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Words After Dark brings the East Village bar back room variety show into your hands and home. The anthology features poetry, essays, stories, comedy and song lyrics once performed on a makeshift stage in a dark candle lit room during Lyrics, Lit & Liquor’s now eight-year-run (which has included over 600 performances!). This diverse anthology mirrors the eclectic nature of the series: at any given LLL event you may experience an old lady character stripping down to her leopard print drawers, satirical political country songs, an operatic magician, confessional poetry, quirky fiction, gripping memoir, and audience members shouting bizarre noises to answer a trivia question for a candy bar.

Organized into sections that pair beverages with writing and trivia (answers in the back—no peeking!), Words After Dark recreates the Lyrics, Lit & Liquor experience on the page. Sip a Dirty Martini while snickering at the lyrics to “A Sweet Fucking Word” by award-winning comedian and musician, Jessica Delfino. Indulge in a Bloody Mary while absorbing the gut-punching novel excerpt from critically-acclaimed author Scott Alexander Hess’ The Root of Everything. Toss back a tequila shot while taking in the heart-stomping prose poem “My Past and Future in Present Tense” by PEN America Prison Writing award winner Sean Dunne (whose work was shared via audio recording as part of PEN America’s Break Out Series). Drinks are hand drawn by New York graffiti artist Matthew Litwack.

The title Words After Dark speaks to our current moment. Venues may be dark, but artists are still here, and the world needs art and connection more than ever. Art has helped people through periods of darkness throughout time. One population that lives in a state of perpetual darkness is the prison population, and these incarcerated individuals have borne much of the brunt of this pandemic. 20% of the book’s proceeds will go to The Justice Arts Coalition, a national network and resource for those creating art in and around the Criminal Justice System, helping imprisoned people attain liberation through art.

Words After Dark is a great gift for aspiring literary writers, songwriters and comedians hankering for unbound, uncensored creative inspiration. It’s essential for anyone with an interest in NYC’s independent arts scene and for all who believe in the power of words to lift us up.

Featuring Sheila-Joon Azim, Mac Barrett, Brian Birnbaum, Adam Blotner, Emily Brout, Britt Canty, Jessica Delfino, Sean Dunne, Amy Dupcak, Rachel Evans, Juliet Fletcher, Jordana Frankel, Christie Grotheim, Jared Harel, Scott Hess, Helen Howard, Nancy Hightower, Meher Manda, Valdaniel Martins, Amanda Miller, Noam Osband, Zachary Parkman, Kyle Pritz, Joel Remland, Waylan Roche, Megan Sass, Christopher X. Shade, Shawn Shafner, Melissa Shaw, Simi Toledano, and Jenny Williamson.

Edited by Amanda Erin Miller, the series’ founder, and Amy Dupcak, the series’ trivia writer, who met in the MFA Writing Program at The New School. Miller and Dupcak invite you to raise your glass, silence your phone and enjoy.

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