Lit Crawl Austin

lit crawl collageThe 5th Annual Lit Crawl Austin was Saturday, October 17th!


Lit Crawl Austin is a collaboration between the Texas Book Festival and the Litquake Foundation. Inspired by the San Francisco literary festival Litquake’s long-running Lit Crawl (and produced with Litquake’s participation), Lit Crawl features some of America’s most groundbreaking and beloved writers onstage for literary mayhem in places you’d never anticipate!

On Saturday, October 17,  Lit Crawl Austin celebrated its fifth year of irreverent literary programming. Thank you for joining us on the East Side for a night of performances, games, trivia matches, music, and all-ages storytelling sessions. Plus a coloring contest (with cocktails) for adults!

National organizations and local literary series like Austin Bat Cave’s Story Department, Five Things, Greetings from Queer Mountain, Gulf Coast, Kickstarter, Slice Literary, and PEN descended on East Side bars, a yoga studio, a small-batch gelato shop, and even the Texas State Cemetery to offer up authors you can’t wait to read and shows you won’t forget. With Mia Alvar, Amelia Gray, Lauren Groff, Saeed Jones, Chip Kidd, Jonathan Lethem, Attica Locke, Daniel José Older, Chuck Palahniuk, and more!

See more Lit Crawl photos on our Festival Photo Galleries page.

Interested in getting involved for 2016? We’d love to have you join us as a volunteer. Let us know.

2015 Lit Crawl Austin Schedule


North Door502 Brushy St.

7:00-8:00PM – Literary Death Match 

Four authors. Three judges. Two finalists. One really epic finale. Judges: Linda Gray (performance), and Attica Locke (literary merit). Contestants: David Crabb, Helen Phillips, Gwendolyn Zepeda, Kirk Lynn.

8:30-9:30PM – Nerd Jeopardy: Booze and Book-Related Trivia

Taking a cue from a certain game show, this event will pit your favorite writers against one another in a test of literary knowledge and general chutzpah. Hosted by Ryan Chapman, author of Conversation Sparks: Trivia Worth Talking About. Sloane Crosley, Austin Grossman, and Viet Thanh Nguyen.


Free and open to the public!


Gelateria Gemelli, 1009 E 6th St

This venue offers a menu special for Lit Crawl. Ask for it!

7:30-8:15PM – Balderdash by fields + Deep Vellum

Join our authors for a rousing game of Balderdash, where they’ll attempt to trick you into thinking they know what they’re talking about when it comes to this whole words thing. Mia Alvar, Andrew Ervin, Téa Obreht, Antonio Ruiz-Camacho, Dan Sheehan, and Mary Helen Specht.

Practice Yoga1103 E 6th St

7:30–8:15PM – ABC/Story Department—Fiasco!

Authors bare all with true-to-life tales about a personal fiasco. Want to hear your favorite writer in his most fumbling moment, in the midst of some accidental shenanigans? Now’s your chance. Brin-Jonathan Butler, Heidi Julavits, Rebecca Makkai, and Manuel Martinez.

8:30–9:15PM – You Should Know These Poets

You’ve been missing something in your life. You tried to fill the hole with a truck, a sweetheart, a breakfast taco. You know all the bands and all the clubs. Why aren’t you whole yet? Because you’ve never heard these poets. Come fix that. Hosted by Sasha West and Sorin Oak Review. With Cyrus Cassells, Carrie Fountain, Tomás Morín, Paul Otremba, and Juliana Spahr.


Wonderland1104 E 6th St

7:30–8:15PM - Five Things: The Wild, Wild West!

This Austin-based reading series features five writers reading on a theme for five minutes apiece. For Lit Crawl, we look westward—to desert and myth, West Texas and Las Vegas, lawlessness, city slickers, hipsters who surf, Will Smith at his ’90s steampunk prime. Carmiel Banasky, Matt Diffee, Amelia Gray,  Kirstin Valdez Quade.

8:30–9:15PM - American Short Fiction Presents Whose Line Is It, Anyway?

Award-winning literary magazine American Short Fiction hosts this game in which writers try to ID hilarious, lovely, shocking, or moving lines from each other’s recent books, and totally fail to recognize their own words. Winner receives a Texas-themed prize. Lauren Groff, Skip Horack, Alexandra Kleeman, Benjamin Markovits, and Elizabeth McCracken.

