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Posts Tagged ‘Elliott Holt’

Authors Making a Name for Brands

Ron Barrett for the New York Times

Ron Barrett for the New York Times

“Cultivating Thought” is a series of captivating short pieces written by ten noted authors, from Nobel prize winner Toni Morrison to Malcolm Gladwell, printed on Chipolte cups and bags and meant to be read in two minutes. They were the brainchild of Everything is Illuminated writer Jonathan Safran Foer.

In the New York Times, Teddy Wayne looks at “the branding of literature,” companies turning to “literary luminaries to form a collective ‘spokescribe’” as the perfect pitchmen. It can work well for the writers, too. According to Wayne, Moneyball author Michael Lewis told Conan O’Brien on “Conan,” “It pays very well to write a Chipolte cup.”

Neil Blumenthal, co-founder and co-CEO of eyewear company Warby Parker–two names picked from Jack Kerouac’s unpublished journals–told the Times, “We wanted to build a brand that stood for fun, creativity and doing good in the world, and we thought writers best represented that.”

It’s not a match made in corporate heaven for all authors. “Not everyone is willing to be the face (or prose) of a brand,” writes Wayne. Elliott Holt saw her first novel You are One of Them pubbed last year. When a company sought her out to endorse an e-cig (vape, anyone?), she declined.

“‘I felt like being the face of some product would somehow cheapen me as a writer,’ she said, also expressing her reservations about the merchandise’s potential health risks. The offer of $30,000 still gnaws at her, though.”

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How Has Twitter Shaped Storytelling?

Andrew Fitzgerald, a member of Twitter’s news and journalism partnerships team, gave a TED Talk called “Adventures in Twitter Fiction.”

We’ve embedded the video above–have you ever shared a short story on Twitter? Here’s more about the TED Talk:

He showcased excerpts of “Twitter fiction done right” by authors like Elliott Holt, who spontaneously created a narrative through the Twitter accounts of her characters, and Jennifer Egan, who used @NYerFiction to create episodes of Black Box, a novel she storyboarded into 140-character pieces. Twitter, Fitzgerald said, is not just a means of publication but one of production, as is the case with parody accounts like the foul-mouthed, sci-fi version of Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, captured in @MayorEmanuel, or “fictional characters that engage the real world,” like the accounts of the entire cast of The West Wing.

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