The 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. Founded in 2013 by the biographer and historian Amanda Foreman and the editor Lucas Wittmann, SpeakEasy is dedicated to the idea that literature matters, and that the essence of literary culture is the relationship between writers and their readers. To foster that relationship SpeakEasy seeks to:
- Bring authors out from behind the book, lectern, or screen into direct contact with audiences
- Ensure that writers are compensated for their work and their time
- Stimulate the audiences (and authors) of tomorrow by exposing them to the best writing of today
SpeakEasy’s flagship program is an acclaimed series of literary cabarets, Seriously Entertaining, where authors take the stage to riff and ruminate informally, dinner-theater-style, on the evening’s theme. The writers share in the box-office take and their work is on sale. The Wall Street Journal calls it “Think-y entertainment for New York’s book-loving crowd,” and CBS Local News adds: “You have never seen a cabaret quite like this…. The lineup includes some of the most brilliant minds in the literary and artistic worlds.” Shows are scheduled roughly every six weeks; for the current schedule click here.
The SpeakEasy Foundation also has three distinct educational programs that aim to reach a broader community, forging new connections between writers and readers, many of whom are underserved by traditional deliverers of literary culture.
- SpeakFreely makes free tickets available to Seriously Entertaining and Shakespeare in the Park shows for teachers and students throughout New York City.
- SpeakTogether pairs SpeakEasy writers with students and teachers in public schools in Brooklyn, The Bronx, and Manhattan, and at community centers, including Union Settlement Association’s highly regarded College Readiness Program.
- SpeakUp gets new books, as well as their authors, into neighborhoods where few or no bookstores exist via a pop-up bookmobile.
House of SpeakEasy Foundation, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit institution that receives funding from foundations, corporations, and individuals; all contributions towards its programs are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law. To make a donation, please click here.