Literary Lushes: Our 10 Favorite Book (and Play)-Writing Boozers

Tom Palumbo
Jack Kerouac, on the road somewhere ...

For many authors over the years, alcohol has been nearly as important a writing tool as pen, paper, poverty, and loneliness. Some have speculated that hard drinking and prolific writing might have similar genetic roots. Another theory is that the sauce, inhibition eliminator extraordinaire, might just make the very exhibitionist writing process easier, Time reports. Whatever the case, Fork in the Road has decided to canvass the canon for this week's Our 10 Favorite Book (and Play)-Writing Boozers. In no particular order ...

Carl Van Vechten
Carson McCullers, with a lonely huntress heart<../td>

10. Carson McCullers, a Southern Gothic wunderkind, came up with her own writing elixir, the "sonnie boy" -- which was a mix of hot tea and sherry, according to NPR. Apparently, the Heart Is a Lonely Hunter author would crack open a beer after breakfast, sip sonnie boys throughout the day, and then conclude with evening cocktails. She also had a penchant for Long Island Iced Tea.

9. Charles Bukowski, poet and novelist, had such a rep for bingeing that the biopic about his liquor-soaked life was called Barfly. Though his not-so-thinly-veiled, autobiographic works might have contained their fair share of embellishments, his love of drink is not greatly disputed. Of imbibing, he famously says in Ham on Rye: "There was nothing really as glorious as a good beer shit -- I mean after drinking twenty or twenty-five beers the night before. The odor of a beer shit like that spread all around and stayed for a good hour-and-a-half. It made you realize that you were really alive."

8. "You're a rummy, but no more than most good writers are," Ernest Hemingway is said to have told F. Scott Fitzgerald, Time notes. Indeed, the Great Gatsby author would spend much of his career introducing himself as "F. Scott Fitzgerald, the well-known alcoholic." Also well-known was Fitzgerald's love of Gin Rickeys, NPR notes.

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Long Island Iced Tea wasn't even developed as a drink until the 1970s, and Carson McCullers died in 1967. Nowhere in all of the McCullers material, with which I'm very familiar, is Long Island Iced Tea ever mentioned.


Where's Malcolm Lowry? His "Under the Volcano" is the autobiographical champion of descent into alcoholism.


from a layman, good research.  there must be much that expands the mind.alcohol seems to (in my case) be a warm blanket that eventually covers youfor the night depending on the number of 6 packs.  I don't know if i am more eloquent after my imbibing, but i am usually animated and talkative.I can write some of my most wild emails to friends, and the next day I say, "shit,did I really write that'?.  So, there you go, I probably could have written For Whomthe Bell Tolls before he did.  If I lived way back then.  Enough.

Billy Budd
Billy Budd

The cap that made Tennessee Williams choke belonged to a bottle of nasal spray.