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Lecture Circuit

What Writers Can Learn from Literary Death Match

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was Adrian Todd Zuniga, founder of the Literary Death Match reading series. Press play below to listen on SoundCloud.

The author event “marries the literary and performative aspects of Def Poetry Jam, rapier-witted quips of American Idol’s judging (without any meanness), and the ridiculousness and hilarity of Double Dare.” The series continues to grow and will tape its first TV pilot in a week.

Zuniga shared advice for making your next author reading better: “Our big thing is to bring disperate people together, by mixing up actors, comedians and authors … That’s the basis of our success. If you and your three friends are going to do a reading, you’re going to get a certain audience. But the goal in readings is always to get the biggest audience possible.”

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Literary Death Match to Shoot TV Pilot

The Literary Death Match reading series will shoot a television pilot on October 9 at the Largo at the Coronet in Los Angeles, creating two shows that the popular reading series can pitch to TV networks.

Would you watch the Literary Death Match on television? The organizers hope to raise $10,000 for the pilot on Kickstarter. In exchange for pledges, you can get tickets to the show and digital downloads of the TV pilots. Check it out:

The live show — a double-feature (two, full 40-minute shows) starring top literary, Hollywood and comedy talent — will be filmed by a top cinematographer, then edited into a pair of pitchable TV pilots. The pilot will star  Michael C. Hall (Dexter; Six Feet Under),  Susan Orlean (The Orchid Thief; Rin Tin Tin), the musician Moby (Play; Destroyed), comedian/author Jenny Slate (SNL; author of Marcel the Shell with Shoes On), host Todd Zuniga (LDM creator, and a LA Times “Face to Watch” for 2012), author Ben Loory (author of Stories for the Nighttime and Some for the Day) and many, many more TBA. (Via HuffPost Books)

How Not To Read Poetry

Earlier this month, the Fishbowl Improv poetry group released the video embedded above: “How to Read Poetry.”

We are sharing the video to make you laugh and to remind you how not to conduct yourself at your next author reading.

If you want to avoid putting your audience to sleep, we recommend following the advice of Literary Brooklyn author Evan Hughes: “Keep it relatively brief and engaging. Keep in mind that reading aloud is a tough way to engage an audience. It can work, but I think it is best to be concise and have a range of people on stage for a few minutes each.”

Julian Assange & Slavoj Zizek Auction Lunch Date

You have four days to bid on one of eight seats in a lunch date with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Slovenian author Slavoj Zizek in London.

All the proceeds from this undoubtedly surreal dining experience will support WikiLeaks. The top bid is currently £4,100–how much would you pay to dine with this duo?

Here’s more from eBay: “The lunch will be from 12 – 3pm on Saturday 2nd July at one of London’s finest restaurants. The meal will be followed by a Frontline Club event from 4pm – 6pm at The Troxy in East London where these two formidable forces will be discussing the impact of WikiLeaks on the world and what it means for the future.” (Via Gawker)

Medical School Dean Accused of Plagiarizing New Yorker Writer in Speech

Students accused Philip Baker, the dean of medicine at the University of Alberta, of plagiarizing from a New Yorker writer in a speech.

According to CBC News Canada, Baker (pictured, via) copied a speech written by Harvard University surgery professor Atul Gawande. Gawande delivered “The Velluvial Matrix” at Stanford University’s June 2010 medical school commencement and published the speech in The New Yorker.

The Edmonton Journal reported: “In an apology letter to students Sunday, Dean Philip Baker admitted the theme and much of the content of his speech was similar to Gawande’s … In the letter, Baker goes on to apologize for failing to attribute the source and said he holds himself to the highest ethical standard. He says he apologized to Gawande, who was not upset by his use of the speech.”

Emma Straub Book Tour Visits 12 Locations from 12 Short Stories

Rather than following the traditional book tour circuit, author Emma Straub will visit twelve different locations around the world from her book of short stories–recording the journey at this blog.

Here’s more about the tour: “There are twelve stories in Other People We Married, and each story takes place in a different location. Every month for the next year, I will read a story in its location, or as close as I can get. This blog will follow my travels, my snacks, my impulse-buys, and more. For bonus points, send me a photo of OPWM in an exotic locale, and I will post it here, and send you a postcard in return.”

Last year we spoke with David Daley, founder of Five Chapters and publisher of Straub’s book.

Manuel Munoz Pairs Author Reading with Psycho Screening

On his current book tour, novelist Manuel Munoz has added a film screening of Alfred Hitchcock‘s Psycho to a few book signing events. What author and movie pairings would you like to see in the future?

On May 9th, Munoz will be at the Wilmette Theatre in Illinois for a Psycho screening, signing copies of What You See in the Dark and talking about how the Hitchcock film influenced his book.

Here’s more about the book: “The setting is Bakersfield, California, in the late 1950s. A dusty, quiet town, too far from Los Angeles to share that city’s energy, yet close enough to Hollywood to fill its citizens with the kinds of dreams they discover in the darkness of the movie theater. For Teresa, a young, aspiring singer who works at the shoe store, her dream lies in the music her mother shared with her, plaintive songs of love and longing. And in Dan Watson, the most desirable young man in Bakersfield, she believes she has found someone to help her realize those dreams.”

Jodi Picoult Surprises Fans with Free Concert

Last night, Jodi Picoult appeared at the Union Square Barnes & Noble in New York City to promote her new title, Sing You Home. She surprised her fans with a free concert.

The book features a 10-track CD by music teacher Ellen Wilber– Picoult wrote  the lyrics for the album. Wilber performed three songs at the bookstore event: “Sing You Home,” “Faith,” and “Sammy’s Song.” The “Sing You Home” song is featured in the book trailer embedded above.

Picoult also shared the back story for this novel, revealing that her oldest son Kyle came out as a homosexual while she wrote the book. She explained: “I have wanted to write about gay rights for a long time … People who are gay want the same thing straight people want. They want to be happy … there’s not much mystery to it.”

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Could the Living Room Save the Book Tour?

As Borders closes 200 stores and indie bookstores struggle around the country, the number of places where authors can read are also diminishing. This week HTMLGIANT interviewed Cassandra Troyan, a writer who decided to co-host the Ear Eater literary reading series in her own apartment.

It’s a great example of the do-it-yourself attitude that writers, readers, and publishers need to tap in the future. Follow this link for more information about the next reading, held tomorrow night (February 26) in Chicago.

Here’s more from HTMLGIANT interview: “The intimacy makes you responsible in a different way too. Even if you just come to listen it is never passively. Everyone is an active participant just by the fact of their being there. Plus, what is better than live, personal entertainment? Hearing poetry in someone’s living room, you can’t help but feel that it’s actually for you. Or that the pleasure of reading or being read to is so much a part of that.”

GalleyCat Readers Share Love & Heartbreak Stories

Looking for a romantic night? We’ll be at Smith Magazine‘s Six-Word Memoir Story Love & Heartbreak Slam tonight, watching GalleyCat readers share six-word memoirs. Below, we’ve listed a few of the many submissions we received.

The reading features a group of talented writers sharing the backstory to their six-word memoirs. So far, readers include: Deb Kogan, Rachel Sklar, Baratunde Thurston, Darin Strauss, Michele Carlo, Sara Barron, and Elizabeth Wurtzel.

You can buy tickets to the reading here. Here’s more about the interactive event: “Everyone will have the chance to share a Six-Word Memoir during the audience participation Six-World Slam. Then we invite you to hang out by the 92YTribeca’s beautiful bar and share more stories and drinks.”

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