KR BlogBlog

Your Ten-Step Guide to Hosting a Literary Party

1. First thing’s first: drinks. Track down a copy of Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist for all the literary drink recipes you can ask for, like Bloody Carrie, Remembrance of Things Pabst, Infinite Zest, Drankenstein, Absinthe Shrugged, Fahrenheit 151, and Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margarita. Or create your own. My party conspirators came up with The Red Badge of Courvoisier, The Crying of Bin 65, The Falstaff in Our Stars, and Colt 1984.

2. Stereotypes aside, not all writers are lushes. Make sure to have non-alcoholic beverages on hand as well. At my modest literary party, I offered LaCroix of Monte Cristo (i.e., three flavors of LaCroix shoved in the bottom of my fridge). You can also make use of the range of impairment levels among your guests by attempting that famous advice erroneously attributed to Hemingway: “Write drunk, edit sober.” Have the drinkers write something on the spot and the sober folks edit it.

3. It’s not a party without snacks! See Tequila Mockingbird for a few literary-inspired recipes. Otherwise, encourage your guests to think of literary themes for anything they might contribute. At my gathering, one guest brought The Wide Sargasso Brie while another brought Turkish delight in honor of The Chronicles of Narnia.

4. For decorations, use books as centerpieces or make banners from your rejection letters strung along paperclip chains. Or, considering that poop emojis are in for some reason, you can buy all poop emoji decorations and throw a Shitty First Draft party

5. Don’t forget the party games. Tequila Mockingbird includes a few, like seeing who can get the farthest in reading aloud Molly Bloom’s soliloquy in Ulysses in only one breath, or presenting drunk oral histories of The Canterbury Tales. Allow me to also suggest DICK, the Moby Dick-inspired card game; a treasure hunt tailored to the books in your personal library; or Pin the Rejection on the Submission.

6. Get a piñata and fill it with flash drives, pens, paper clips, and Post-it notes and let your guests go nuts. Or maybe it’s a bad idea to have inebriated adults swinging at a piñata filled with sharp objects, who knows.

7. When inviting writers from all walks of life/genres/literary circles, use name tags to help everyone break out of their introverted shells and mingle. Just to spice it up, have them write their favorite guilty pleasure novels and/or their year-to-date rejection count beneath their names.

8. If you’re the crafty sort, find a way to print rejection letters on your toilet paper. It’s the little touches that make a party memorable.

9. Encourage your guests to drink responsibly, and don’t let anyone drive home impaired. Offer your couch to anyone who’s imbibed too much. This shouldn’t be a problem considering that many writers are used to sleeping on uncomfortable surfaces and/or staying pretty much anywhere that’s free.

10. Once everyone clears out, you’ll be left with a messy house. If the empty bottles, half-crushed cans, and leftover snacks already attracting fruit flies tempt you to start cleaning, resist the urge! Go straight to bed and save your energy so you can get some writing done the next day. Because that’s what this is all about, right?