St Albans author launches crowdfunding bid for Literary Trumps project

Literary Trumps by Alex Johnson

Literary Trumps by Alex Johnson - Credit: Archant

When it comes to ideas of literary genius, there’s one that trumps them all.

Literary Trumps by Alex Johnson

Literary Trumps by Alex Johnson - Credit: Archant

A new game, like traditional Top Trumps but with writers instead of cars or footballers, is in the process of being funded through donations.

Literary Trumps sees Leo Tolstoy, Maya Angelou, Mark Twain, Enid Blyton, Beatrix Potter and Jack Kerouac going head to head.

It is the brainchild of journalist and author Alex Johnson, 47, who lives in Prospect Road, St Albans. He is drumming up cash through specialist crowdfunding publisher Unbound, where those interested can go online and pledge towards the £6,000 target.

Alex said: “Attracting the hundreds of supporters needed to make sufficient online pledges to get the work into print means spreading details of the project far and wide, harnessing the international power of Twitter and Facebook, email and blogs, online communities everywhere.

Literary Trumps by Alex Johnson

Literary Trumps by Alex Johnson - Credit: Archant


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“I’m always grateful to everybody who forks out their hard-earned money to buy one of my books but every time a new pledge for my game comes in, it feels like an old-fashioned personal connection has been made.”

There will be 30 cards featuring 15 female and 15 male international authors.

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The player who starts picks one of the four categories from his top card (Quotability, Literary Prizes, Major Works and Speed), reads it out and the others read out the values on their top cards. The winner scoops the lot, chooses the next category and the game continues until one person wins.

Alex hopes bookish people will support his project, helping to bring some of the world’s best writers to life through a fun card game which will educate across the generations.

Literary Trumps by Alex Johnson

Literary Trumps by Alex Johnson - Credit: Archant

The cards feature meaningful quotes, such as Virginia Woolf’s “Literature is strewn with the wreckage of men who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others” (A Room of One’s Own).

Another classic is Leo Tolstoy’s line from Anna Karenina: “All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way”.

Unbound selects books, or related products, it feels deserve to come to fruition and encourages individuals to pledge. They have funded 140 books, including The Wake which was long-listed for a Man Booker Prize and Letters of Note – which sold 100,000 copies in the UK and raised £2m in pledge revenue.

So far, 20 per cent of the amount required to fulfill the Literary Trumps project has been reached with 450 more pledges still needed.

Alex Johnson

Alex Johnson - Credit: Archant

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