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Best reading series in New York City

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

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


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.

Until Fri Apr 24

Eat, Drink & Be Literary


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.

Until Tue Jan 27

Franklin Park Reading Series


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. 

Until Mon Jan 12

Women of Letters


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."

Until Wed Jan 4

The Atlas Review Reading Series


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.

06 Feb 2015

The Poetry Brothel


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.

Until Sun May 8

Couplet: A Poetry and Music Series


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.

Until Fri Apr 24


Gail A
Gail A

There's also Boundless Tales and Oh! Bernice in Queens. Brooklyn and Manhattan gets all the credit for their literary scenes, but I find that Queens has an authenticity and rawness to its talent you don't find in the former boroughs. Not that there's a competition of course ;-)