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Join House of SpeakEasy for an 1800-mile trip from NYC to New Orleans celebrating the power of storytelling in people's lives.
199 backers pledged $20,149 to help bring this project to life.
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$20,149

199

STRETCH GOAL!

$22,000 Goal | Books, Books, Books!

We've been filling up the truck with a plethora of books and literary magazines, getting ready to head out on the road this Friday, June 14. Our stretch goal will help us get more books into the hands of educators, librarians, books-to-prison programs, social service organizations, and eager readers all along the journey. THANK YOU to our amazing backers who have gotten us this far! And to all who add their support in the last 36 hours of the campaign! Your collective contributions make this trip possible, and powerful. 

What's this about a book truck? 

House of SpeakEasy, an inventive NYC-based literary arts nonprofit, has a 27-foot-long box truck retrofitted with open-air bookshelves with enough room to haul thousands of books. Narrative 4, a global story-exchange organization, has a summit in New Orleans. What happens when you put these two together along with dozens of community partners along the way? A 10-day, 10-stop tour: Poetry to the People.  

Teenagers at a N4 story exchange in the Bronx pick up books from the House of SpeakEasy book truck.
Teenagers at a N4 story exchange in the Bronx pick up books from the House of SpeakEasy book truck.

Founded in 2013, House of SpeakEasy is a home for close encounters of a literary kind: a place where authors and their audiences come together in innovative and sustaining ways. SpeakEasy is dedicated to the idea that literature matters, and that the essence of literary culture is the relationship between writers and their readers. What better way to bring authors out from behind a podium than a book truck everyone can gather around? 

Kicking off at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn on June 13th, the truck will make stops in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Columbus, Floyd County, Nashville, Jackson, Arnaudville, Lafayette and New Orleans through June 23. Each stop will highlight engaging conversations hosted by community partners, featuring events and workshops with acclaimed writers and emerging teen talents. At every event, the truck will open up to give out free books and encourage browsing by readers of all ages.  

The route!
The route!

Who’s driving this thing? 

Paul Morris (House of Speakeasy) and Rob Spillman (Narrative 4) are collaborating on the tour with exceptional literary arts and social justice partners along the route. 

N4 and House of SpeakEasy team members stand in front of the book truck.
N4 and House of SpeakEasy team members stand in front of the book truck.

The tour will feature outstanding authors including Raquel Salas Rivera, Rayna Guy, Rickey Laurentiis, Jenny Johnson, Hanif Abdurraqib, Eloisa Amezcua, Hannah Pittard, Kiese Laymon, Darrell Bourque, and Daniel José Older--with more authors joining the tour soon!

Hanif Abdurraqib, Jenny Johnson, Daniel José Older, Hannah Pittard, Rayna Guy, Eloisa Amezcua, Darrell Bourque, Raquel Salas Rivera, Rickey Laurentiis, Kiese Laymon
Hanif Abdurraqib, Jenny Johnson, Daniel José Older, Hannah Pittard, Rayna Guy, Eloisa Amezcua, Darrell Bourque, Raquel Salas Rivera, Rickey Laurentiis, Kiese Laymon

The superb roster of community partners and locations include Pioneer Works, The Shipman Agency, The Free Library of Philadelphia, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Arts & Lectures, Two Dollar Radio, Floyd County High School, The Porch, Jayne Avenue Community Center, NUNU Collective, AcadianaCares, and the New Orleans Museum of Art!

Some of our amazing partners!
Some of our amazing partners!

Who’s literally driving the truck? 

Jeff Waxman and Lee Bob Black are the superstar drivers getting the truck safely to every stop. 

What about all the books? 

We’re identifying schools, libraries, books-to-prison programs and other organizations and educators whose communities are in need of books and collaborating with our partners to bring works they’d love to feature. We’ll have copies of titles by our fabulous authors and hundreds of books like American Journal and New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf Press). The books will be a mix of donations and purchased copies; with the help of publishers, authors, and you, we’ll fill up the truck. 

The book truck in action with readers of all ages browsing for titles.
The book truck in action with readers of all ages browsing for titles.

Give me the numbers:

2 book truck drivers

1800 miles (and back again)

10 events in 7 states (NY, PA, OH, KY, TN, MS, LA)

1 support vehicle

Thousands of books

1 Magnum photographer documenting the trip

Dozens of partners and authors

Hundreds of readers along the road

More bookmarks then we can count

Author Ishmael Beah signs copies of his memoir A Long Way Gone.
Author Ishmael Beah signs copies of his memoir A Long Way Gone.

I’m on board!

Awesome! Your pledge will help get the truck on the road, assist with book logistics, pay writers who are presenting, and address costs for the tour's support vehicle and drivers. We are thrilled for your support, and will shower you with gratitude and these memorable rewards. 

$10 - The Tanka: Digital poetry playlist with readings from featured authors. 

$25 - The Acrostic: A postcard from the road!

$50 - The Sonnet: A bumper sticker that encourages you to get #BookTruckin. 

$100 - The Cento: A poster of the trip with a map of the tour. 

$250 - The Ode: A tour t-shirt! Complete with logo and every city listed. 

$500 - The Duplex: Tickets and after-party admission for a House of SpeakEasy event in New York City.

$500 - The Ghazal: Manuscript consultation by Rob Spillman.

$1800 - The Golden Shovel: We'll take you with us! In photo form, that is. 

Ready to roll!
Ready to roll!

Risks and challenges

Driving a 27-foot truck 1800 miles (and back again!) has its risks. We might encounter streets that go straight up or tires that give out, or mechanical problems we don’t want to think about right now. Plus there’s the paperwork, permits and parking -- you can’t just park this kind of truck anywhere!

Also there’s the books: we want to give out as many books as we possibly can, which means a lot of creative packing.

Finally, if we don’t get funded, we’ll have to push the truck. And no one wants to see that happen.

Thanks for helping us get on the road!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    The Tanka

    A digital poetry playlist featuring work by our featured authors and more!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    The Acrostic

    A postcard from the road! We’ll send you a postcard from the route, signed by a featured writer, plus the digital poetry playlist.

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    68 backers
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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    The Sonnet

    A bumper sticker that encourages you to get BookTruckin! Plus the digital poetry playlist and postcard from the road.

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    16 backers
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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    The Cento

    A poster of the trip with a map of the tour and lines from our featured authors. Plus the digital poetry playlist, postcard, and bumper sticker.

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    19 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    The Ode

    A tour t-shirt! Complete with logo and every city listed. Plus the digital poetry playlist, postcard, bumper sticker, and poster.

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    10 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Duplex

    Premium seating at a House of SpeakEasy "Seriously Entertaining" show at Joe's Pub (The Public Theater) in New York City, plus invitation to the show's after-party. Also includes the digital poetry playlist, postcard, bumper sticker, poster and t-shirt. The complete package! Dates to choose from: June 18, September 17, October 22, or November date (to be announced). [Travel not included]

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,800 or more About $1,800

    The Golden Shovel

    Help cover every mile of the trip from New York City to New Orleans and we'll take you with us! Well, we'll take a printout of you to be visually present at every stop. We'll send you a photo album of your adventures on the road, along with the digital poetry playlist, bumper sticker, postcard, poster, t-shirt and our endless gratitude!

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    0 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The Ghazal

    Editorial consultation from Rob Spillman, author of All Tomorrow's Parties (Grove Press), co-founder of Tin House and winner of the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Editing. Plus the digital poetry playlist, postcard, bumper sticker, poster and t-shirt. [Fiction or nonfiction, 50 pages]

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    Reward no longer available 4 backers
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Funding period

- (24 days)