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5 Tips for creating your own literary night

There’s something really inspiring about watching a group of people come together to create a whole new literary experience.

This time we’ve stumbled upon Letters You Never Sent.

Zakia Uddin is part of the ‘crew’ who have put it together:  “We wanted to make our event interactive. We wanted to revive the letter as a dying form of story-telling, while also reconciling our love of pop culture and great literature”.

Sounds great to us! Well, you can find out more and sign up here. If you’d like to put together your own event, Zakia has kindly put together her top 5 tips:

Don’t be afraid to contact authors via email, Facebook, Twitter

We contacted most of our readers for the night through their blogs, Twitter and Facebook. It saves a lot of time, is less stuffy than going through a third party (unless you REALLY want to have Ian McEwan read) and makes contact much easier to manage, especially if you’re busy. It also means that you’ll be connected to several different literary networks via authors reading at your night.

Use authors you love reading

It’s crucial to use people you would read yourself otherwise the line-up can start to feel staler than old festival socks. There are so many great writers out there, and most people are keen or willing to read in front of an audience. It doesn’t have to be about names though names help. It’s about finding someone you’ll look forward to hearing read again or for the first time. Don’t be swayed by people who are always on the literary circuit. Chances are if you’re bored of hearing about them, others will be too.

Stay focused on the idea and work out details as you go along

We worked from the title (originally Texts You Never Sent), came up with a theme, and got our venue and date in place first, before finding all our writers. And then it’s only when we were writing the brief for authors that the format of the night became clear to us. The line-up is most subject to change so be relaxed about it!

Create a brief for the night stating your expectations of readers

This is the hardest part because it involves really refining your idea and makes it obvious what works and what doesn’t work. Be clear about running times and the format – readers just want to be able to turn up and do their thing.

Extras!

Spotify playlists, tumblrs, badge-making – it’s down to how much time you have, but this creates more things to tweet and blog about when promoting your night.

 

Letters You Never Sent started off as a reaction to the traditional “serious” literary night. For the first music-themed event, journalists and bloggers will read out fan letters to musicians and bands, while new and established authors will read from both their novels, and original fiction also in the form of letters. 
You can contact Zakia by email if you’d like further information about the night: mrs.menard@gmail.com

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Laura Summers

Laura Summers

Co-founder of @bookmachine - the network for forward-thinking #publishing folks; and BookMachine Works - the fresh new creative agency for publishers

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