Last night’s reading by Charlie Jane Anders


Every year, the Clarion West writing workshop hosts six readings, one per week for the duration of the workshop. I attend as many as I can manage. My mom is in town, so I asked her to come along. In the car, she asked the entirely reasonable question, “Who’s reading?”

The week was especially busy so I hadn’t actually checked. I only knew that I’ve liked every single Clarion West reading I’ve gone to. So I shrugged and said, “I don’t know!”

I hit the bathroom on my way in, and was really surprised to see a woman in a TARDIS dress. Clearly, this was someone who was at least as much of a Doctor Who fan as me. I gasped or made some kind of squee noise — I don’t remember which — and she looked really taken aback, and I realized I had just been terribly gauche, so I said, “I love your TARDIS!!!”

And she said, “Oh, thanks. Are you coming to the reading?” Which of course I was. I had a sneaking suspicion she was the person reading . . . which of course she was.

She was pretty amazing. Her story was hilarious, a post-apocalyptic comedy with a theater critic as the “genie in the bottle” ready to grant three wishes. But her delivery was fantastic as well. And she radiated curiosity and energy. I think I know what the term “reader crush” means now.

Per the flow chart on her website ( I see that she does podcasts, which means that I really and truly need to figure out how to make podcasts work on my Ipod. (Been listening to them on my Kindle, which is just . . . ridiculous.)

I’ll also have to keep my eye out for the publication of her story. She read the first half, leaving the fate of the postapocalyptic world in the hands of a failed screenwriter. Talk about cliffhangers!

– Kristin

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