9:3010:15PM – Slice Literary and PEN’s Exquisite Corpse

Slice Literary and PEN present a short story stitched together by multiple writers. How the exquisite corpse game works: One person writes the first few paragraphs. We send the final line of those paragraphs to the next writer, who continues the story. Then the writers come together to read their collective tale, without knowing where it began or where it will end. Marisa Marchetto, Sarah McCoy, Keija Parssinen, Neal Pollack, and Sung J. Woo.

Clayworks, 1209 E 6th St

Ongoing Cocktails and Coloring featuring Latin Twist’s own Vianney Rodriguez mixing Tequila 512 drinks and Little, Brown Adult Coloring Books coloring contest.

7:308:15PM - Bat City’s Round-Robin

Three authors tap in and out of one another’s readings. Enjoy the juxtaposition and collaboration of this literary mash-up presented by Bat City Review. Jynne Dilling Martin, Benjamin Percy, and M.O. Walsh.

8:30–9:15PM – Gulf Coast—Back to the Futurismo

The future is a raw, beautiful machine, brought to you fast and fabulous by authors Matt Bell, Kelly Link, Lincoln Michel, and Laura van den Berg, and Gulf Coast. Expect words to dazzle and games to delight.

9:30–10:15PM - NANO SEHR Flash: Fiction Becomes Music

Flash fiction comes to life in this special collaboration between NANO Fiction writers Kelly Luce, Jessica Richardson, Matthew Salesses, and Vincent Scarpa and classical music composers Russell Podgorsek and Hermes Camacho. Includes very short fiction performed alongside the Cordova Quartet.

Cemetery909 Navasota St [enter at east gate, located on Comal between 7th and 11th]

7:30–8:15PM - Are You Afraid of the Dark?

Gripping, eerie, and spooky tales from a raft of YA stars. This event is for all ages. The cemetery can be dark—bring a flashlight! Jake Halpern, Stephen Graham Jones, Peter Kujawinski, Nova Ren Suma, and April Genevieve Tucholke.


Volstead, 1500 E 6th St

7:30–8:15PM – Catapult—Writers Catapulting Writers

Every emerging writer needs a strong catapult. Three established authors share short odes to the mentors who propelled their careers forward and then introduce a favorite future lit star. A night of signal-boosting, tequila, and bookish camaraderie. Geoff Dyer, Sarah Hepola, and Jonathan Lethem.

8:30–9:15PM – Lit Crawl Against Humanity

This party game for horrible people goes literary. Prepare to be shocked, disgusted, amused, and titillated? Maybe? Presented by Awst Press and Newfound. Kendra Fortmeyer, Jessica Hopper, Chip Kidd, Matt Sumell, and Caroline Zancan.

9:3010:15 – Super Fun Party

Fun Party is an Austin-based reading series where art, literature, and film connect. Thea Brown, Nick Flynn, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, and Robin Beth Schaer.

Liberty, 1618 1/2 E 6th St

7:30–8:15PM – Greetings from Queer Mountain

Austin’s own LQBT storytelling showcase hosted by Micheal Foulk and Ralphie Hardesty. Jamie Brickhouse, Saeed Jones, and Maggie Thrash.

8:30–9:15PM – The Austin Review Presents: You Talkin’ to Me?

Come join us for a night of dialogue as authors read from works that best highlight their gift of the gab. “It’s your move. . . . You talkin’ to me?” Elisa Albert, Jennine Capó Crucet, Catherine Lacey, and Thomas H. McNeely.

9:30–10:15PM – Kickstarter Presents: Who Said It?

In this quickfire trivia match, authors must suss out who said these alternatively deep, cryptic, and absurdly hilarious quotes—Elena Ferrante, Karl Ove Knausgaard, or Taylor Swift? Jami Attenberg, Amy FitzHenry, Daniel José Older, and Karolina Waclawiak.


Lit Crawl is co-organized by Steph Opitz and Jill Meyers along with the Lit Crawl Committee. Committee members include Claire Burrows, Alex Layman, Matthew Patin, Richard Santos, and Sofia Sokolove.


 Lit Crawl Photo Gallery


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