Arts and Entertainment

Meet the Mossback, discuss ‘Pugetopolis’

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KNUTE BERGER will be reading from his new (and first) book “Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes on Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps and the Myth of Seattle Nice,” at 3 p.m. Jan. 11 at Eagle Harbor Books, 157 Winslow Way on Bainbridge Island. Info:, or call the bookstore at (206) 842-5332.

Former Seattle Weekly editor-in-cheif, current editor-at-large for Seattle Magazine, Knute Berger comes to the island with his first book.

Longtime Seattle Weekly editor Knute Berger has got to be one of the most colorful characters in recent Emerald City history.

He’s one of those people you’ve just got to love — whether you love him or hate him. He’s one of the quintessential northwest types — like Starbucks, only the antithesis.

A third generation Seattleite, he’s been musing on the contradictions and phenomenons of his homeland for the better part of the past two decades, writing and editing for various local newspapers and magazines. He served as editor-in-cheif of Seattle Weekly for three stints, nearly a decade in total, most recently from 2002-2006, during which he authored the award-winning Mossback column.

Knute Berger is Mossback. It’s a term, he describes, that 19th century settlers used to describe some Puget Sound residents “because they were rooted, backward, in the way of progress.”

Currently, Berger is editor-at-large for Seattle Magazine, while also blogging/writing for, serving as political columnist for Washington Law & Politics and appearing regularly on KUOW’s Weekday with Steve Scher.

And he’s coming through Bainbridge Jan. 11 at Eagle Harbor Books, on a Seattle-area tour for his new, and first, book “Pugetopolis: A Mossback Takes on Growth Addicts, Weather Wimps and the Myth of Seattle Nice.”

“Pugetopolis” is a dirty word, Berger writes in the Pugetopolis blog ( “at least it is for those who have been worried about the massive growth in the region.”

While his book isn’t about growth per se, he says, it is about finding his place in a rapidly changing region and also about the contradictions of a “place of nature touted for its industriousness,” “a place of history still regarded as new, unfinished, in need of growing up,” and “a place that sees itself as the antithesis of New York yet that is itself Manhattanizing,” among others.

See a full interview with Mossback online and in print in this week’s Bainbridge Review. And look for a follow-up on “Meeting Mossback” in next week’s What’s Up.

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