From magical sinkholes to mythological beings and the twisted allure of addiction, the second installment of the Lilac City Fairy Tales anthology is a wild trip to the theme of Marry a Monster. Spearheaded by two leaders in the local literary scene, author Sharma Shields and poet Ellen Welcker, the 61-writer anthology of short stories, poems and one nonfiction piece will benefit the literacy and arts programs of the nonprofit INK Art Space. Housed in the Spark Center, INK offers free and low-cost events for adults and kids, including workshops on graphic novels, poetry performance and the popular Girls Rock music sessions.
A special debut event at the Bing this Sunday night showcases 11 of Lilac City Fairy Tales' 2016 contributing writers performing snippets of their work — each submission is under 1,000 words — on stage. Liz Rognes and Windoe (the latter is the solo project of Bartlett owner/musician Karli Ingersoll) also perform in the showcase, which happens to feature all women contributors, Shields says. The anthology, however, is a mix of male and female voices, from established writers to authors being published for the first time.
This year's collection theme, Marry a Monster, comes from a line in the A.E. Stallings poem "Fairy-tale Logic."
"We thought it would be this wickedly cool theme for this year," Shields says. "It opens up so many possibilities — it could be a love story or the opposite, literal or figurative, and we liked the room it gave people to work in."
Some of 172-page collection's writers interpreted that theme literally, writing evocative pieces that examine a character's struggle to cope in a suppressive or abusive relationship. Others muse on the varied complexities of love, and some pieces take on a fairy-tale-inspired quality that seems almost old-fashioned.
Lilac City Fairy Tales is a snapshot in time of the Inland Northwest's diversely talented and growing literary community. Local readers should recognize dozens of the contributing writers — Kris Dinnison, Shann Ray, Laura Read, Rachel Toor, Stephanie Oakes, Chris Cook and Simeon Mills, to name a handful.
"I think this is going to be a really fun and atypical event for Valentine's Day," Shields remarks. "You can go as a date, but if you're not into it, you can be irreverent and have fun with the theme. I'm hoping people come down and support INK and support arts in Spokane."
After the event, find copies of the anthology for sale at Spark Center, Auntie's Bookstore and other local shops.