Seven days of literature.

Spokane's Get Lit festival features author Jane Smiley.
By James Ziegler

Originally published May/09

Ten people flee into the hills on an odd sort of vacation to escape the horrors of their every day life by telling each other stories. “Ten Days in the Hills,” the novel Jane Smiley will read from during this year's Get Lit festival, is rooted in 14th century Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio's “The Decamrion.”

In “The Decamrion,” the characters tell stories to distract themselves from the black death, stringing together 100 novellas. Smiley's book modernizes the story, setting it in Los Angeles, but keeps the same format.

Standing in front of a live audience at the Bing Crosby theater, April 16, Smiley will select a passage from the book like an artist selecting the perfect shade to compliment her setting.

“I like to sort of gauge what mood the crowd is in,” Smiley said. She likes to keep the crowd lively.

In it's 11th year, the Get Lit festival will feature movies that tie in with the books and documentaries. The movie version of Smiley's “1000 Acres” will show at the Bing April 11.

While the main events of Get Lit all happen at the Bing Crosby Theater, other events are scattered across the local college campuses and libraries. It could be a great opportunity to get out and see the town and that is what Smiley is planning to do while she's here.

“I've never been up there so I'm looking forward to seeing the town,” she said.

For a complete schedule of events go to http://www.ewu.edu/getlit.

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