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Best event with words: Creative Colloquy

Writer's pick: Best of Tacoma 2017

Jackie Casella hosting a Creative Colloquy reading. Photo credit: Jennifer Chushoff

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Since it first appeared on the Web in February 2014, and most especially since its first public event at B Sharp Coffee House the following month, Creative Colloquy (CC) has taken Tacoma and the South Sound's literary community by storm. Readers and writers from Olympia and Puyallup, and all around the area, pour into Tacoma for Creative Colloquy's monthly readings of short stories, poems and essays.

"It provides a creative outlet to community members and gives people a chance to tell their story, to have their voice heard and to participate in community dialogue that otherwise would become stagnant," said poet and frequent attendee at CC readings Christina Butcher. "I love how diverse the readers are each month, too, both in terms of level of experience and content."

CC publishes local writers -- from well-established published authors to first-time writers -- in its online publication ( and in its annual print anthology, and it gives them opportunities to share their work with a live audience once a month. Beginners and seasoned pros are equally welcome.

After three years, the monthly readings have moved from B Sharp to Black Kettle Bites and Brew, 744 Market St., Tacoma. Readings are held every third Monday beginning at 7 p.m.

"Three-and-a-half years in, we are still in the fledgling stage as a literary non-profit, but in that short time, we've been honored to witness storytellers bare their souls on stage," said CC founder Jackie Casella. "I often say that it's a little bit of magic. The community that chooses to be a part of the CC journey makes it what it is, and I'm honored to be a part of it. We've grown from myself, to a two-person team into an 11-person volunteer-run organization fiscally sponsored by Shunpike. I hope to continue to see Creative Colloquy evolve and flourish."

And evolving and flourishing it is. As if publishing local writers in print and online, plus monthly readings, were not enough, CC also holds an annual Creative Colloquy Crawl storytelling event highlighting dozens of writers, singer-songwriters, poets, screenwriters and storytellers with a diverse sampling of reading events in venues in a walkable neighborhood from North Pacific to Stadium, and this summer it hosted writers at the "Food for Thought" booth at the North Pearl Farmers Market.

The next Creative Colloquy Crawl is slated for the evening of Oct. 4. The next readings at Black Kettle Bites and Brew will be Sept. 18.

Creative Colloquy, Sept. 18, beginning at 7 p.m., Black Kettle Bites and Brew, 744 Market St., Tacoma,

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