The Dish Celebrates One Glorious Year!

Just over a year ago, I met in the office of Electric Literature with co-founders and editors Andy Hunter and Scott Lindenbaum, along with then-online editor Anna Prushinskaya. They had a new idea for the blog, they told me, and they thought I would be a good person to carry it out.

The idea was Electric Dish, an events column that would show that, contrary to popular belief, the literary scene is alive, well, and thriving.

In the year since Dish launched, we’ve expanded our blog team, increased our web traffic, and, in addition to New York, we’re now covering events in California, Portland, and Boston. I’ve personally been to countless award ceremonies, lit parties, and, of course, readings. It’s been good, it’s been hectic, it’s been — at times — boring. But all in all, it’s been awesome, and I feel honored to have been able to help bring attention to all the amazing events, bookstores, publishing houses, and writers that our fine city has to offer.

Here are the things I have learned by Dishing…

Tips for Readings:

  • For god’s sake, if your reading is going to be any longer than an hour and a half, PLEASE have a break. People have to pee. They have to smoke. They have to get another beer. They have short attention spans! Besides, if you have someone Dishing at your event, the break is the perfect opportunity for them to take photographs and mingle.
  • I don’t drink. Therefore, I don’t care that your reading series has free beer. (Yes, I do realize I’m in the minority here.) Greenlight Bookstore is one of my favorite places because they almost always have delicious snacks, like hummus and cheese, and frequently even have CUPCAKES. Holy Christ, I love cupcakes. But seriously, guys? Can’t you at least keep a 2 liter of ginger ale on hand for us weirdos who can’t/don’t want to get drunk?
  • Chairs are nice. Standing sucks.

Tips for Readers:

  • Listen to your mother. Speak clearly and slowly, and E-NUN-CI-ATE.
  • Unless you’re really famous, do not, I repeat, DO NOT, explain to us why you wrote the piece that you’re reading. Nobody cares.
  • People respond to funny stuff best. If you can’t do funny, keep in mind what really interests people: sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and violence.

Tips for Hosts:

  • Keep intros short. We’re here for the readers, not for you.
  • Remember that if you give your readers a time limit, 80% of them will go over.

AWARDS!

  • Local Literary Rock Star — Richard Nash
  • Always At The Bar Award — Jonathan Ames
  • Sweetest Writer Award — Lynne Tillman
  • Most Stalkable Award — Ben Greenman
  • Most Star-Struck Moment (for me) — Mary Gaitskill
  • Best Performance At A Reading — Benjamin Hale
  • Best Performance Behind-The-Scenes At A Reading Series — Penina Roth (Franklin Park Reading Series)
  • Writer Who Gets The Weirdest When You Ask To Take Their Photo Award — Colson Whitehead
  • Ubiquitous Beer Award — Brooklyn Brewery
  • Coolest Poetry Series — Polestar Poetry Series
  • Coolest Nonfiction Series — Freerange Nonfiction
  • Coolest Multi-Genre Series — Mixer Reading & Music Series

Feel free to add your own awards and tips from your own experiences in the comments!

Want to write for Dish, or want us to Dish your event? E-mail julia@electricliterature.com

Thank you to all who’ve Dished for us this year…Alicia Adams, Sam Allingham, Lauren Belski, Taylor Bruce, Kyle Chayka, Sarah Codraro, Jake Davis, Brad Dunn, Nicolle Elizabeth, Jesus Angel Garcia, Joshua Hardina, Katarina Hybenova, Curtis Jensen, Jesse Katz, Austin Kleon, Elena Lappin, Cayden Mak, Halimah Marcus, David McLoghlin, Judson Merrill, Craig Moreau, Nikita Nelin, Judith Ossello, Cameron Pierce, Anna Prushinskaya, Benjamin Samuel, Topher Scotton

But extra special thanks to all who’ve Dished it on the regular…Lauren Dlugosz, Emily Firetog, Cassie Hay, David Ohlsen, Lisa Riordan Seville, Kai Twanmoh, John Zuarino

***

– Julia Jackson writes fiction and is the editor of Electric Dish. She has an MFA from Brooklyn College.

Sunny Katz is an MS Paintmaster.

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