Brink Literacy Project Launches The Literary Tarot On Kickstarter

(June 1, 2021) Brink Literacy Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the world through storytelling, is launching a Kickstarter campaign for The Literary Tarot. This is an ambitious and unusual collaboration with some of the greatest authors and cartoonists of our time who have been asked to pair a tarot card with a seminal book that embodies the meaning of the arcana. Working with the storytellers and a diverse and talented art team, Brink Literacy Project has tapped into the magic of classic literature to bring a whole new kind of tarot deck to life.

literary tarot banner

The Literary Tarot deck will feature the complete set of all 78 tarot cards, illustrated with a stunning limited palette and foil accents.

Major Arcana card pairings include:

  • Bestselling crime writer Chelsea Cain pairs The Emperor with Agatha Christie’s Poirot Investigates
  • PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novelist K-Ming Chang (Bestiary) pairs The Magician with Wu Cheng’en’s sixteenth-century novel Journey to the West
  • Amal El-Mohtar (author of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novella This Is How You Lose the Time War) pairs The Star with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Emily of the New Moon
  • Lev Grossman (The Magicians Trilogy) pairs The World with King Arthur
  • Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Victor LaValle (The Changeling) pairs The Tower with H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Outsider”
  • Talia Lavin (the author of Cultural Warlords and the host of the Moby Dick Energy podcast) pairs The Devil with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick
  • Isaac Marion (the author of the bestselling Warm Bodies series) pairs The Hermit with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
  • Bestselling Mexican Gothic novelist Silvia Moreno-Garcia pairs The Lovers with Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence
  • The bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng, pairs The Hanged Man with T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
  • Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Award-winning novelist Rebecca Roanhorse (Black Sun) pairs Death with Bram Stoker’s Dracula
  • Quill Award-winning novelist Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy) pairs The Fool with Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote
  • Simon Tolkien (No Man’s Land: A Novel) pairs The Chariot with Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island
  • Novelist and comic book writer G. Willow Wilson (The Bird King) pairs the Wheel of Fortune with William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair

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For the Minor Arcana, each suit is renamed to reflect the literary tools that brought them to life (Ink, Quills, Light, and Parchment). Minor Acana Pairings include:

  • Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning writer Charlie Jane Anders (Victories Greater Than Death) pairs the Knight of Light (Cups) with Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones
  • Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale) pairs the Queen of Light (Cups) with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
  • Vita Ayala (The Wilds) pairs the King of Light (Cups) with Homer’s The Odyssey
  • Bestselling author Leigh Bardugo (Ninth House and Shadow and Bone) pairs the Ace of Parchment (Pentacles) with Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden
  • Tarot reader and host of The Word Witch podcast Charlie Claire Burgess pairs the Eight of Quills (Swords) with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick (co-creator and writer of Bitch Planet) pairs the King of Quills (Swords) with Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations
  • Bestselling writer Roxane Gay (The Bad Feminist) pairs the King of Parchment (Pentacles) with Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • The Hugo Award-winning writer of Die, Kieron Gillen, pairs Five of Quills (Swords) with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment
  • Bestselling horror writer Stephen Graham Jones (The Only Good Indians) pairs the Three of Quills (Swords) with W. W. Jacobs’s seminal, supernatural short story “The Monkey’s Paw”
  • Hart Hanson (creator of the TV series Bones and author of the novel The Driver) pairs the Page of Ink (Wands) with Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain
  • Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning writer Kelly Link (Get in Trouble) pairs the Two of Parchment (Pentacles) with Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
  • The award winning writer of Monstress, Marjorie Liu pairs the Queen of Quills (Swords) with Beowulf
  • Bestselling comic book writer Mark Millar (Jupiter’s Legacy) pairs the Ace of Quills (Swords) with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Erin Morgenstern (The Starless Sea) pairs the Five of Light (Cups) with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  • Novelist and biographer Alec Nevala-Lee pairs the Two of Quills (Swords) with Sophocles’s tragedy Antigone
  • Novelist and comic book writer Benjamin Percy (The Ninth Metal) pairs the Seven of Quills (Swords) with Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat
  • Bestselling comic book writer Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) pairs the Page of Quills (Swords) with Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

