Well, here’s something to distract us from the terrifyingly rapid collapse of the house of straw that is America! A reality competition show about the most interesting people on earth : WRITERS.
That’s right—all our Twitter-based jokes about America’s Next Top Sad Literary Man seem to have summoned forth… America’s Next Great Author. To be fair, the premise of the show sounds noble: to elevate more great writers with nontraditional backgrounds.
America’s Next Great Author is dedicated to including writers who aren’t normally given a seat at the table in mainstream publishing. Contestants don’t have to be graduates of elite MFA programs that basically guarantee an open door to the book business.
Listen, if you’re an aspiring writer without an MFA, I want to assure you that a lot of people without MFAs write and publish brilliant fiction, but… you can also go on this show, if you want! Though it’s unclear, at this point, what exactly you’d be signing up for. According to the show’s website, the winner of the live stage show in San Francisco (hosted by Kwame Alexander) will receive a “prominent role in the pilot episode” and $2,500. (For context, the winner of the show FBoy Island receives $100,000.)
Six charismatic finalists from vastly different places and backgrounds enter the Writer’s Retreat together for a month of live-wire challenges and spectacular storytelling. These talented amateurs have to start their books from scratch on day one of the Retreat and finish by the end of the thirty days. The climactic finale will reveal who made it to the finish line to become AMERICA’S NEXT GREAT AUTHOR.
Jokes aside, if this show makes it to air, I will obviously be watching. In the meantime, I will be workshopping elimination catchphrases:
-You have reached the denouement of your journey.
-Please pack your debilitating insecurity and go.
-Au Revoir (that’s goodbye in French) (You know, the language Proust spoke.)