Best reading series in New York City

Here are a handful of some of the city's best options for a literary evening out

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Photo: Amanda Bullock

There’s nothing quite like hearing thought-provoking nonfiction, hilarious short stories or a few mind-blowing stanzas read aloud. So it’s a good thing New York is home to so many stellar reading series, where you can catch both up-and-coming New York authors and your best-selling favorites. Pro tip: Many of New Year’s readings offer free wine; drink up and listen up at these reading series.

Brooklyn Poets Reading Series

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The Brooklyn Poets folks don’t care if you know anything about poetry: They just want you to have a good time. This is one of the most energetic places to hear verse from talent like Matthea Harvey and Brooklyn poet laureate Tina Chang.

  1. Dumbo Sky 10 Jay St, at John St, No. 903, 11201
  2. Fri Feb 6
More info

Eat, Drink & Be Literary

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This series of literary dinners features a buffet (including wine and dessert) and a reading from a noteworthy writer, followed by a Q&A about the author's creative process. The 2015 season welcomes Dinaw Mengestu, Lydia Davis and more.

  1. BAMcafé 30 Lafayette Ave, between Ashland Pl and St. Felix St
  2. Tue Jan 27
More info

Franklin Park Reading Series

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This long-running series, hosted by Penina Roth, is the queen of the Brooklyn book event scene. Whether featuring major names (hello, Jennifer Egan!) or up-and-coming local authors, the lineup never disappoints. 

  1. Franklin Park 618 St. Johns Pl, between Classon and Franklin Aves
  2. Mon Jan 12
More info

Women of Letters

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The phenomenal Australian literary salon returns stateside, inviting notable women writers and performers to air their dirty laundry in the form of personal letters crafted just for the occasion, on themes like "a letter to my stumbling block."

  1. Joe's Pub at the Public Theater 425 Lafayette St, between Astor Pl and E 4th St
  2. Wed Jan 14
More info

The Atlas Review Reading Series

  • Critics choice
  • Free

We’re big fans of this young lit mag and its editor-in-chief, Natalie Eilbert. The Atlas Review eschews bookish cliques and champions untapped talent, ensuring each reading boasts a crop of fresh voices.

  1. 61 Local 61 Bergen St, between Boerum Pl and Smith St , 11201
  2. Fri Feb 6
More info

The Poetry Brothel

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

We’ve adored the Madame and her crew for years; they combine the steaminess of the city's best burlesque with the more highbrow world of poetry into a unique, only-in–New York show, where male and female “whores” provide private poetry readings.

  1. The Back Room 102 Norfolk St, between Delancey and Rivington Sts
  2. Sun Jan 25
More info

Liars’ League

  • Critics choice
  • Free

The New York offspring of this London reading series follows in the footsteps of its progenitor: Writers pen stories on a particular theme each month, and actors perform them. Best of all? The series is open to story submissions, perfect for aspiring scribes.

  1. KGB Bar 85 E 4th St , between Bowery and Second Ave, 10003
  2. Wed Feb 4
More info

Couplet: A Poetry and Music Series

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Every three months, poet Leah Umansky hosts an exuberant night of verse and music. There is often pizza. There is always dancing, with DJ Ceremony handling musical interludes between readings and during the after-party.

  1. The Delancey 168 Delancey St, at Clinton St
  2. Fri Jan 23
More info


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