Playing with words

The Head and the Hand to host 3rd annual spelling bee for adult literary community

Smart cookie: (from l to r) Erin Oneil, H&H social media director; Nic Esposito, H&H founder and publisher crown Alexa Smith, APIARY Magazine, the champion of the 2017 Philly Lit Adult Spelling Bee. PHOTO: CLAIRE MONCLA

By Melissa Komar

Looking to showcase your wordsmith skills and score some cash for your literary organization?

Start with spelling “vicissitude.”

That was the winning word at last year’s Philly Lit Adult Spelling Bee organized by The Head and The Hand Press.

Friday marks the third year for the event hosted by the nonprofit publisher, which was founded by Nic Esposito, co-manager of Emerald Street Farm and former president and current treasurer of East Kensington Neighbors Association.

This year the foray will be at The Monkey Club, 2101 E. York St., and promises to be just as “lit” as ever.

“The Philly Lit Adult Spelling Bee is nonprofit publisher The Head & The Hand’s annual spring fundraiser shindig,” said Linda Gallant, editorial director at The Head and The Hand. “Every year we invite participants from fellow literary organizations and publications to put their love of words to the test by spelling (and drinking) in front of a crowd of fellow book nerds.”

Last year, APIARY Magazine was crowned spelling bee champ and “took home $200 in prize money to put towards the good work of publishing amazing poets,” according to Gallant.

This year’s lineup vying for a shot at some funds and some old-fashioned bragging rights include Cleaver Magazine, The Hatchery Reading Series, and Qwerty Philly, just to name a few.

For those of you looking for some insider tips to prep for the event, Gallant has some words for the wise.

“This year we’re taking inspiration from our Monkey Club location and including primate-themed words in one of the rounds,” she said. “Pro tip for any of your readers who might show up to the event: we always invite two members of the audience to come up and test their spelling skills alongside our established teams, which has been a fun element of past events.”

If spelling isn’t your strongest suit, you can try your luck on the raffle, which will include prizes from The Common Room, Gryphon Kensington, Little Baby’s Ice Cream, Philly Style Bagels, Keystone Mini Golf, and Riverwards Produce.

Profits from the raffle will benefit the work of The Head and The Hand Press. The entry fee for teams will be awarded to the winning team.

Although the event is a fundraiser, the purpose is to strengthen the ties that bind the book-minded community in Philadelphia.

And, to have fun.

“Our overall goal is to help strengthen the ties between literary organizations in Philadelphia through the power of spelling bizarre words while getting a little bit tipsy,” Gallant said. “Philadelphia is a city rife with literary organizations and readings, but sometimes those groups can feel a bit diffuse. The Bee is a way for us all to get together and have some silly, nerdy fun.”

Think your organization has the orthographic chops to go head-to-head with the competition? Email info@theheadandthehand.com to register. There is a $20 registration fee per team. Or, want to watch the light-hearted, literary debauchery unfold? Tickets are $10 at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m. and competition starts at 8 p.m. at The Monkey Club on Friday, May 4.