Tuesday Funk is actively seeking submissions from writers of color, as well as LGBTQ, Muslim, and immigrant voices. You can write just about anything -- fiction, poetry, essays, articles, blogs, storytelling, memoirs -- really, any sort of coherent, entertaining narrative or just-plain wild wordsmithing. We feature five readers per month. Would you like to participate? Here's how.
Applying to firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell us a little about yourself, about your work, and about what you'd like to read. Include the piece or pieces that you'd like to read by pasting the text into the body of your email. (We prefer not to download attachments.) For prose, limit your submission to 2,500 words or less (which is about all you can comfortably read in 12 minutes.) For poetry, send a sample of four or five poems.
If you have a book release or other publication date coming up, tell us so we can try schedule you around that time. Also, we're partial to local writers, but if you're from elsewhere and plan to be in Chicago on the first Tuesday of a given month, please let us know that, too.
We are open to any type or genre of writing, so long as it's entertaining. While we wouldn't feature out-and-out pornography, strong language and erotica are fine. Our audiences are always 21 and over.
We're usually trying to fill slots three to five months in the future, so please keep that in mind when you submit. We can't promise that we will reply to all submissions, but we will do our best. If we don't invite you to read, it's not necessarily because we found the quality of your work lacking. It may be that it simply didn't fit the aesthetic for the programs we're putting together for specific months.
If you do get invited to read at Tuesday Funk, what can you expect and how should you prepare? We've been doing this for a few years now, and we have some notion of what makes for a good show. Here are some suggestions.
Choose your piece in advance
Your reading will go much better if you plan well ahead of time what piece you want to read. This bit of advice may seem quite self-evident, but on occasion a reader will step to the mike with his book in hand but no idea which bit of it he plans to read. It's flustering for the reader to hunt through the book searching for a good excerpt while a frustrated audience grows bored and fidgety.
By the same token, if you're reading from a longer work, choose one or at most two excerpts. If you skip around in your book too much, your reading will be disjointed and the very opposite of entertaining and engaging.
Practice reading your piece aloud
Run through your piece a couple of times the week before the reading. Stand up as you read, perhaps in front of a mirror, with your manuscript held in your hands. When you read at Tuesday Funk, you'll be standing behind a microphone without a podium.
Time yourself as you read, and edit your piece down if you go over 12 or 13 minutes. Several of our readers have been surprised to finish reading and realize they've taken more than 20 minutes!
Don't eat or drink too much
If you come to Hopleaf early to have dinner before the reading, don't overeat. This is not for the sake of your health. If you're stuffed, it can be hard to get enough breath to speak clearly for 12 minutes.
Also, try to limit yourself to one drink before you read. It's good to loosen up a little, but not too much. This isn't Reading Under the Influence (fine as that series is).
Read only your own work
Please read only from your own work. Again, this might seem self-evident, but we don't want to hear any work that you don't own the rights to perform. That great poem from The New Yorker might be just the thing to set the stage for your piece, but resist the temptation.
Expect to be videotaped
We video-record most Tuesday Funk readings, but don't worrywe never make the video public without your explicit permission. You'll have a chance to review it, and to say no, before we make it available on our site.
Remember that Hopleaf is a bar
If you're inviting friends and family to attend, please keep in mind that Hopleaf is a bar. No one under 21 can be admitted, and IDs will be checked at the front door. It would be sad and embarrassing, and possibly very inconvenient, if a member of your party could not get in. There are no exceptions for infants.
That's it! We're sure that if you keep these suggestions in mind, your Tuesday Funk experience will be a good one.