Liars’ League NYC is an awesome reading series and literary journal. Here’s how it works: actors read original stories by writers for an appreciative crowd at the intimate KGB Bar. The stories are then published on the Liars’ League site and made available as podcasts. Sound cool? We thought so too, which is why we were thrilled to interview founder, producer, and host Andrew Lloyd-Jones.
Aimee Howard performing at a reading in December.
What inspired you to start Liars’ League?
We set up Liars’ League London eight years ago when we realized that while writers love the writing process, they don’t necessarily love the performance aspect when it comes to readings (and some actively avoid it). So by having actors read the stories, we were just leveling the playing field—as we say, writers write, actors read, audience listens, everybody wins. When I moved here, I set up Liars’ League NYC with exactly the same philosophy—but a different accent. New York has an incredibly dynamic literary community—and over here, I was hugely inspired by series like Amanda Stern’s Happy Ending series (now at Symphony Space), Suzanne Dottino’s Sunday Night Fiction, Blaise Allysen Kearsley’s How I Learned, and Gabriel Delahaye and Lindsay Robertson’s Ritalin Readings.
Liars’ League is unique in that trained actors are reading new short stories, which haven’t been published anywhere else, by a variety of emerging and established writers.
Aside from the obvious, how do you think that the feel of this differs from an author reading his or her own work? Do the writers and actors ever talk and collaborate before the performance?
I think there’s a difference between reading a story aloud and bringing it to life. That’s where actors truly shine—they’re fantastic at painting the words, becoming the characters. Liars’ League also gives the audience a different way to engage with and immerse themselves in a story—because it’s removed from the context of the author. I love author readings too—they’re an ideal opportunity to meet writers, ask questions, have books signed, and so on—but at Liars’ League NYC events, we focus purely on the story. As far as rehearsals go, our writers are invited to meet their actors, and take part in the run-through—and if they can’t make it, they’re welcome to suggest notes for the performance if they have specific suggestions.