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Women Of Letters
Photograph: Courtesy Kat Burdick

The seven coolest reading series in NYC

Think reading series are a snooze? Think again. These lively nights boast today’s hottest writers—and good times, to boot.

Written by
Michele Filgate
Matthew Love

Get lit, people! Almost every evening, our fair city brings NYC authors—both bigwigs and up-and-comers—to a variety of stages from bars in NYC to some of the city's best bookstores. New to the scene? Here are the ones to check out.

Head to these NYC reading series

  • Bars
  • Dive bars
  • East Village

In 2014, Lena Valencia and Ryan Britt teamed up to concoct this night with a twist: While the writers who read have yet to publish their own titles, they are chosen by established authors like, to name two recent curators, Kelly Link and Tiphanie Yanique. (Helping out the newbies. Awww.) Bonus: The cozy back room of the East Village dive provides the best sort of environment for a postreading schmooze. First Wednesday of the month at 8pm; free.

  • Bars
  • Beer bars
  • Long Island City

Next month marks the first anniversary of this big-name-boasting readathon in Queens, founded by artist, writer and musician Catherine LaSota. And the birthday bash on April 12 welcomes Alexander Chee, Jonathan Lee and Natalie S. Harnett to the carriage house of the comfy bar. Second Tuesday of the month at 8pm; free.

  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Crown Heights

Expect up-and-comers—many of whom creator Penina Roth hasn’t been able to squeeze into her popular Franklin Park rendition—at this two-month-old series at a coffeeshop, where you can enjoy cortados while listening to stories from young guns like Alexandra Kleeman. Last Tuesday of the month at 7:30pm; free.

  • Shopping
  • Bookstores
  • Nolita

Tired of bland recitations? Writers, critics and performers of all stripes gather under one roof here to tackle unpredictable subjects or challenges put upon them by the show’s organizers. Recent editions found Heidi Julavits and Sadie Stein talking workplace crushes and Vivian Gornick performing Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale with Jeanette Winterson. Often, there’s wine and music to boot. Thursday at 8pm; free.

Pete's Candy Store
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Williamsburg

For more than 15 years, the Williamsburg watering hole has hosted emerging writers and best-selling authors on the same stage. Look forward to upcoming visits by the likes of National Book Award finalist Angela Flournoy, Tin House editor and memoirist Rob Spillman and poet Robin Beth Schaer. Every other Thursday at 7:30pm, next show March 24; free.

Red Ink at BookCourt
  • Shopping
  • Bookstores
  • Boerum Hill

The inaugural edition of this female-focused roving quarterly reads like a who’s who of recent breakthrough writers. On May 9, Leslie Jamison, Valeria Luiselli and Molly Crabapple, among others, set up shop at BookCourt to discuss the very New York subject, “Finding solitude in a noisy world.” May 9, September 22 at 7pm; free.

  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Noho

Australian duo Michaela McGuire and Marieke Hardy first exported their monthly literary salon to NYC in 2014. Since then, the candor displayed by everyone from Edie Falco to Jean Grae has made it a hit. In it, female writers and entertainers craft letters to abstract subjects such as “The night I’d rather forget or “The time I just knew,” resulting in alternately touching, funny moments. Next show April 6 at 7pm; $20 plus $15 minimum.

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