Get Lyrical at The Cabin's 'Song: Writers in the Attic' Launch Party 

Any time there's a writing contest with a prompt, a good chunk of submissions are going to take the theme literally. For this year's Writers in the Attic fiction and poetry contest, The Cabin literary center chose the theme of "song" to encourage local writers to think lyrically instead.

"I think it was a great theme. ... 'Song' is fun in that it can go any which way," said Hillary Bilinski, who is operations manager for The Cabin and has shepherded Writers in the Attic for the last two years. "We had a sea shanty, a lot of high school nostalgia. We had a lot of songs. It was just a fun cultural piece."

On Thursday, Aug. 23, The Cabin will throw a launch and signing party for Song: Writers in the Attic, this year's anthology of some of the best Idaho short fiction and poetry written around the theme of, well, "song." That will take place at The Linen Building and begin at 6:30 p.m. There will be some food and beverages, but the centerpiece of the evening will be the publication, which comprises 48 pieces by 40 authors, selected from a total of 169 submissions. Admission is $5, $3 for members of The Cabin.

Most importantly, the event is a chance for authors and readers to meet and mingle. While a few entries have come from farther afield than the Treasure Valley, many of the contributing writers to Song come from the Boise area, and several will be at the launch party to talk about their work and sign copies of the book.

click to enlarge - Author and screenwriter Samantha Silva was the guest judge of Song: Writers in the Attic. -  - COURTESY SAMANTHA SILVA
  • Courtesy Samantha Silva
  • Author and screenwriter Samantha Silva was the guest judge of Song: Writers in the Attic.
"It's a culmination and celebration of all those 'writers in the attic' wishing to be heard, encouraged, validated," wrote Bilinski in a follow-up email.

The Cabin has undertaken this exercise since 2012, when it released Rooms: Writers in the Attic. Since then, it has produced editions with themes like "detour," "nerve," "animal," "water" and "game." Water received approximately 200 submissions; according to Bilinski, that was a record number for the series.

Each iteration has a guest judge. For Song, it was Samantha Silva, an Idaho-based author and screenwriter perhaps most famous for her short story, "The Big Burn," which was adapted to film and won the 1 Potato Short Screenplay Competition at the 2017 Sun Valley Film Festival; and her debut novel, Mr. Dickens and His Carol, which was released to acclaim last year. 

"I'm so excited for the people who got in (and so grateful you were so careful to mask names)! It's a wonderful thing that you do, this anthology, for our growing community of writers," Silva wrote in a blurb following the blind-judging process.

click to enlarge - Readers will mingle with writers at the launch party, set for Thursday, Aug. 23. -  - THE CABIN
  • The Cabin
  • Readers will mingle with writers at the launch party, set for Thursday, Aug. 23.
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