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The Secret Life of Literati Spelling Bees

Tonight we went to a swanky spelling bee put on by IRA SILVERBERG to benefit the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses at the Diane Von Furstenberg Studio in the Meatpacking District.

It was a lot like the spelling bees we remember from growing but instead of our principal, BOB MORRIS from THE NEW YORK TIMES Style section was the MC with the Oxford English Dictionary‘s JESSE SHEIDLOWER serving as the evening’s judge, and instead of the geekiest kids in our class, some of the biggest names in publishing were vying for top honors.

So actually it was nothing like the spelling bees we remember from growing up.

Follow our friend Ron Hogan’s play-by-play of the competition here; after the jump our photos of JONATHAN ADLER, JONATHAN BURNHAM, DAVID CARR, MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM, BRAD GOOCH, HEIDI JULAVITS, WAYNE KOESTENBAUM, MICHAEL MUSTO, SARA NELSON, and ROBERT SIETSEMA, along with our educated guesses on what they were like in high school.

BTW Gawker, ALEX KUCZYNSKI was a no-show this year and the word “sacrilegious” still cropped up (maybe Morris is behind the conspiracy). “Botox” — another Kuczynski favorite — was also on the fashion-themed list.

We’re fairly certain she would have gotten that one.


Brad Gooch and Brooke Geahan – Best All Around
Michael Cunningham – Most Talented
Jonathan Adler -Most Artistic
Heidi Julavits – Teacher’s Pet
Sara Nelson – Most Likely to Be Rembered
Robert Sietsema – Most Adventurous; Michael Musto – Life of the Party
Wayne Koestenbaum – Class Clown
Jonathan Burnham – Most Likely to Succeed

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