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Books

Is Dallas Really a Literary Town?

The Dallas Lit Hop aims to prove a point this month with a series of bookish events.
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Illustration by Phil Foster

Though Dallas has developed an active literary scene in recent years, its reputation is still lagging behind reality. Enter the Dallas Lit Hop.

Organized by local literature champion WordSpace and meant to highlight the importance of the written word, the festival made its debut in 2016. But this is its real coming-out party. The Lit Hop’s first two installments were one-day affairs confined to Deep Ellum. This year, events will happen throughout the city and the month, beginning April 5. It’s perfect timing: April is Dallas Arts Month, and the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs wants the emphasis to be on literature.

“I knew early on it was time to expand the Deep Ellum project,” says WordSpace president Charles Dee Mitchell. “This was the year to do something bigger, so I proposed it to the board and went and got everybody lined up, people who could produce specific programming.”

The newly expanded Lit Hop will include a poetry slam, a bookmaking workshop for kids, a pub-crawl, and a performance by the experimental site-specific theater troupe Dead White Zombies. Walter Mosley—author of the successful Easy Rawlins series of detective novels—will come to town for the grand finale on April 29.

“Dallas is known nationally for its visual and performing arts scene,” Mitchell says, “and we want to be part of getting the literary scene up on that same national level of exposure.”

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