Sea. Her debut book, Nervous: Essays on Heritage and Healing, is now available from Amistad/HarperCollins.

Elaine Castillo

Elaine Castillo

Elaine Castillo is the author of the widely acclaimed debut novel, America is Not the Heart (Viking, 2018), named one of the best books of the year by NPR, The Boston Globe, Kirkus Reviews, the New York Public Library, and many others. In August 2022, Viking will publish her first work of nonfiction, How to Read Now, on the politics and ethics of our reading culture. Her writing has appeared in Freeman’s, The Rumpus, Lit Hub, Taste Magazine, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. Her short film, A Mukkbang, was commissioned by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s Open Space. She is a VONA Foundation Fellow, and was a three-time recipient of the Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prize for prose while at UC Berkeley. She has also been nominated for the Pat Kavanagh Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a Gatewood Prize.