Welcome to gotham girl - a creative community by bestselling author and founder of The Empress, Alisa Kennedy Jones. Join over 40,000+ inquisitive readers from all over the world and a thriving community of thousands of paying members.

gotham girl began in 2014 as a simple exercise—as a love letter to the city that made me. But over the past few years, it has evolved, and I’ve realized that I’m trying to make something very specific here, and it’s a creative space and community rather than a series of dispatches. A space to stretch the bounds of comedy and the essay as a form. Sometimes I stretch them too far, which is why pieces go through loads of live edits. I’ve also been long obsessed with a notion popularized by George Saunders that for any story to really work, “the heart must be in conflict with itself.” It’s a Faulknerian chestnut, but I believe it is also especially true for all great situational comedy. The heart must be wrestling with itself no matter how absurd or sideways the circumstances become. 

Case in point. This incredible George Saunders story, read by Gabe Hudson for his badass podcast Kurt Vonnegut Radio. I sent it around the other day… but ICYMI.

So, how do we make a community space for more enchanting work, where at the core of the comedy, be it feminist or only-in-New-York-situations, the heart is in conflict with itself and more poignantly funny? That’s now the question and the mission.

Why subscribe?

When you subscribe, you’ll get gotham girl’s free newsletter each week, including posts about the upcoming podcast appearances with extra resources to enrich your listening. This is the best place to find our latest news, events, podcasts, book launches, and other projects. You’ll also be able to follow gotham girl on Substack Notes. If you’d like more, consider joining the gotham girl community as a paid subscriber. You’ll gain access to:

  • Weekly columns

  • Exclusive subscriber-only bonus pieces, and new writing on creativity, comedy, and earning a living on your own terms

  • Access to the full archive, now being compiled (200+ posts)Thursday threads/community catch-up 

  • Creative Hangouts: Live, bi-monthly recorded online conversations with extraordinary change-makers and creators and an opportunity to ask questions.

  • Amazing guest columns

  • Signed book giveaways

A year’s subscription is $70, which works out to $1.35 a week. There is also a Salon tier for people who want to work more closely with me, which includes a virtual retreat and a signed book. But regardless of what sort of subscriber you become, you’ll get a vibrant stream of content and my deepest appreciation.

Live footage of me deeply appreciating you!

Why this stack?

I’ve actually been “newsletter-ing” since 2014. Now, I’m loving it more than ever. Social media used to be an exciting, joyful online space. Unfortunately, it is no longer so much that way for me. Twitter gets very dramatic, Instagram seems to be interested only in selling me anti-aging cream for my boobs, and LinkedIn seems to be mostly about people in suits wanting to pitch me weird data services. I missed writing on the small internet. I missed the comments section on blogs. I missed the connection that can come from your own little patch of the Web. Along came Substack, and this newsletter is such fun to write—except when I overshare, and people are like c’mon already. 

Can I pitch an article for gotham girl?

Totally! Send your idea, title, and a short paragraph about the piece to iamgothamgirl@gmail.com. We only accept pitches on the topics of situational comedy, city life, feminism, and struggles with creativity since these are the main themes of gotham girl. You do not need a large social media platform (just mentioning, as some people ask). I’m sorry, but we cannot reply to everyone as the team is so small (it’s me, plus occasional help). So, if you don’t hear back in two weeks, please feel free to pitch it elsewhere!

Just who are you, again?

I’m Alisa Kennedy Jones. I live in San Francisco right now while I am researching a book on AI and climate change. I am a writer, brand consultant, and an errant mom. I like buying old books. I love hosting dinner parties. I’m a young-ish GenXer. I like wearing white even though the semiotics of battle designate it as the color of surrender, which I do not often do. I like coffee, the films of Nora Ephron, Nancy Meyers, and 70s neo-noir cinema, long walks, novels with midlife heroines, working for myself, reading in bed, buying spendy stationery, Thomas Merton, Marie de France, rowing, vintage shops, organizing my books, city breaks with my girlfriends, therapy baking (mostly pies), looking after other people’s animals (a needy chicken who recently survived a bear attack has stolen my heart) and inviting friends over. Truthfully, I love my life. I’m a Sagittarius, but I’m refiling with the Universe to become a Libra owing to the fact that December birthdays blow, and I’d prefer a more balanced cosmic profile.

I am a bestselling author; I have written on everything from neurodiversity to personal finance, to domestic thrillers, to developing multiple film & TV projects, to making writing my full-time job while helming The Empress—a newsletter and community that explores what it means to be a woman aging in the world while obsessively curating a less hellish peri/menopause... Because who says midlife can’t be the start of your best life? 

In my forties, I also wrote a bestselling memoir called GOTHAM GIRL, INTERRUPTED all about navigating life with a severe seizure disorder as a single mom, after a big one left me unable to speak, and relearning to talk all over again. Hardly anyone read it when it first came out, but the Universe, being on my side, funnily enough, still sent me on a bare-bones book tour where I landed on this live in-studio podcast with other comedians and experienced a kookadoo Mrs. Maisel moment during which I realized that I too could be... in my own self-deprecating but snarky way super funny... and that was some serious joy for me. So, I decided to keep going, and that’s how I ended up here with the book getting adapted as a streaming series and working on a heap of other projects.

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gotham girl is a reader-supported newsletter for inquisitive readers from bestselling author Alisa Kennedy Jones. "One of America’s funniest, most singular voices on Substack" — The New York Times


Empress-at-large. TV writer/author of GOTHAM GIRL INTERRUPTED & ELLERY ALLBRIGHT GOES DARK(2024). Neurodiversity+epilepsy activism.