10 of My Favorite Seattle Writers

Seattle Skyline Cropped (1)

When you get live in a certain place, you get to know the writers who aren’t necessarily the biggest names (though some are). Here are 10 writers I would love if they lived anywhere, but who I learned about because they happen to live in the Seattle area.

Claire Dederer

Claire writes with such honesty about trying to be a woman in this world. Her work challenges me to be more exposed and raw in my work.

To read:

Love and Trouble

From the New York Times best-selling author of Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, a ferocious, sexy, hilarious memoir about going off the rails at midlife and trying to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become.

Sarah Galvin

Sarah is the poet I tell everyone to read if they don’t think they like poetry. She also tells silly and inspiring non-fiction stories.

To read:

The Best Party of Our Lives

This moving collection of true stories about gay weddings shows how LGBT couples have overcome cultural and personal obstacles to their unions, made wedding traditions their own, and what everyone can learn from them.

Richard Chiem

Next time I see Richard, I’m going to ask him if I can touch his arm. He’s starting to get a little famous, and his novel has been included on Best Of lists all over the place.

To read:

King of Joy

Corvus has always had an overactive imagination. Growing up, she develops a unique coping mechanism: she can imagine herself out of any situation, no matter how terrible. To get through each day, Corvus escapes into scenes from fantasy novels, pop songs, and action/adventure movies, and survives by turning the everyday into just another role to play in the movie of her life.

After a tragic loss, Corvus finds a sadness so great she cannot imagine it away. Instead, she finds Tim, a pornographer with unconventional methods, who offers her a new way to escape into movies. But when a sinister plot of greed and betrayal is revealed, Corvus must fight to reclaim her independence, and discovers she is stronger than even she could have imagined.

Ijeoma Oluo

Ijeoma is well-known around Seattle and the country, and her book below had me laughing as much as it had me examining my life and the role I want to play in the future of this tremendously messed up society.

To read:

So You Want to Talk About Race

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Editor at Large of The Establishment Ijeoma Oluo offers a contemporary, accessible take on the racial landscape in America, addressing head-on such issues as privilege, police brutality, intersectionality, micro-aggressions, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the “N” word. Perfectly positioned to bridge the gap between people of color and white Americans struggling with race complexities, Oluo answers the questions readers don’t dare ask, and explains the concepts that continue to elude everyday Americans.

Laura Da’

Laura is a Made at Hugo House Fellow, and a member of my writing group. I pretty much just fawn over her at each of our sessions. It’s a little embarrassing.

To read:

Instruments of the True Measure

Instruments of the True Measure charts the coordinates and intersections of land, history, and culture. Lyrical passages map the parallel lives of ancestral figures and connect dispossessions of the past to lived experiences of the present. Shawnee history informs the collection, and Da’s fascination with uncovering and recovering brings the reader deeper into the narrative of Shawnee homeland. Images of forced removal and frontier violence reveal the wrenching loss and reconfiguration of the Shawnee as a people. The body and history become lands that are measured and plotted with precise instruments.

Geraldine DeRuiter

Geraldine is hilarious and I kind of want to be her. She calls her blog an “award-winning cry for help,” and her hilarity has landed her in the New Yorker.

To read:

All Over the Place

Some people are meant to travel the globe, to unwrap its secrets and share them with the world. And some people have no sense of direction, are terrified of pigeons, and get motion sickness from tying their shoes. These people are meant to stay home and eat nachos.
Geraldine DeRuiter is the latter. But she won’t let that stop her.
Hilarious, irreverent, and heartfelt, All Over the Place chronicles the years Geraldine spent traveling the world after getting laid off from a job she loved. Those years taught her a great number of things, though the ability to read a map was not one of them. 

Ellen Forney

Ellen lived in the same building with the weird landlords and rent so low it was like a secret party. Her book is a necessary examination of life with mental illness, and getting through the darkness.

To read:


Cartoonist Ellen Forney explores the relationship between “crazy” and “creative” in this graphic memoir of her bipolar disorder, woven with stories of famous bipolar artists and writers.

Copyright © Peter Koval

Nicole Hardy

Nicole’s hilarious memoir came from her 10 years as a poet plus one essay that landed in the New York Times.

To read:

Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin

Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin chronicles the extraordinary lengths Nicole went to in an attempt to reconcile her human needs with her spiritual life–flying across the country for dates with LDS men, taking up salsa dancing as a source for physical contact, even moving to Grand Cayman, where the ocean and scuba diving provided some solace. But neither secular pursuits nor LDS guidance could help Nicole prepare for the dilemma she would eventually face: a crisis of faith that caused her to question everything she’d grown up believing.

Jennie Shortridge

Jennie is about the nicest person you could hope to meet, and her novels have won her a huge audience.

To read:

Love Water Memory

At age thirty-nine, Lucie Walker has no choice but to start her life over when she comes to, up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay, with no idea how she got there or who she is. Her memory loss is caused by an emotional trauma she knows nothing about, and only when handsome, quiet Grady Goodall arrives at the hospital does she learn she has a home, a career, and a wedding just two months away. What went wrong? Grady seems to care for her, but Lucie is no more sure of him than she is of anything. As she collects the clues of her past self, she unlocks the mystery of what happened to her. The painful secrets she uncovers could hold the key to her future—if she trusts her heart enough to guide her. 

Charles Johnson

Middle Passage is my favorite novel I’ve read in the last few years, and Mr. Johnson is a kind soul who wrote a lovely blurb for my book.

To read:

Middle Passage

It is 1830. Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed slave and irrepressible rogue, is desperate to escape unscrupulous bill collectors and an impending marriage to a priggish schoolteacher. He jumps aboard the first boat leaving New Orleans, the Republic, a slave ship en route to collect members of a legendary African tribe, the Allmuseri. Thus begins a daring voyage of horror and self-discovery.


Small print: I’m a writer who connects writers with books, programs, and writer toys that make the writing life easier or more fun. As it turns out, people get paid for that. So some of the links I have are affiliate links, which means that, at no cost to you, I get a commission if you click through and buy something. If I recommend something you don’t agree with, just let me know. I stand by everything I suggest as a resource that will help you be the writer you want to be. 

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