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Can we please have a version of this competitive Indian “writers reality show” in America?

Jonny Diamond

January 7, 2021, 11:05am

As a rank purveyor of lists and, well, rankings, we here at Literary Hub Consolidated Book Chatter Inc. are not infrequently admonished for introducing too much competition into the hallowed vocation of “writing stuff.” Well, I am here to push that even further.

This morning I learned of a competitive writing show in Bhopal, India, called Writers Unplugged, which sets challenges for local writers (there’s a version in Hindi and a version in English) like “writing a letter to a dead historic person about another historical event, rewriting an already existing story from the perspective of a prominent non-living object, freestyle poetry…” The grand finale challenge is… writing and performing a podcast! Truly, this competition is a mirror held up to the contemporary writing life.

Obviously, we need this in America ASAP (or at least as soon as we can meet together to drink): can you imagine George Saunders vs. Celeste Ng live onstage rewriting “The Lottery” from the perspective of a stone? (Honestly, I can’t, but still.)

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