Sunday, October 28, 2012, 7:30 – 9:00pm

Scratch Night: Crowdsourcing Fiction with Nassim Assefi and Scholar-In-Residence Lesley Hazleton

Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street. Free, but registration required.

In-Residence, Literary, Other Performance

What happens when readers and an author meet around a table to collaborate on a new piece of fiction? The second in a series of regular Scratch Nights (free-form, anything-goes events where artists of all stripes have freedom to experiment in front of a live audience) is the brainchild of Town Hall Scholar-In-Residence Lesley Hazleton. The goal: to edit a new piece of fiction using crowdsourcing and direct engagement. Inspired by the TEDGlobal 2012 conference on Radical Openness, Nassim Assefi attempts to harness collective wisdom to inform her novel during National Novel Writing Month in November. Making transparent the opaque process of writing using wiki-like technology, Assefi beta-tests her crowdsourced novel-revising experiment with an intimate audience at Town Hall first, questioning what it means to write a book in the digital age, blurring the lines between writer and reader, editor and audience.

Admission is free but reservations are required (reserve your tickets here). Downstairs at Town Hall; enter on Seneca Street.

Due to the nature of the program, we need an accurate count of attendees. If you reserve a ticket and can’t attend, please e-mail Town Hall’s patron services manager at

About Assefi 
About Hazleton 

Nassim Assefi (, @nassefi) is a global women’s health specialist, TED Fellow, and novelist. She is the author of Aria (published in 6 languages), and numerous scientific publications. Her forthcoming novel, Say I Am You, is based on her years as an aid worker (and underground salsa dance teacher) in Afghanistan. She has been a Jack Straw Writing Fellow, an Artist Trust Grant recipient, and a resident of the Whiteley Center and Hedgebrook on multiple occasions.  Recent accolades include Feminist Press’ Top 40 Under 40, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine’s Best Doctors, and University of Washington Woman of Courage awards. Day jobs include serving as a medical advisor to a health care startup and practicing medicine at a community health clinic, where she also does pro-bono evaluations of refugee torture victims seeking political asylum. Wanderlust has taken Nassim to more than 50 countries on six continents; as a result, she speaks (and sings to her daughter) in five languages. An obsessive TEDster and philomath, she serves on advisory boards for Hedgebrook, Whit Press, and the Guttmacher Institute. Crowdsourcing the latest draft of her second  novel is one of many radical life experiments she has been thrilled to take.


Novel Summary:

She was not supposed to be in downtown Kabul, but Iranian-American physician Behnaz Mazdak had grown weary of lock-down. She ventured to the Shahr-e-Net Cafe, where she was drawn to a mysterious Afghan woman with a devil-may-care laugh. Behnaz would soon confirm her diagnostic suspicion that the woman was trouble, but first the bomb went off. Both women survive only to discover the aftermath is equally explosive. The Afghan woman is revealed as Behnaz’s personal hero, radical feminist journalist Zayneb Kazem, and she is mixed up in something troublesome indeed. As Zayneb struggles for her life, Behnaz is determined to unearth the truth about her. Filled with absorbing observations about modern-day Kabul and dilemmas in humanitarianism, Say I Am You is a testament to the lengths one goes in the name of friendship, even on the front-lines.

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One Comment

  1. Kamal Al Shoufani
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    Brilliant Nassim , waiting for your new novel
    Aria is a very wonderful novel ,and the coming novel will be so,too,I’m sure.

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