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 genres or mediums does the series include?
Fiction, poetry, essay, spoken word. One time there was a song.
What is the format of the series?
One hour, four readers, ten minutes each, and drinks at 99 Rogers afterward.
Where does the series take place?
Cafe con Libros in Crown Heights (bookstore/cafe)
When and how often is the series performed (and is it seasonal)?
Monthly, usually on the third Friday
How long has the series been active?
Since 2011 with a brief hiatus from early 2015 – early 2017.
Do you take submissions, solicit material, or a combination?
I very much take submissions and sometimes solicit (bully) people into reading. Anyone interested in submitting their work for a future event should email firstname.lastname@example.org with a writing sample (it doesn’t have to be what they wish to read at the series, but it should be similar), a headshot/photo, and a short bio.
Did you set out with specific goals when the series was launched and have they changed over time?
When I started out it was just focused on emerging writers, as there weren’t many places for total noobs to read back then. Now I encourage submissions from all emerging writers with the aim of also elevating the voices of POC, LGBTQIA+ folks, women, and people with disabilities.
What distinguishes the series from others?
There is no barrier to entry aside from writing compelling work. Whether a writer has never read in public or has no connections in the NYC “scene” or no writing background—none of that matters. If you’re a storyteller, you’re in.
The next Renegade Reading Series census is scheduled for Friday, April 26, 2019 at 7 p.m., at Cafe Con Libros, and features Arriel Vinson, Cristie Grotheim, Andrea Rothman, and S. Erin Batiste.