Inside the Prose Bowl, the American-Idol style fiction series that’s welcoming to new writers

Photo by Katy Hartnett.

Writer P.J. Kryfko at Sunday’s Super Prose Bowl, reading his story about a father who time travels to get an autograph for his daughter. Photo by Katy Hartnett.

Sunday night, in a battle that ranged from surrealist to southern Gothic all the way to historical fiction, six Brooklyn writers went head to head in the Super Prose Bowl: Tournament of Champions. Each heavyweight brought to the stage an original work of flash fiction and the dream of glory, bragging rights and possibly literary representation.

There are a lot of hosted reading series in Brooklyn (a few of which, including The Prose Bowl we have covered here) where new writers can workshop their stories, meet other poets-by-night/baristas-by-day types or just listen and draw inspiration from the established or emerging literati. But for anyone just starting out, getting the chance to actually read at a reading series can be daunting.

With this mind, Prose Bowl co-creators Christopher Green and John Hague created a tongue-in-cheek American Idol-style reading series where contestants are chosen at random giving everyone the same opportunity to read their work before a panel of judges. Other than being original works of flash fiction there are no stylistic requirements for any writer who wants to enter. Green and Hague keep the tone light, creating a safe and encouraging space for both the seasoned Prose Bowlers or any newcomers who are getting up on stage for the first time. So if you’re having PTSD flashbacks from writers workshops where your prose was knocked out, don’t worry; Prose Bowl is a safe space to get back into the ring.