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"Amateur Thursdays"

Earlier this week, Ed Nawotka wrote a great piece at Publishing Perspectives on “Amateur Thursdays” a new webcast project that’s the brainchild of Fabrice Rozie (book critic) and Giovanna Calvino (Italo’s daughter):

Entitled “Amateur Thursdays” the concept is to present five-minute, edited “show” featuring contemporary writers and celebrities discussion new and classic books that they love. [. . .]

“The name comes from T.S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party in which a character calls his wife’s attempt at hosting a salon her “amateur thursdays,” said Rozie, who will serve as the show’s executive editor. “The idea is to host the show in the context of a New York cocktail party, where the camera can zoom in to a small group who will be discussing specific books. The show should appear to be seemingly casual, but will actually be carefully edited. We intend for it to be fast-paced and witty.”

I talked with Fabrice about this project earlier today, and it sounds like they’re planning on releasing the first few episodes during the Frankfurt Book Fair. Which seems ideal, and like an ideal location to possibly film a few more.

This sounds like a pretty interesting concept. Compared to Title Page, which had a more traditional format with four or so authors being interviewed for an hour, “Amateur Thursdays” promised to be a lot quicker, shorter, and seemingly more off-the-cuff. They also don’t want authors talking about their own books, but about books they’re reading. In fact, the whole focus seems to be on what you’re reading rather than what books one is currently pimping. They want the discussions to range across fiction and non, poetry, philosophy, whatever. A show, again emphasizing the focus on readers over writers.

Personally, I think the length is key: five minutes is short enough to watch on your iPhone while walking from one place to another. Personally, these longer pod/videocasts are too much for me. I can’t even find an hour to watch Glee these days . . . But anyway . . .

Of course a project like this isn’t cheap. To raise the initial funds for the first few episodes, they’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign with tiered incentives ranging from free previews ($10) to autographed books ($100) to the opportunity to be listed as an Associate Producer ($1,000). At the time of writing, they’re about 35% of the way to their goal, so, well, you know what to do.



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