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39. How Anne Kadet forged a new kind of journalism to write about New York City

39. How Anne Kadet forged a new kind of journalism to write about New York City

I talk to the writer Anne Kadet about her beloved newsletter "Cafe Anne" and how she uncovers fascinating stories that reveal our humanity and accurately reflect our reality but are oft overlooked
Anne Kadet, whose Cafe Anne is raising the newsletter genre to new heights

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Welcome to episode #39 of Kurt Vonnegut Radio

Today on the show we’ve got the amazing writer


Anne Kadet writes the beloved newsletter


To me, what makes Anne’s newsletter Cafe Anne so remarkable is that she writes about New York City in a completely new way: it is delightful, heart-expanding, full of humanity and wit, and at times laugh out loud funny. And nobody else is doing anything like it.

Why you want to listen to this episode: The way Anne lives in alignment with the dynamic force of narrative in NYC and the way she is attuned to intersecting stories all around her is something you really need to hear in her own words in order to fully understand and appreciate. It is profound and fun and eye-opening.

(Side note: in addition to being a fabulous writer, Anne has one of the best laughs I’ve encountered. And I don’t think these two qualities are unrelated.)

So in this episode you’re about to hear (or are listening to already) Anne reads her now iconic recent Issue #89 of her newsletter, “My Most Bonkers Story!” This is a cool weird surprising origami-shaped story about an elaborate prank (or piece of reality theater) and a mythic New York steakhouse that doesn’t exist but is as real as it gets for some people.

The header image for Cafe Anne issue that contains the beautiful and mind-boggling story you are about hear Anne read in this episode of Kurt Vonnegut Radio

And the NYC steakhouse at the center of this story was brought into reality in part due to Anne’s newsletter, thus the origami construction of the narrative that keeps folding in on itself (this is the same story that The New York Times then wrote about in a follow up piece to Anne’s original story, and NYT gave Anne full credit)

During this episode of KVR, as Anne reads her story, I ask her a bunch of questions and we go down several rabbit holes related to her storytelling maxims and her personal philosophies regarding her newsletter.

Quick question: Can you guess what fictional character Anne Kadet most strongly identifies with?


Some notable Anne Kadet quotes

On the role that her readers play in the stories she writes for her newsletter

A third of my ideas or even more come from readers. They’re like, “Anne, you gotta check this thing out!”

On the feeling she gets when she goes somewhere and feels the tremors of a story for her newsletter coming into being

Like you’re not supposed to be here, but you are supposed to be here.

On why she believes the best way to tell a story is the easiest way

So I feel like just straightforward chronological order. Talking about what happened and what it was like for me is not only the best way to deliver the story, it also happens to be the easiest way. And I love when the best thing and the easiest thing are the same thing.

On her storytelling maxim “don’t push, don’t pull”

I feel the great story is the story that wants to come out all by itself without me pushing or pulling it. If I'm pushing or pulling, that means I have something specific in mind.

On what she is delivering to readers of her newsletter,

I simply have a nice ability to deliver an unusual way of looking at the world, on unusual topics, in a professional way.

Anne Kadet recommends one of her favorite Substack newsletters

So my favorite newer Substack, although it's not that new, but it's pretty new for me. I've just been following it for like maybe three months is:


He's a photographer. And every week he'll go out to a different New York City neighborhood and write about it. He doesn't interview people. It's not an interactive kind of thing. There's a lot of history to each neighborhood and then he takes these photos that just make me laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.

His writing is also very low key, very clever, but not trying to be funny. And a lot of it's history. Funny little stories that are actually like good little stories, you know, about each neighborhood. And a few times after he's written about a neighborhood, I've never heard of it. I've gone out to that neighborhood and I had such a good time. So for me it's a really good like tip sheet.

It's not just like off the beaten path. It's like New York City, but on a different planet.

Anne Kadet’s fav newer-to-her Substack is Rob Stephenson’s The Neighborhoods

Leave a comment

For this episode, I just have one question for you: what’s a good name for the genre of writing that Anne Kadet is doing in her newsletter? (and why?)

Show Notes

Subscribe to @Anne Kadet’s newsletter

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Jen Taub

Maggie Smith

Michael Estrin

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