"In an ever more digitized age, literature as live event appears to be thriving," reports Laura Collins-Hughes in The New York Times (9/12/13). The best evidence of this are the so-called Lit Crawls, which are like pub crawls — except with authors – that began in San Francisco in 2004 and have since spread throughout the US and the world. A Lit Crawl is "not a series of sit-downs featuring glossy, boldface names, but a gritty, low-budget affair, both more accessible – there are no tickets and admission is free – and more locally oriented, lesser-known" authors featured.
The Lit Crawl offers "readers and aspiring writers a level of access to authors that auditorium-style events tend not to allow." "You can buy them a drink," says Jack Boulware of Litquake, which started the trend in San Francisco. "You can go to the after-party and hit the dance floor with them if you want. You can talk to them in a social setting. They’re not just whisked offstage. It’s much more democratized in many ways." San Francisco’s Litquake last year "drew an estimated 4,000 people … to more than 80 free events.”
It is also a low-tech affair: "even a microphone or a projector might be too much to expect." Venues typically are "bars, art galleries and the occasional pizzeria or Laundromat … The aesthetic is so handmade that each place that hosts a Lit Crawl offers it free … if someone books the space for a private party, say, or a photo shoot, Lit Crawl can be left scrambling to find another spot." "Lit Crawl is DIY," says Jack Boulware. "It’s produced by a bunch of volunteers in each city." Mette Risa, who organizes London’s Lit Crawl, says the concept is a winner there because "People love pubs. People love books."