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Reading Series Census: Side Quest

By on Wednesday, November 9th, 2022 at 9:20 am

Reading Series Census

The Reading Series Census checks in with Side Quest, a speculative and fantasy focused reading series.

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?

“Side Quest” is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the tropes of the fantasy genre, from which our writers may pull into their fiction.

Who founded the series, and who runs it now?

The series was founded by the fiction writers Nadya Agrawal and Caroline K. Fulford as a way to bring their podcast Swords and Wigs into the in-person community of Brooklyn fiction writers. We’re only just starting!

What genres or mediums does the series include?

At the moment, our series includes fiction that draws from the fantasy, science fiction, and magical realism genres. We invite our readers to share excerpts from their short stories and novels.

What is the format of the series?

Currently, 3-4 readers are introduced one by one and allowed to share new or recent work.

Where does the series take place?

Hinterlands Bar in Kensington, Brooklyn.

When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?

Once a season (approx every 3-4 months)

How long has the series been active?

This is our first time! But our podcast Swords and Wigs started last year.

Where can people find information about series on the web?

On Twitter @swordsandwigs.

Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?

Sure! If folks want to get in touch with us, please email us at or

Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?

We want to share work from fantasy and SF writers that rarely get the attention their work deserves because of entrenched biases within these genres and publishing as a whole: queer writers, trans writers, Black writers, indigenous writers, and writers of Color. Here, we feel there is an opportunity to build community.

What distinguishes the series from others?

Us! Nadya and Caroline met years ago in a writing workshop and have happily complained about the book world together ever since. The reading series, like our podcast, is grounded in our longtime friendship and a shared desire to see imaginative literary fiction that is political, funny, and moving.


The next (and first) Side Quest reading takes place on Thursday, November 10, 2022 at 7pm at Hinterlands and features C.J. Khemi, Everdeen Mason, and María Alejandra Barrios Vélez.



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