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?
We are “An Angry Reading Series.” We wanted to put together a reading series that could be a space for impassioned, evocative pieces of work, centred around the theme of anger and frustration. This is a very political time in the world, and we wanted to be a literary platform where writers could come, share their work, and heal through a supportive community. And because we believe in saying it like it is, we didn’t want to play around with the name too much. So we went literal.
Who founded the series, and who runs it now?
It was a collective project between Chelsea Asher (Sarah Lawrence MFA ’19) and Meher Manda (CNR MFA ’18). I (Meher) wanted to start a reading series for a long time, but one that would be different thematically from all existing reading series. Then one day, an idea to do a reading series around “anger” came along, I brought it up with Chelsea, and two minutes later we had a name and a project.
What genres or mediums does the series include?
We’re open to any and all genres of writing. Typically, for each reading, we want poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to be adequately represented. But we’re definitely welcoming to weird, hybrid pieces that fall somewhere in the middle. And short plays, of course! Anything angry, to be honest.
What is the format of the series?
Each reading will feature anywhere between 5-6 readers chosen through the submissions we receive on our email. We also try to bring on a feature reader for each reading, who is a more established figure, alongside the other emerging readers on the lineup. While releasing the lineup, you will also get to read a TOP 10 interview with our readers to know them better, and to help us better share and publicise their work.
Where does the series take place?
Our home is at Grill On The Hill at 1624 Amsterdam Avenue. We love Harlem, and pride ourselves on our association with the borough. The hosts at Grill On The Hill are wonderful, and they have a great backspace with a stage and beautiful lighting, which is where we will be at.
When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
We are currently a monthly reading series, and return to perform on the last Saturday of every month.
How long has the series been active?
We are actually very little, and will be kicking off with our inaugural reading on the 29th of September. We’re very exciting to be the newest addition the New York City’s reading culture.
Where can people find information about series on the web?
Our webpage – https://angryreading.wordpress.com/
Our Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/angryreadingseries/
Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
We accept submissions all year round, and they can be sent to us at email@example.com. If we love your work, we will try to make you a part of our lineup, if not for the coming reading, then for the one after, whenever it’s possible. For feature positions, we solicit material from writers we admire and love.
Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
We’re still fairly young, so we haven’t evolved that dramatically. The only thing is that we have become more ambitious, we want to give our readers more avenues for them to share their work. For instance, we would love to publish an anthology at the end of our first year, featuring our favourite work from our readers. That depends strongly on whether we raise the funds to be able to do so, but we will try our mightiest.
What distinguishes the series from others?
Our theme of anger alone sets us apart from other reading series that are not that focused on a singular theme. We want good writers, certainly, but we want writers whose every written word is driven by the potent emotion of anger. We want to be a place where writers can come, share their frustration with this world, laugh and cry with us, so we can feel a little better, and ultimately hopeful, on our way back home. We also wanted to push back against the narrative of proper public behaviour, and be a platform of honest, no-holds-barred expression. However, at this early stage, we’re just honoured to stand alongside other fantastic reading series and do our bit for the literary landscape of New York City.
The first Angry Reading is Saturday, September 30, 2018 and features Itiola Jones, John Bazley, Katie Rainey, Kwame Opoku-Duku, and Leah Johnson.