Reading Series Census: Liars’ League NYC

By on Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 at 9:04 am

Liars League

The New York City Reading Series Census is an ongoing project to catalogue the contemporary literary scene. Any reading series curator in the New York area can take the survey here.

What is the name of the series, and what is the significance or meaning of the series name?
The series is called Liars’ League NYC.

The name came about because we feature new fiction performed by actors – and both writers and actors are involved in the creation of entertaining lies, whether by writing or performance. And in all honestly, we also thought it sounded kind of cool, but we’re dorky like that.

There are now a number of other Liars’ Leagues around the world as well as Liars’ League NYC – Liars’ League London, Liars’ League Portland, Liars’ League Blackpool, and Liars’ League Hong Kong. All just as dorky, I might add.

Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
Liars’ League NYC was founded by Andrew Lloyd-Jones in 2012, and he’s been producing and hosting it since. He was joined by Nancy Hightower as co-host in 2016.

What genres or mediums does the series include?
We feature short fiction, and on occasion creative non-fiction and flash fiction. We encourage submissions of all genres – we’re just excited about great writing.

What is the format of the series?
We think of Liars’ League NYC as a live literary journal – we accept unpublished, themed submissions, and four or five stories are selected by the editors every other month for performance, online publication, and podcast. We’re also currently featuring one curated writer for each show – writers we admire and are delighted to promote. Actors read the stories themselves at KGB Bar in front of an audience, and the entire archive of stories and performances is available on our website. There’s also a fairly chaotic literary trivia quiz at the intermission, during which we give away themed prizes, usually books. Although once it was socks.

Where does the series take place?
It all takes place at the awesome KGB Bar in the East Village, at 85 East 4th Street. In addition, we take part in special literary events such as the Manhattan and Brooklyn Lit Crawls and the Brooklyn Book Festival Bookends program – you can find out more about those venues and times on our website.

When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
Our main events take place on the first Wednesday of every other month, in February, April, June, August, October, and December. We update our website regularly with details of any other special events.

How long has the series been active?
We’ve been active in New York since 2012. We originally started the series in London in 2007, and it’s still running there as well.

Where can people find information about series on the web?
You can either head on over to our website at www.liarsleaguenyc.com, like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LiarsLeagueNYC, or follow us on Twitter at @LiarsLeagueNYC.

Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
We take submissions year-round – each of our events has a specific theme, all of which are listed on our website, along with submission guidelines. There’s no reading or entry fee, and we try to reply to all submissions within a few weeks of each deadline. We announce new themes in October. We’ve also recently started soliciting material from featured writers.

Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
The original idea was based on the understanding that not all writers love reading their work in public – using actors to read them meant we could bring each story to life in a new way for both writer and audience. As the series has grown, we’ve focused more and more on promoting emerging writers – especially in New York, which has an incredibly dynamic literary community – and our new podcast format reflects that, featuring interviews with our writers. We’ve also recently started including a featured writer as part of the show – writers we’ve met or come into contact with whose work we admire. Finally, we’re now putting greater focus on the publication aspect of the series – we revamped our website last year, and we’re currently looking at producing our first print anthology of stories. It’s an exciting time for us!

What distinguishes the series from others?
Well, having actors read stories makes us different from most series – I think there’s a greater sense of “performance” to each event for the audience, and at the same time it allows writers to hear their work being interpreted by someone other than themselves – while sitting back, having a drink, and enjoying the event itself. Which is we think is rather nice. Liars’ League also operates all over the world – all it takes is a group of people passionate about promoting new writers. And we’re always excited to open new chapters, so if you’re interested, get in touch…

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The next Liar’s League is titled Borders & Boundaries, and is scheduled for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016, at KRB Bar at 7 p.m.

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