Post Academic

Support Matt Stewart’s LitDraft!

Posted in Breaking Academic Stereotypes by Caroline Roberts on April 30, 2010
Tags: , , ,

Image Source,Photobucket Uploader Firefox ExtensionWith the exceptions of JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer, the literary world still doesn’t have the mass appeal that generates the big bucks. Rowling and Meyer are big winners precisely because they appeal to a large audience, especially teens, who have disposable income and who aren’t afraid to spend it.

But these authors are in the minority, and it’s tough for new authors to break out. Although novelists are creative, they just aren’t the greatest at promoting themselves and convincing others why they matter. Hmmm … sounds a lot like grad students and academics …

Luckily, author Matt Stewart—whose novel The French Revolution comes out on Bastille Day, FYI—proposed a solution in a recent HuffPo piece. He suggests a LitDraft, just like the NFL Draft, but with authors.

Why not? The public obsesses over drafts, wondering which player is a sleeper hit and which player will flame out. And the marketing possibilities are dizzying:

The LitDraft is more than a mere recruitment tool–it’s a national media event focused on reading! Put the LitDraft on TV (CSPAN, PBS, whatever); give us face time with reclusive literary celebrities; provide running commentary and red carpet interviews; and package nifty segments on writers’ fascinating stories. It’d get casual fans fired up about new voices–hell, it’d get them thinking about reading for a few minutes period. Along the way, the LitDraft creates instant local celebrities, and a brief descent from the New York juggernaut might even make the book world feel slightly accessible to readers. (Did JK Rowling really wear that?)

A LitDraft would also benefit literature departments everywhere by reminding the public that words aren’t just important, but they’re also fun.

Want to know which writers Matt Stewart would like to have in his own LitDraft? Find out after the jump!

Image of 2008 draft results by Jim F, posted to Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license.

In an e-mail, Matt said:

Who would I draft? Ideally somebody I haven’t read yet, but I really liked Tony DuShane’s novel Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Freak – Catcher in the Rye + Jehovah’s Witnesses. I love Todd Zuniga – editor of Opium and ringleader of Literary Death Match – and feel like he could use a three year stint in the writing tank to churn out a masterpiece. And I recently judged a literary death match with Ali Liebgott, who was just about the funniest fucking person I’ve ever met and absolutely made me look lame.

Authors aside, I’m already dreaming of the LitDraft spectacle. I can imagine Brian Lamb, master of ceremonies from CSPAN’s “Booknotes,” handling the color commentary. He would take an author aside and spray him with questions: “How tall is your main character? HOW TALL IS HE?”

What about you? Which novelists do you think have the best shot at being taught in the literature courses of the future? Or, if you are so inclined, who should have a spot in the Lit Crit Draft? (New critics, please … no offense to Michel or his fans, we’ve had enough of Foucault already.)

One Response to 'Support Matt Stewart’s LitDraft!'

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  1. Jeannette said,

    I think that is a great idea! And, most importantly, it meets people where they are in terms of reading, which is one of the reasons why Oprah’s Book Club is so popular. Someone should seriously pitch the idea to CSPAN and/or PBS. I would definitely watch!

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