The idea and inspiration for Twenty Stories came to us a year after moving to Los Angeles from New York City. Between the metropolises, there's an immediate difference in how writers identify, the more popular choice in LA being screenwriters. Although we came prepared for the Hollywood centricity of LA, we did not truly realize how limited the spaces would be for fiction writers, poets, essayists, and beyond. LA's literary community is often fragmented and we hope with Twenty Stories to provide another space for the literary arts. Of course there are bookstores we love in LA that do so much for writers and readers across the city, yet there's still a need to grow the lit scene, and we believe Twenty Stories will provide another way to interact with books in a growing digital age. The Twenty Stories van is an effort to mobilize literature and bring communities in and around Los Angeles together through innovative and engaging texts that purposely live off the silver screen and take up residency in our imaginations.
How did we come up with the name? At our home in Echo Park we have built-in bookshelves in our living room. While brainstorming a name for the van our eyes landed on J.D. Salinger's collection Nine Stories. We liked the sound of it, but nine books wasn't going to cut it. That we're certain! From there, we quickly decided on the concept of carrying twenty books and rotating our selection on a monthly basis. By carrying twenty titles at a time, our selection is much smaller than a traditional bookstore, and we are able to simplify the book-buying experience by carefully curating our titles.
At the van, we'll be able to talk with you about your tastes in narrative. With our selection spanning the genres of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and literary and cultural magazines, we'll be able to guide you to a new literary adventure.
The titles we carry will range from established authors such as Lorrie Moore and Haruki Murakami, signed by major publishing houses, to emerging authors such as Shane Hinton and Danez Smith, published by independent presses.
Diversity and inclusion is a necessity to the literary community, and at Twenty Stories, we take a serious look at our selection, looking again and again at our book list to make sure we carry writers who represent every demographic.
We plan to use LA's burgeoning Arts District as our homebase, but will be parking the van at beaches, universities, and other neighborhoods across Los Angeles. We hope our visitors will not only come for the books, but also stay and chat with us about writing, enjoy a cup of coffee, or take part in our monthly book club and readings.
We're ready to set sail (but on four wheels!) and can't wait to see you at the van!