Rejected writers find acceptance in Wild Detectives' New Reading Series

Rejected writers find acceptance in Wild Detectives' New Reading Series, says SMU alum Cam Kirkpatrick, the series' creator.

Alum Cam Kirkpatrick

By Karen Gavis

They spent long periods of time tapping away at a keyboard in isolation and were ballsy enough to tell someone, perhaps a less-than-flattering editor somewhere, only to receive a rejection slip in return. Now, they have an audience.

The literary series Rejected: Stories Unsold debuted at Wild Detectives bookstore last month with the theme The Darkness Within, which seemed appropriate near Halloween, says Cam Kirkpatrick, who pitched the idea for the series.

“And because personal demons occur within a lot of writings,” he says. The next Rejected reading Dec. 20 will likely have an interactive holiday theme.

Wild Detectives programming director Lauren Smart says that when Kirkpatrick presented the idea, everyone saw it as a brilliant way to celebrate one of the most common experiences of being a writer — rejection.

“I love the idea that this series will bring together highly successful writers and newbies and in some ways encourages people to submit more work and get rejected to be part of this new little family,” she says.

Kirkpatrick, who has a background in theater, grew up in Fort Worth and attended Southern Methodist University before moving to New York then to Los Angeles to study screenwriting. The 30-year-old has shopped around a few of his writings to no avail, he says, including a piece he sent to Modern Love at The New York Times.

“Honestly, when I was sending it off, I didn’t have any delusions that it would be printed,” he says. “I don’t know that I’ve ever been accepted — maybe something small online.”

After moving back to Dallas, Kirkpatrick realized that Wild Detectives would be the perfect place for a community of rejected writers.


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