Reading Series Census: Line Break

By on Monday, July 31st, 2017 at 9:03 am

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 name of our series is Line Break. In prose writing, a line break indicates the start of a new scene. We chose that name for our series in hopes that it would be the start of a new little literary scene, and to evoke that idea that every episode could be the start of a new thought for our audience.

Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
Line Break was founded in early 2016 by William Shunn, who still hosts and produces the series. Shunn is an award-nominated memoirist and science fiction writer, who for three years (2010-2013) was a co-host and co-producer of the long-running Tuesday Funk reading series in Chicago. During his tenure there, he and Sara Ross Witt developed the cross-genre format that has kept Tuesday Funk fresh and popular in Chicago still today. The series has featured writers as varied as Aleksandar Hemon, Gina Frangello, Alex Shakar, Virginia Konchan, Daniel Kraus, Jody Lynn Nye, James Garner Finn, and Daryl Gregory.

What genres or mediums does the series include?
Line Break is genre-agnostic, cross-discipline reading series. The defining characteristic of every episode is a lively mix of fiction, poetry and essays, and all genres are welcome. We believe that any kind of writing should be able to stand up beside any other as deserving of an audience’s attention. Lately we’ve been experimenting with throwing video and multimedia into the mix, and we hope eventually to do some occasional music too. One of our tag lines reads: “Where poetry meets prose, fact meets fiction, and high-brow meets low-brow.”

What is the format of the series?
Line Break styles itself as a live literary magazine. Every episode features five to six readers, each reading from their own work for up to 12 minutes. Host William Shunn usually contributes a short reading as well.

Where does the series take place?
Line Break takes place at Q.E.D.: A Place to Show and Tell, a comedy club and event space at 27-16 23rd Avenue in Astoria, Queens. Q.E.D. is near the Ditmars Blvd. stop on the N/W line.

When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
Line Break takes place the first Saturday of every month, 3:00 to 4:30 pm. Admission is $7.

How long has the series been active?
Line Break debuted with its first episode on March 5, 2016. That year the series took place once every four months. As of February 2017, having proven itself viable, Line Break became a monthly series.

Where can people find information about series on the web?

Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
Line Break draws its readers from a combination of solicitations and submissions. Anyone is welcome to submit. Instructions for doing so are at:

Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
Our goals have remained very consistent since the beginning — to put writers from as a wide a range of disciplines as possible together on the same stage, and to shape a program around them that will entertain and keep the interest of even casual visitors to the series. We aim to demonstrate month after month that good writing is good writing, no matter the genre.

What distinguishes the series from others?
New visitors to the series often remark on their surprise and delight at the variety of writing on display. If there’s any other series in the city willing to put an Afro-futurist poet on the same program with a Marvel movie tie-in writer, we are not aware of it. We also avoid themed episodes, so as to keep eclecticism the main focus of our programming.

The next Line Break takes place on Saturday, August 5th, 2017, 3 p.m., at Q.E.D in Astoria and will feature Nicholas Kaufmann.

English Kills Review is an online magazine covering books, authors, and writing with an emphasis on New York City. Founded in 2012, English Kills Review engages the literary community while highlighting noteworthy books and authors