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Call for literary/spoken word artists for King County’s Equity and Social Justice project


King County’s Equity and Social Justice Program seeks up to eight individual literary artists to participate in readings as part of its Cultivating a Culture of Equity and Social Justice through Literature and Poetry project, which begins later this year.


As part of its effort to offer its employees opportunities to explore equity and social justice issues, King County will feature local literary artists in four quarterly presentations to employees.

The artists will offer through poetry, spoken word, fiction, or essay their perspectives on race, racial identity, and the personal, social, and cultural ramifications of such constructs.

Deadline for submissions is 5 p.m. Sept. 14. Artists will be notified of results by Oct. 6.

Presentations will provide an opportunity for attendees to think about race through a literary lens, which can be a more empathic means to accessing an often uncomfortable or even threatening subject.

Writers will read or perform their work and briefly explain its genesis and inspiration, followed by a facilitated question-and-answer session.  Artists will also be asked to complete a brief survey about their experience with the project.

Readings are scheduled from November 2015 through September 2016, approximately one per quarter. The project committee will work with each selected artist to schedule the best fit in terms of date and location. Two artists will be selected for each reading. Two of the readings will be in downtown Seattle and two will be in suburban King County.

The Equity and Social Justice Opportunity Fund allows the project to compensate each artist in the amount of $600 for time given to preparation, performance, and follow-up such as project evaluation.

Artists who are interested in applying should submit by email the following information:

  • Name, email address, and phone number.
  • Write a paragraph or two of no more than 250 words total in response to the following question: Why do you want to be part of the Cultivating a Culture of Equity and Social Justice through Literature and Poetry project?
  • Provide a short bio of no more than 250 words. While you may include them, publications and awards are not a focus in artist selection. The project committee is interested in the artist bio in so far as it provides a sense of commitment to and pursuit of an artistic as well as a social justice goal, a certain level of accomplishment, and evidence of experience in performing for an audience.  
  • Provide writing samples of no more than three pages for poets and no more than five pages for prose writers. The project committee understands that this limited number of pages will probably be excerpts from longer pieces.

This opportunity is open to all King County residents 18 years and older, except King County employees.

Email submissions to In the subject line of the email, please enter ESJ Literary Project.