On April 28th, Pace ’13 graduate Yahdon, gave his second lecture as the 2018-2019 Distinguished Professor, challenging the audience to rethink their views of readers as not just as consumers, but as agents of cultural change.
To read about his first lecture, titled “Turning Barriers Into Bridges: How to Create Market Opportunities with Innovative Thinking”, the previous blog post summarizing the event can be accessed here.
Yahdon Israel is a Pace University alumni, as well as an editor, entrepreneur, and the creator of Literaryswag, a cultural movement that intersects literature and fashion. He has written for Avidly, The New Inquiry, Brooklyn Magazine, LitHub, and Poets and Writers. He’s a fellow of the Dyson Society, a graduate of the Pforzheimer Honors College, and the 2013 recipient of the Charles H. Dyson Award. He is also the Awards VP of the National Book Critics Circle and the host of LIT—a weekly web series about books and culture.
This semester, Israel’s lecture was titled “Who Do We Do It For”, and focused on the relationship between publishers and their audiences and how important it is for publishers to understand why they are selling their products or services. Israel, creator of the Literaryswag Book Club, started his book club when he saw a need for something that did not already exist. The club’s website explains that it is “The intersection between fashion and literature to make literature accessible to people who don’t like to read”.
Literaryswag was a project that he was passionate about and as it gained more popularity and recognition he realized that his passion was not enough to keep it running. He started investing more and more of his time into Literaryswag because he was running it the same way he had when there were only a handful of members. Eventually, he realized that he was not valuing his time and that he needed to accept that reaching out and asking for help was not a bad thing. Asking for help ended up helping him in the long run and it has allowed him to continue to grow his book club and plan for its future.