File this one under the "If You Can't Beat 'Em, 'Join 'Em" department.
A new, 30-minute television show that puts the focus on books and authors around the world debuts at 8:30 p.m. Monday on Link TV (DIRECTV Channel 375 and DISH Channel 9410).
Each weekly show will feature actors and other artists reading aloud from the works of authors who hail from a particular location. For instance, the premiere focuses on writers and artists who have lived and worked in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn.
So Broadway actor Jeffrey Wright will read aloud from poet Walt Whitman and best-seller Ishmael Beal, while playwright and musician Carl Hancock Rux reads excerpts from novelists Henry Miller and Richard Wright. (Talk about strange bedfellows...)
The show will be hosted by Ina Howard-Parker, an editor and book publicist.
There have been television programs featuring writers before. But the producers say this is an effort to use new media to help authors reach potential readers.
And, while some of the authors excerpted will be certifiable Great Writers who already are part of the pantheon, it doesn't take a genius to realize that the show's true goal is to showcase new talents, such as poet Suheir Hammad, and singer-songwriter Nucomme. After all, how much more publicity does Walt Whitman need?
Each show will be the equivalent of a 30-minute short film shot entirely on location and combining readings, performances, and interviews. Individual segments will be released as independent, online short films available to websites, blogs, and other social media. Each short will be embedded with information about upcoming author readings, and where to buy a particular writer's work.
As Howard-Parker puts it in a news release: "Our aim is to help writers and publishers reach diverse and diffuse audiences through the media they're already consuming, and then to bring them back to books. In the new media landscape, the richness and excitement of books needs to translate to a wider range of media, whether television, iPhone dowloads or Facebook pages."
You can read more about the project here.
Can a Twitter version of Moby Dick be far behind?