The Austin Chronicle

A Whole Lotta Lit to Hit

By Robert Faires, October 14, 2015, 4:00pm, All Over Creation

Ghost stories in the State Cemetery. Nerd Jeopardy. Crimes Against Humanity with books. Writers trying to identify their own words – and failing. Writers confessing their worst failures. Writers facing off in a Literary Death Match. Cocktails and coloring books. When one night goes this far off the rails, it must be the return of Lit Crawl Austin.

Yes, the Texas Book Festival Saturday night special, inspired by San Francisco's Litquake and co-produced by the Litquake Foundation and TBF, takes your favorite writers off their literary pedestals and puts them in curious locations, offbeat competitions, and bar games with potentially embarrassing results. As with the festival itself, the fifth edition of Lit Crawl Austin is bigger than ever, with a record number of opportunities for fun. Be sure to grab this year's Lit Crawl program, which has been designed by TBF 2015 author Zachary Thomas Dodson (Bats of the Republic) and includes a Bat Scavenger Hunt, which will be ongoing throughout the evening Saturday, Oct. 17.

Here’s the Lit Crawl Austin 2015 schedule:

Literary Death Match
7-8pm, North Door, 502 Brushy
Authors David Crabb, Helen Philipps, Gwendolyn Zepeda, and Kirk Lynn go into the literary equivalent of the Thunderdome, where they'll be judged by Chuck Palahniuk (intangibles), Linda Gray (performance), and Attica Locke (literary merit). Who will survive??!

Are You Afraid of the Dark? [All Ages Event]
7:30-8:15pm, Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota
YA hair-raisers Jake Halpern, Stephen Graham Jones, Peter Kujawinski, Nova Ren Suma, and April Genevieve Tucholke get everybody's goosebumps rising in dark of the Lone Star graveyard. Flashlights recommended!

Balderdash by fields + Deep Vellum
7:30-8:15pm, Gelateria Gemelli, 1009 E. Sixth
Authors Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, Andrew Ervin, Mary Helen Specht, Téa Obreht, Mia Alvar, and Dan Sheehan compete to see who can sound the most convincing when they might be just bluffing. Lit Crawl Special: Gelato and Amaro for $10.

ABC/Story Department: Fiasco!
7:30-8:15pm, Practice Yoga, 1103 E. Sixth
Authors Brin-Jonathan Butler, Heidi Julavits, Rebecca Makkai, and Manuel Martinez come clean about their worst failures. All true! All gloriously humiliating!

Five Things: The Wild, Wild West!
7:30-8:15pm, Wonderland, 1104 E. Sixth
Five writers have five minutes each to read material on a shared theme. The theme for this Lit Crawl is the West, in whatever form the writer may see it, and your tour guides will be Carmiel Banasky, Matt Diffee, Amelia Gray, and Kristin Valdez Quade.

Bat City’s Round-Robin
7:30-8:15pm, Clayworks Studio/Gallery, 1209 E. Sixth
Bat City Review has tapped three authors to tap in and out of one another’s readings. The lucky trio at this Lit Crawl conists of Jynne Dilling Martin, Benjamin Percy, and M.O. Walsh. **Ongoing at Clayworks: Cocktails and Coloring with Latin Twist’s Vianney Rodriguez mixing Tequila 512 drinks and Little, Brown Coloring Books coloring contest.

Catapult: Writers Catapulting Writers
7:30-8:15pm, The Volstead, 1500 E. Sixth
Who are the mentors that launched your favorite authors into their literary careers? Geoff Dyer, Sarah Hepola, and Jonathan Lethem tell you theirs and then introduce the rising stars of the lit scene they'd like to catapult to success.

Greetings from Queer Mountain
7:30-8:15pm, The Liberty, 1618 1/2 E. Sixth
Micheal Foulk and Ralphie Hardesty host this LQBT storytelling showcase featuring authors Jamie Brickhouse, Saeed Jones, and Maggie Thrash.

You Should Know These Poets
8:30-9:15pm, Practice Yoga, 1103 E. Sixth
Sasha West and Sorin Oak Review put some essential verse in your life, showcasing poets Ariana Brown, Tomás Morín, Paul Otremba, among others.

American Short Fiction presents Whose Line Is It, Anyway?
8:30-9:15pm, Wonderland, 1104 E. Sixth
Authors Lauren Groff, Skip Horack, Alexandra Kleeman, Benjamin Markovits, and Elizabeth McCracken are put on the spot trying to identify which lines from recent writings are actually theirs.

Gulf Coast: Back to the Futurismo
8:30-9:15pm, Clayworks Studio/Gallery, 1209 E. Sixth
Authors Matt Bell, Kelly Link, Lincoln Michel, and Laura van den Berg conjure the world to come.

Lit Crawl Against Humanity
8:30-9:15pm, The Volstead, 1500 E. Sixth
Awst Press and Newfound host this adaptation of Cards Against Humanity for the lit set. Who will prove hilarious or disgusting or both: Kendra Fortmeyer, Jessica Hopper, Chip Kidd, Matt Summell, or Caroline Zancan?

The Austin Review Presents: You Talkin' to Me?
8:30-9:15pm, The Liberty, 1618 1/2 E. Sixth
Authors Elisa Albert, Jennine Capó Crucet, Catherine Lacey, and Thomas H. McNeely read dialogue from their works that proves their facility with the spoken word in written form.

Nerd Jeopardy: Booze and Book-Related Trivia
8:30-9:30pm, The North Door, 502 Brushy
Ryan Chapman, author of Conversation Sparks: Trivia Worth Talking About, does his best Alex Trebek, testing the arcane knowledge of authors Sloane Crosley, Austin Grossman, and Viet Thanh Nguyen on literary matters and potent potables.

Slice Literary’s Exquisite Corpse
9:30-10:15pm, Wonderland, 1104 E. Sixth
Writers Marisa Marchetto, Sarah McCoy, Keija Parssinen, Neal Pollack, and Sung J. Woo have been writing a story together … sort of. Each has written only a few paragraphs and seen only a few lines of one other writer's contribution to guide his or her own continuation of the tale. At Lit Crawl Austin, they'll get together and read the whole story for the first time aloud.

NANO Fiction: Sehr Flash: Fiction Becomes Music
9:30-10:15pm, Clayworks Studio/Gallery, 1209 E. Sixth
Flash fiction writers Callie Collins, Kelly Luce, Michael McGriff, Jessica Lee Richardson, Matthew Salesses, and Vincent Scarpa have written stories of 300 words or less, which Austin composers Russell Podgorsek and Hermes Camacho have written equally short pieces of music for. The authors read their short shorts while the Cordova Quartet performs the musical miniatures.

Super Fun Party
9:30-10:15pm, The Volstead, 1500 E. Sixth
The Austin reading series Fun Party – in which art, literature, and film collide – gets supersized with authors Thea Brown, Nick Flynn, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, and Robin Beth Schaer.

Kickstarter Presents: Who Said It?
9:30-10:15pm, The Liberty, 1618 1/2 E. Sixth
Authors Jami Attenberg, Amy FitzHenry, Daniel José Older, and Karolina Waclawiak race the clock to identify the source of a series of odd, deep, and absurd quotes: Elena Ferrante, Karl Ove Knausgaard, or Taylor Swift?

10:30pm, The North Door, 502 Brushy

For the complete 2015 Texas Book Festival schedule, visit

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