After starting Ace Hotel’s AIR program in 2014, I thought to do one specifically for authors. Just as I was mapping some ideas out, I got introduced to Alexander Chee who, fresh off a residency with a train company, was having similar ideas. We got together and laid out the framework for Dear Reader, a program that would come to last for at least 4 years and host some truly great talents. Kelly from Ace described it to Fast Company this way:
“Each month this year, a writer will spend a night at Ace Hotel exploring its edges and insides,” explains Kelly Sawdon, partner and chief brand officer of Ace Hotel. “During their stay, they’ll craft an open letter to an imagined audience of hotel guests. On a surprise date the following month, the letters will be laid bedside in each room–hand-stamped and numbered.” … a cross between a Dear John letter and a limited edition object that 300 lucky guests will receive each month.”
Letters existed in-print only and, only in the hotel rooms.
There was also an annual Dear Reader, Live event where authors (or special guests) read their letters and other works in person. These were always packed houses and I believe Ace has audio recordings of most - maybe we’ll hear someday.
Since I’ve left Ace I can’t vouch for how accurate or up to date this link is, but there were a bunch of short 5-questions style interviews with program authors up on the blog in partnership with Tin House.
Year One: Alexander Chee
Year Two: Alexander Chee
Year Three: Tin House Magazine
Year Four: Tin House Magazine
I am pretty sure this list is accurate: Atticus Lish, Saeed Jones, Chelsea Hodson, Dale Peck, Sigrid Nunez, Lucas Mann, Kiese Laymon, Catherine Chung, Chinelo Okparanta, DarkMatter, Daniel José Older, Elif Batuman, , Morgan Parker, Alexander Chee, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Tommy Pico, Wo Chan, Natalie Diaz, Alice Sola Kim, Ioannis Pappos, Jami Attenberg, Tyehimba Jess, Tracy O'Neill, Porochista Khakpour, , Garnette Cadogan, Jenny Zhang, Claire Fuller, Jia Tolentino, Christopher Soto, Claire Vaye Watkins, Alexandra Kleeman, Leslie Jamison, MIA ALVAR, CARMEN MACHADO, Danez Smith, Kaveh Akbar, Morgan Jerkins, Joshua Jelly-Shapiro, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Naomi Jackson, Rosalie Knecht, Michelle Tea, Ocean Vuong, Tayari Jones, Jamel Brinkley, Fatimah Asghar, Michael Arceneaux, Hieu Minh Nguyen.