“American Gods” author Neil Gaiman will give a live reading of the complete Cheesecake Factory menu — if fans raise $500,000 for the United Nations Refugee Agency.
The fundraiser is the brainchild of writer and comedian Sara Benincasa, who approached Gaiman with the request on Twitter May 19.
Gaiman, an outspoken advocate for Syrian Refugees, agreed to the challenge that day. Benincasa later told Eater she was inspired to make the request after watching an episode of Starz’ ongoing adaptation of “American Gods,” followed by a trip to the chain restaurant.
“If we hit $500K, Neil has kindly agreed to do a live reading of the greatest restaurant menu of all time,” Benincasa says on the fundraiser’s Crowdrise page. “It’s about 8000 pages, last time I checked. Have you heard Neil’s voice? Mellifluous, I tell you. There’s a reason he won an award for audiobooks along with all the 18,000 other things he’s won as an author/screenwriter/producer/raconteur/hero.”
The fundraiser aims to reach its goal by June 20, World Refugee Day.
The exact setting for the reading hasn’t been established yet, though Gaiman has teased that he’ll create an audiobook version of the performance if online retailer Audible makes “a healthy donation.”
Gaiman later upped the ante, vowing that if the effort raises one million dollars, he’ll also perform a reading of Dr. Seuss.
So far, $68,912 has been raised, approximately 14 percent of the final goal.
Along with “American Gods,” Gaiman wrote the acclaimed DC Comics series “The Sandman,” the novel “Stardust,” adapted into a 2007 film directed by Matthew Vaughn, and the novel “Coraline,” adapted as an animated film in 2009. He has also written screenplays including “Beowulf,” and the English adaptation of “Princess Mononoke.”