Tag Archives: work in progress

Nerd Jeopardy Success!

It was a thoroughly Trebekian night in Soho, with a packed house and lots (and lots) of wine. (Thanks Moët Hennessy!) Round one featured a surprise guest appearance by Colson Whitehead, and Emma Straub, our intrepid field correspondent, reported from California in her round two Video Daily Double.

The Categories for Round One

Thanks Michele Filgate and everyone at McNally Jackson, too! It was a smashing success, and it was great to see so many friends in the audience. And of course, congrats to [we have no name], the winning team. (The MVP award goes to Toby.) Ladies Who Brunch and We Just Came for the Wine performed admirably as well.

From "Fighting Words"

My favorite moment in the night was during Final Jeopardy, when the entire room yelled out “William Carlos Williams!” How often do you hear a hundred people cheerily yelling out a poet’s name in a bookstore? (Probably not as often as we’d like, but still.)

Will there be another one? Certainly. Nerd Jeopardy will return for the Lit Crawl later this summer and again at McNally Jackson in November. As always, Work in Progress subscribers will be the first to know.


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Nerd Jeopardy Returns July 21st

Like a rising phoenix with questionable IP usage, Nerd Jeopardy is back for round three. It’s just like every other literary trivia night you’ve attended, except this one comes with free wine (courtesy of Möet Hennessy) and a time-tested structure (courtesy of Alex Trebek).

Unlike the game show, all of our questions are about books, publishing, and pop culture. Three teams of three compete (the prizes are middling; the glory, everlasting) in two rounds, with some audience participation thrown in for good measure. There will be surprise appearances from some notable novelists in the form of the immortal Video Daily Double.

As an added bonus the whole ordeal’s going down at one of my favorite bookstores: McNally Jackson.

NB: The event’s presented by my little newsletter for FSG, Work in Progress. (If you haven’t subscribed yet, you should. There’s a nice little bonus package for subscribers in the July 15th issue.)

Full Details: 

Thur. July 21st, 7pm
McNally Jackson (basement), 52 Prince St

Facebook Event


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Work in Progress 7 Is Live

The first Work in Progress of 2011 is alive and well, with a hodgepodge o’ content. I’m most excited about the U.S. debut of a Mario Vargas Llosa essay on how he cured his fear of flying. (It’s not sleeping pills.)

There’s an extended conversation between editor Jonathan Galassi and poet Gjertrud Schnackenberg, which goes into incredible depth about the myriad sources behind her work: Buddha, Carl Sagan, and the Lutherans all play a part.

The third article started out with an appeal from a couple of our writers. Justin Spring and Wendy Moffat, both biographers of gay historical subjects, asked if we could make a video for the It Gets Better campaign. Hearing how E. M. Forster and Sam Steward, very different men, lead successful lives despite social prejudice was quite heartening. I also like Justin Spring’s comment about how much good sex is in store for homosexual teens later in life.

And finally, David Levithan asks readers to write dictionary entries. Kind of.

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Is It Propaganda If You Believe?

Issue #3 of Work in Progress is alive, well, and ambling about online. I’m especially pleased with this one, as I got to ask my friend Westin to contribute. Some know him as the drummer for The Thermals, or the creative force behind The Reformation. I know him as my old Seattle drinking buddy. We tossed a few ideas back and forth over email, and settled on pairing novels and records of unique affinity. Check ’em out, and let him know in the comments if you agree or not.

And because it’s awesome, here’s The Thermals’ new music video:

MORE: the incredibly brilliant Dan Bejar graciously answered my questions and forced interpretations of his lyrics; Rivka Galchen prods Chris Adrian for info about his next novel, coming out in 2011; Paris Review editor Lorin Stein looks back at Nobel laureate I.B. Singer on the occasion of The Magician of Lublin‘s 50th anniversary; and Lydia Davis reads new work at our most recent event at the Russian Samovar. The first story in the video is flat out funny, and will make you wish you thought of the conceit first:

Basically, all good stuff. Hope you enjoy it.

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Work in Progress Roundup

i.e., Thanks! I was really impressed and grateful for the coverage of Work in Progress this past week. (Especially on Twitter)

A few mentions:

I’m presently working on issue two. And pushing David Means on anyone who’ll listen.

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New Ideas, Realized

The project I’ve been hinting about? It’s live. Today we launch Work in Progress, a hybrid blog/online magazine focused on the world of literature.

Many of you know how increasingly difficult it’s been to introduce new writers to readers. The blessing and curse of novelists and short fiction writers is their voice – impossible to experience unless you’re reading it. Faced with declining review coverage it seems only natural publishers like Farrar, Straus and Giroux should create as many points of entry as they can for readers (and potential readers).

Let’s not be vague. We’re not talking about series, sequels, or genre titles. There are only a handful of genuinely brilliant books each year; wouldn’t you do anything to spread the word about them?

Work in Progress is, then, a long-term bet: create interesting pieces, delivered monthly, around only the best work curated by our editors. Give it a year. Connect readers with the editors and their lists which they’ve been reading for years without knowing it. Build up that trust, then tap them on the shoulder and say, Oh, by the way, here’s a novel you just might like.

Sound like wishful thinking? I direct you to a gem in our Sontag archive illustrating the difficulty in publishing new writers. In 1963.

Work in Progress will deliver four to five articles, multimedia pieces, and data visualizations each month. There will be special content and giveaways in the email component, so I encourage you to subscribe. Oh, and this is my job now, so if you love it, hate it, or think it could be better, let me know.

Still here? Go, check it out.

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