Book club: Take a Road Trip at Summer Stories Night

Our annual Summer Stories series has been a popular showcase for new fiction by the region’s top writers.

Now, for the first time, you can experience the series in a live storytelling event with some of the authors.

On Aug. 8, The Spokesman-Review’s Northwest Passages Book Club presents an evening of words, wine and live music to showcase the latest edition of Summer Stories.

Local authors, including Alexis Smith, Stephanie Oakes, Shawn Vestal and Kris Dinnison, will share their work. This year’s theme is “The Road Trip.”

“I love introducing new writers to our readers,” said Features Editor Carolyn Lamberson, who started Summer Stories five years ago. “I love doing my own little part to shine a spotlight on Spokane’s rich literary scene. But mostly, I love reading these stories.”

Lamberson was inspired when she heard that another newspaper, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, had commissioned a novel and planned to serialize it over the summer.

“At the same time,” she said, “Shawn Vestal had recently released his story collection, ‘Godforsaken Idaho,’ and Jess Walter had released his collection, ‘We Live in Water.’ I’d read and loved Sharma Shields’ ‘Favorite Monsters,’ too.

“I realized Spokane was rich in short-fiction talent. So I talked with Jess and Sam Ligon, a driving force behind Pie & Whiskey, to get an idea about how the paper would do a short-fiction series. I invited a bunch of writers and was overwhelmed by the response.”

The Summer Stories series appears in print on Sundays during July and August. Read this year’s stories and those from previous years at www.spokesman.com/summer-stories/.