Call me, Ishmael.
A group of filthy-minded fiction writers is competing to pen the best erotic additions to the literary classic “Moby-Dick,” and the results will be judged live at the Bell House in Gowanus on May 28. The evening of lewd lit is bound to be some good, unclean fun, said an organizer.
“It is a funny, raucous, people-doubled-over, not-pretentious way to hang out,” said Amy Stephenson, the co-founder of Shipwreck, a series of live shows where writers skewer beloved books and battle it out in these “Competitive Erotic Fanfiction” tournaments. Stephenson hosts most of her events in California, but brings the show to Brooklyn a few times a year.
The competition started a month ago, when Stephenson assigned different characters to about half-a-dozen writers and they have been furiously scribbling their salacious supplements to the story ever since. On the day of the show, the authors will hand the forbidden fruits of their labors to a professional actor, who will read each of the pieces so the writers can remain anonymous. Then, the audience will rank all of the works and crown one the winner.
One competitor said the night will be way more fun than a typical book reading.
“A lot of the time, literary events are very dull and dry, but this is jokey and outrageous, with people falling on the floor laughing,” said Crown Heights writer Nate Waggoner.
This isn’t Waggoner’s first time competing. When Shipwreck took on “The Great Gatsby,” he penned a bawdy tale about Gatsby’s yellow car. For “The Hobbit,” he wrote Smaug the dragon into an ill-fated affair with Yoshi from the “Super Mario Bros.” video games. And for “The Catcher in the Rye,” he had Holden Caulfield meet the cast of “Girls.”
Stephenson said “The Catcher in the Rye” event was a particular favorite of hers.
“I hated that book in high school,” she said. “I could not believe we were forced to read that crap, so it was a delight to wreck it.”
Competitive Erotic Fanfiction does “Moby-Dick” at the Bell House [149 Seventh St. between Second and Third streets in Gowanus, (718) 643–6510, www.thebe
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