The artists for Literary Tarot are:

  • Major Arcana: Samantha Dow
  • Light: Shan Bennion
  • Ink and Box Design: Ejiwa “Edge” Ebenebe
  • Quills: Isabel Burke
  • Parchment: Bradley Clayton

“Books have always been magical portals to other worlds,” said Brink Literacy Project CEO Dani Hedlund. “In their pages, we unearth countless insights and secrets, inspiration and cautionary tales. Like us, these characters face uncertain futures, Towers rising up in their path or the Wheel of Fortune pushing them toward greater fates. As any great tarot reader knows, we can always change the trajectory of our choices. As we delve into how these classic heroes and villains handle life’s trials and temptations, so too can we divine our own futures.”

More pairings will be announced throughout the month of the campaign, including pairings from bestselling comic book writers Brian Bendis (Cover), Emill Ferris (My Favorite Thing is Monsters), Christopher Golden (Lady Baltimore), Jonathan Hickman (X of Swords), Tini Howard (Excalibur) and Greg Rucka (The Old Guard). For updates about the project, follow The Literary Tarot on Twitter.

For more updates on the Brink Literacy Project Campaign, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For more updates on F(r)iction, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

The Literary Tarot campaign will run throughout the month of June. To support the campaign, visit Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brinklit/the-literary-tarot

About Brink Literacy Project:

Brink Literacy Project is devoted to utilizing the power of storytelling to positively affect the lives of people on the brink. Through our education, community, and publishing divisions, our nonprofit works worldwide to foster a love of literature, increase literacy rates, and use storytelling to empower underserved communities.

Our Education division delivers innovative literacy and storytelling programs with a focus on increasing literacy rates and assisting personal development through storytelling. We have a strong focus on bringing our initiatives to low-income, low-literacy, and marginalized communities, whether that means teaching in prisons or creating completely original curricula to tackle low reading proficiency in our youth.

Through our Community division, Brink forges partnerships with universities and other humanitarian and literary organizations. As a global community of readers, writers, artists, students, and supporters, Brink brings people from diverse backgrounds together to celebrate the beauty and power of storytelling.

Our Publishing division, headlined by our print journal, F(r)iction, is the culmination of our efforts to #PublishWeird, pushing the boundaries of what, and who, is accepted in the literary world and providing a platform for underrepresented and trailblazing voices alike.

About F(r)iction:

F(r)iction is a literary anthology carefully curated to evaluate an important cultural topic from vastly different perspectives. From historical origins and nonfiction essays to the wildest reaches of fiction, poetry, comics, and art, each issue inspires us to think differently.

F(r)iction is the imprint of the 501(c)(3) literacy and storytelling nonprofit Brink Literacy Project. At the heart of our mission, we use F(r)iction to achieve several of our nonprofit’s key goals: to mentor emerging writers, amplify diverse and underrepresented voices, encourage experimentation and genre-melding, and delve into themes that raise important social issues.

In promoting a diversity of storytelling, we publish trailblazing industry legends and new and underrepresented voices alike. Big name authors such as Charlie Jane Anders, Benjamin Percy, Lev Grossman, Stephen Graham Jones, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Faylita Hicks, Joyce Carol Oates, Jeff VanderMeer, and Kwame Dawes have graced our pages, to name but a mere handful!

But creating a beautiful book isn’t enough—we want to make sure these collections enchant readers who would not otherwise have access to such works. And so, since 2015, Brink has developed and taught education programs using F(r)iction as the primary teaching tool. With a focus on enhancing “literacy” both in terms of increasing reading/writing skills and fostering a love of literature within the community, these programs have expanded to include women’s prisons, homeless shelters, high schools, and university classrooms.

And that’s not all! With the readership for literary journals dwindling every day, we want to reinvigorate the entire reading experience. And so we do a completely mad thing . . . we commission custom full-color illustrations for every single piece published AND use specialty printing techniques on our covers (spot gloss, holographic foil, metallic sheen, you name it!), to create a visual experience that is as mesmerizing as the literature within.

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