Founded in 2012 by Grant Garland, Middle Literate is a traveling reading series, in the form of a podcast, which features literary work that stays true to the Midwestern state-of-mind and effectively represents the intricacies of the people who call the Great Plains home. The recording quality is good with occasional music which adds a nice transitional touch without being overbearing. Garland has a relaxed, friendly approach, and overall, the recordings are something that could be listened to at the desk or on the road.
Inspired by radio shows and podcasts, like This American Life, Wait Wait . . . Don’t Tell Me, and You Wrote The Book, Middle Literate Middle Literate episodes thus far include:
Episode 1 “Happiness” features “A Girl Named Mercedes,” a story about the elusive “happy ending” by John Rubins, an award winning instructor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I started by listening to this one, just to try out the sound quality, but Rubins premise for his story hooked me and kept me listening (yes, with a smile on my face).
Episode 3 “Rule of Three”: In Bloomington, Indiana, Middle Literate hears poetry from Scott Fenton, Brianna Low, and Paul Asta, three MFA students at Indiana University.
Most notably, Middle Literate was the spearhead for the “They Hardly Knew Us” reading series, a series dedicated to showcasing the work of prospective MFA students from the University of Illinois. Readers included David Ethan Chambers, Emily Penn, Dan Klen, Paul Asta, Ethan Madarieta, and Bryan Bachman.
Middle Lieterate reading period is December 1 to September 1. Work from writers at any point in their literary careers is welcomed. ML accepts simultaneous submissions, as well as previously published work.