This year, literary nonprofit Wordspace has hosted everyone from Pulitzer Prize-winner Tyehimba Jess to media pundit/author Dan Savage, and it's planning to end its season with a bang.
Turnout for last summer's Deep Ellum Lit Hop festival was so good that this June, Wordspace is bringing it back as its closing event. The festival will once again give local writers a chance to showcase all the work they're doing, with a free bar crawl of sorts on Saturday, June 3, that will take attendees to bookshops, art galleries and bars to sample writing rather than booze. (Although no one's stopping you from combining the two.)
“One of our goals is to put the literary arts on the same level as
the visual and performing arts in Dallas,” says Dee Mitchell, board president of Wordspace. “Dallas is becoming the place to go to for performers and museums, and we feel literature should be up there too.”
To make this happen throughout the year, Wordspace hosts regular events such as the Pegasus Reading Series, International Impressions and African Diaspora: New Dialogues. Deep Ellum Lit Hop is a new event that co-director Sebastian Paramo has high hopes for.
“We were blown away by how many people attended last year, and we got so many local writers to come and they brought their friends to share that,” Paramo says. “This year, we wanted to make the event a bit longer, and some venues are much closer together to make it easier to maneuver.”
This year's event is spread across four venues in Deep Ellum: Drugstore Cowboy, Deep Vellum Books, Kettle Arts, and Independent Bar and Kitchen. Showcases at each venue will begin around 4 p.m. and continue until 10:30 p.m. Among the 10-plus literary groups participating this year are DaVerse Lounge, Dallas Poetry Slam, Dark Moon Poetry & Arts, Verse & Rhythm, Mad Swirl and Poets on X+.
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Courtney Marie, the other director of Lit Hop, says there will be something for everyone because the groups participating are very different.
“The more voices we have involved with this, the better,” Marie says. “We’ll have Dallas Poetry Slam that brings steam and accessibility, and we also have a youth poetry group, an LGBT group, a woman and nonbinary group, and more.
“I’m glad we could have more people and create a sort of family out of it," she continues. "What I liked about last year is that everyone was having a blast and loving on each other. It’s really exciting for me and even more exciting for Dallas.”
Deep Ellum Lit Hop, 4-11 p.m. Saturday, June 3, Deep Vellum Books, 3000 Commerce St., and other locations, free, see Facebook.