Nonfiction Pizza Party is a new column by David Bersell. Please click on it every week.
Last week, Stephan Lee of Entertainment Weekly wrote up a playful pitch for a reality competition show for fiction writers. You know, like America’s Next Top Model/Chef/Gravedigger, except with books and glasses and stuff. Check the article out here.
Since I’m a nonfiction writer and grew up on reality TV — I once attended a club appearance by a Real World cast member and tried to convince his manager to let me profile him — I have deemed myself worthy to conceive the nonfiction version of this imaginary show. (Sorry poets. You’re on your own.)
Title: Lee chose Great American Author. I’m going with The Book Club to try to get that crazy middle-aged Dancing With The Stars audience.
Location: As an alternative to that New York thing, I will make the writers share a cabin in Maine. This will amp up the neurotic tendencies of the writers when they are helicoptered into various locations for challenges and have to talk to “regular people.”
Head Judge: Joan Didion. She will dress in all white, except for her sunglasses, and when the writers are presented to her she will whisper questions and then shudder.
Challenges: The writers will have to cover a town hall meeting without falling asleep, pen a travel essay while traveling, report about a cultural force that is fighting for its life as a way to show that the economy sucks but is getting better, maybe, and finally, write a memoir about the complex experience of being an overeducated, jobless 20-something (since the cast will all be young and good looking).
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