Image above by Audrey Niffenegger
Back in 2001, writer Charlie Jane Anders set out to create a new kind of reading that jettisoned the idea of a hushed audience hanging reverentially on each carefully-crafted word, replacing it with a lively cabaret night drawing writers from a smorgasbord of genres poetry to sci-fi to comedy to kids books. On a recent evening, heavyweight storyteller Tobias Wolff mixed it up with slam poet Taylor Mali, New York Times bestselling novelist Lev Grossman and NPR contributor Andrew Lam. Since San Francisco doesn't slack when it comes to local and national celeb authors, Writers with Drinks often sparkles with names like Lemony Snicket, Armistead Maupin, Andrew Sean Greer, Ayelet Waldman, Vendela Vida and Michelle Tea. So stop in, listen to some fierce words, and chase it with stiff drink. --
The result is a blend of high- and lowbrow humor, literature and culture that accomplishes what Anything That Moves and Other Magazine once did: defy categories, bring together communities and expose people to new modes of expression. Much of the series' success results from the well-connected Anders' ability to mix literary luminaries and newly discovered talents... Not to be overlooked are Anders' innovative author introductions, which stitch together current events and self-commentary. -- San Francisco Chronicle, Feb. 11, 2010
WRITERS IN DRAG Cross-drafting is the new cross-dressing as local literary talents show off works they've written outside of their normal genres. -- Spin Magazine, January 2007
BEST LITERARY DRINKING. Charlie Anders' "Writers With Drinks" continues on, five years strong. What's her secret? Variety! ... You're bound to stay interested if you find yourself listening to revered children's author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) one moment and local comedian W. Kamau Bell the next. Throw in a few cartoonists, sex workers, radio hosts and big-shot authors like Andrew Sean Greer, Vendela Vida and Michelle Tea -- as well as the hostess ... and you've got a seriously (and not so seriously) good time. -- SF Weekly, Best of San Francisco 2006
What happens when you throw two science fiction writers, a sketch comedy troupe, a poet, a memoirist, and a "fetish diva" in a room together and ply them with booze? Even host, founder, and Choir Boy author Charlie Anders can't say for sure, but her monthly events half salon, half reading are never boring. -- SF Flavorpill, issue 188
BEST LITERARY NIGHT. Writers with drinks are writers ready to meet the world, and when our readers have a hankering to see these often spectacular mismatches, they turn (yes!) to Writers With Drinks -- a kind of roving public salon and reading series -- to put drinks in writers' hands and thrust them onstage to bring their works to life. For those who equate literary with stuffy, WWD will come as a plesantly relaxed surprise. -- San Francisco Bay Guardian, Best of the Bay, Readers Poll 2005
Literary ringmaster Charlie Anders insists her series of tavern-based readings is set up so that "no one's competing," but she herself is used to being up against stiff competition. "There's a guy doing a striptease on a unicycle, a guy wrestling a fish and Armistead Maupin doing a reading," she says incredulously of the options on any given Saturday night in SF. "Your [event] has to be better than fish wrestling." It's a tough standard to live up to, but over the last four years Writers With Drinks: Spoken Word Varity Show has become the event that everybody's talking about — and talking at, for that matter. Snagging appearances by big- and small-name poets, comedians and authors, Anders also strives to keep the audience diverse... According to Anders: "You can get drunk, take someone home and wake up unable to remember who you slept with — but you'll remember the readings. That's my goal." -- 7x7 Magazine, April 2005
OK, so a stand-up comic, a literary agent, a hostage negotiator, a sex worker and a KALW radio current-affairs personality walk into a bar .... No, this isn't an off-color joke, it's Writers with Drinks, the spoken-word variety show that mixes genres, styles and cocktails, back again with a more-eclectic-than-usual concoction. Hosted by the incisive and very connected writer Charlie Anders, the monthly series celebrates writers from every corner of the literary world, as well as pundits and comedians and a few other sundry performers and intellectuals. --'s Epicks, Jan. 7, 2005
Variety is more that just the name of Prince's favorite girl-singer sidekick. It's more than just having sex dressed as Alien Greenspan every once in a while. It's also a Literary Imperative! Which is why Writers With Drinks combines erotica with literature, stand-up comedy with science fiction and poetry with essays. Plus mystery, romance, memoir, rants and "other."
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All proceeds benefit local non-profits. Charlie Jane Anders MCs and vamps.

Upcoming events:

Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013:
    Jim Munroe (Therefore Repent, Ghosts With Shit Jobs)
    Zubair Ahmed (City of Rivers)
    Virgie Tovar (Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love, and Fashion)
    Kit Yan (Asians Aloud)
    Joshua Mohr (Fight Song, Damascus)
    Sean Keane (The Business)

    Cost: $5 to $10, no-one turned away
    All proceeds benefit the CSC.
    At The Make-Out Room 3225 22nd. St., San Francisco CA, from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, doors open at 7 PM.
Saturday, March 9, 2013:
    Alexis Madrigal (The Atlantic, Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology)
    Jai Arun Ravine (and then entwine, Is This January)
    Phil Lapsley (Exploding the Phone)
    Clarisse Thorn (Confessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser)

    Cost: $5 to $10, no-one turned away
    All proceeds benefit the Transgender Law Center and CSC.
    At The Make-Out Room 3225 22nd. St., San Francisco CA, from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM, doors open at 7 PM.

Past Events

For more information, contact Charlie Anders