NERDS! NERDS! NERDS!: Nerd Jeopardy Presented By FSG

1. Winning team I Would Prefer Not To: Amanda Bullock (Director of Public Programs at Housing Works), Maris Kreizman (who blogs at Slaughterhouse: 90210), and Rachel Fershleiser (You Rach You Lose). 2. Tobias Carroll, editor at Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and Molly Templeton, occupied by miscellany, kickin’ it before the event.

A thing I love hearing when I’m eavesdropping while browsing a book store: unashamed, awesome nerdery. Add prizes, a lot of wine and faulty train whistles and there is last night’s literary trivia event Nerd Jeopardy, presented by FSG: Work in Progress at McNally Jackson in SoHo. The night was as debauched as one might think when you get a bunch of nerds together at a great bookstore with free wine, prizes, and perhaps eternal glory. Disputes over syntax and correct usage abound.

1. Oliver Atcheson, a musician, traveled to McNally Jackson to mingle and discover the world of nerds.

What it is: three teams of three, Jeopardy rules, audience heckling, ridiculously awesome prizes. The night began with audience and teams getting well lubricated and dropping teams into a hat (well, it was a McNally Jackson bag). Grand prize for the winning team were books, obviously, which included signed first editions of Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Marriage Plot, Michael Cunningham’s By Nightfall, Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending (2011 Booker Prize winner), the new Roberto Bolaño novel Third Reich (which isn’t out for a month!) and John Jeremiah Sullivan’s book of essays, Pulphead. The audience was allowed to answer if the teams couldn’t, and we got the chance to win a prize too: a $100 gift certificate to McNally Jackson. Nerd’s wet dream to say the least.Ryan Chapman, who works in the online marketing department at FSG, was the evening’s Alex Trebek and selected three teams for competion: 3 Gals, I Would Prefer Not To, and Flying Armadillos, who competed in categories that ranged from identifying publishing house logos to music/lit mash-ups (eg. The Bon Iver of Vanities, Rihanna Karenina). Chapman, who encouraged all of us to drink a lot of wine, suggested we not take this too seriously, as “incompetence is part of the fun.” This was the best part about the event: the event celebrated nerdery and literary factoids that otherwise might be received with chilling silence in cocktail conversation. Plus, the crowd was getting quite loose with a really good Malbec. It was the greatest nerd party imaginable.

1. This seems to capture the seriousness of the event. Note the cursor. 2. Rachel Hurne (whose poetry is forthcoming in Brooklyn Rail) and Ruthanne Minoru, who are both Creative Non-Fiction MFA candidates at the New School. We almost became The Never Nudes…or were we already?

Topics ranged from literary depressives (Debbie Downers of Literature) to seminal young adult novels (The Y.A. Sisterhood). Teams buzzed in with faulty train whistles that sounded more like a child who’d been smoking for 80 years, and the audience was encouraged to boo and heckle if a team didn’t answer in the form of a question. At one point, the audience heckled the validity of an answer based on the syntax of the question which, despite its bookish nature, sounded like the lamentations of a Man U vs. Arsenal game at the pub.

1. The question board! 2. Crowd gettin’ wild.

I Would Prefer Not To, who came to compete with their own titular sign and fresh-from-the marathon reading of Melville’s Bartleby, the Scrivener at OWS, took an early lead and won the night, with 3 Gals and Flying Armadillos in a close 2nd and 3rd. The teams were getting quite competitive towards the end, to which Chapman reminded them that they weren’t playing for real money, just glory. One lucky audience member answered a question re: Amazon’s publishing division, for the $100 to McNally Jackson. The crowd drank an absurd amount of wine. I’ll definitely be going next time around, and hopefully I can have my own slice of nerd pride.

1. Nerd Jeopardy!

If you can, be sure to check out the next Nerd Jeopardy when it arrives. Check McNally Jackson’s calendar and FSG: Work in Progress for more upcoming goodies and the next Nerd Jeopardy.


–Ryan Chang is a writer and student living in Brooklyn. You can find him on Twitter here.

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