‘This show made me laugh and cry. I felt as if I was at an AA meeting with some of the all-time great storytellers.’ Audience Member


‘I was captivated and moved beyond anything I can remember.’ Audience Member

A chorus of writers, including Stephen King, Jean Rhys, and David Foster Wallace join Leslie Jamison to ask whether genius can be found in the bottom of a glass. Whiskey & Ink is based on Leslie Jamison’s personal and profound book The Recovering, taking us inside the experience of alcoholism, exposing the contours and edges of an intoxicated life.

Whiskey & Ink is an AA meeting for those who have never been to one, where famous writers share their experience, strength, and hope for recovery.

Whiskey & Ink pulls no punches. The voices of authors sharing their frank, often shocking experiences of addiction, and their tricky but hopeful relationship with recovery, are tied together by ‘Leslie’, who shares her own story with us, the audience, in the set-up of an AA meeting. The format is sensitively rendered; we are part of the story, welcomed in. It is a heart-stopping tour de force. Go see it. And then, read the book.

Aki Schilz, Director, The Literary Consutancy

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Show Details

Run-time: 60 minutes
Venue requirements: 1 handsfree microphone, video projection facilities (laptop provided).
Capacity: this show suits all venue sizes.
Booking: Contact Sam Ruddock, storymachineproductions@gmail.com to discuss booking this show.

Please note, Leslie Jamison does not appear in person at this show. She is performed by actor, Jessica Pidsley.

The Book

A show of The Recovering: Intoxication and its Aftermath by Leslie Jamison (Granta; 2018)

Addiction is seemingly inexplicable. From the outside, it can look like willful, arrogant, self-destruction; from the inside it can feel as inevitable and insistent as a heartbeat. It is possible to describe, but hard to explore. Yet in The Recovering, Leslie Jamison draws on her own struggles with alcoholism and the lives of addicts of extraordinary talent – John Cheever, John Berryman, Jean Rhys and Amy Winehouse among them – to take us inside the experience of addiction, and its relationship to race, gender, poverty, privilege, The War on Drugs, the history of AA, creativity, and much more.

Part memoir, part group biography, part literary history and part definitive analysis of cultural and social considerations of addiction, The Recovering is a significant moment in the history of post-war narrative non-fiction.


The Recovering gets it right and then some. It should be read by everyone.’ John Burnside in The Literary Review

‘Movingly unique.’ The Economist

‘Takes that centuries-old plotline — getting hooked, getting wrecked, getting back — and gives it a new spin.’ The Financial Times

‘Spectacularly evocative and sensuous.’ The Atlantic

‘A remarkable feat of addiction memoirs.’ Time Magazine

Perfect for Fans Of/Further Reading

Recovery by Russell Brand
Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
The Empathy Exams
by Leslie Jamison
The Trip to Echo Falls by Olivia Laing
The Outrun by Amy Liptrot
Alcoholics Anonymous

Learn More

The Twelve Steps of Whiskey & Ink