BKL cover.jpgBare-Knuckled Lit: The Best of WRITE CLUB
Edited by Lindsay Muscato and Ian Belknap
Foreword by Samantha Irby

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The live lit phenomenon WRITE CLUB has collected some of the some of the funniest, most persuasive, and deliciously pugnacious essays into a book.

Bare-Knuckled Lit: The Best of WRITE CLUB is a collection of twenty-four essays from the fiercest, most competitive reading series in the country. WRITE CLUB is at the vanguard of the nation’s “live lit” scene – a growing number of shows in Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Toronto, and WRITE CLUB’s home city of Chicago that feature compelling performers reading their own riveting prose. WRITE CLUB distinguishes itself from the pack with structural elements that heighten the urgency: competition, concision, and actual stakes.

Founded in Chicago in 2010 by the perennially irritable Ian Belknap, WRITE CLUB is a monthly literary smackdown that pits writers against one another under a punishing time limit, in front of an idea-thirsty live audience. Pairs of writers square off to defend opposing notions such as Smooth vs. Rough, Prose vs. Poetry, and Reality vs. Fantasy. With only seven minutes to persuade the assembled crowd, combatants pull no punches, bringing their fiercest, tightest, cleverest arguments into the battle for intellectual supremacy, bragging rights, and a share of the proceeds for charity.

Bare-Knuckled Lit brings together some of the most inventive writing from WRITE CLUB bouts fought in Chicago, San Francisco, and Atlanta, in defense of topics as diverse as lust, demons, work, and Santa. Some of the country’s funniest, most thoughtful, and deeply irreverent writers are represented here: Samantha Irby, Chloe Johnston, J.W. Basilo, Mary Fons (Chicago); Nick Tecosky, Gwynedd Stuart, Myke Johns, (Atlanta); Casey Childers, Joy Carletti, (San Francisco) and others. Hilarious, unexpected, and moving, these short, sharp essays will knock you out with the power of their originality.
Ian Belknap, WRITE CLUB’s Founder and Overlord, is co-editor has written an introduction to the collection. He is author of the several solo shows, most recently Bring Me the Head of James Franco, That I May Prepare a Savory Goulash in the Narrow and Misshapen Pot of His Skull. His work has appeared in Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row Journal, Crain’s Chicago Business, and on websites including Daily Dot and Scene Missing. He teaches writing independently, at StoryStudio Chicago, and at Second City. He has delivered presentations at TEDx Greenville, Chicago Writers’ Conference, and has performed at the Chicago Humanities Festival, Poetry Foundation, the Rhinoceros Theatre Festival, Filet of Solo Festival, among others.

Lindsay Muscato, (co-editor), is a co-producer of WRITE CLUB. She graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and has written for magazines and websites in Chicago, New York, D.C., and Phnom Penh. She lives in Chicago.

Samantha Irby (Foreword) is the author of Meaty (Curbside Splendor Publishing, 2013), a collection of essays from her blog Bitches Gotta Eat. She is the curator and host of the live-lit reading series, Guts and Glory. She lives in Chicago.