10869798_10152796173054058_1767179570989580661_oAt first glance, PEN America’s Lit Crawl 2015 might look like a family-friendly affair, with innocuous activities like face painting and board games. But take a closer look and it’s got a bit of edge, and not just because of the booziness. This year’s Lit Crawl, on October 21, promises to be a hammed up, carnival-esque affair. Hosted by graphic storyteller Mira Jacob and BuzzFeed Books editor Isaac Fitzgerald (a former “biker-bar employee”, according to the New York Times), how could it not be?

The word “crawl” might be a bit misleading; unlike previous years, when it was spread across various watering holes, this installment is only in one place. But hey, the Housing Works Bookstore, with its high pressed-tin ceilings and laddered shelves, is arguably one of the most romantic bookstores in Manhattan. (Of course, it’s also a worthy cause: Housing Works is a community of those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, and works towards ending the dual crisis of homelessness and AIDS through relentess advocacy.)

They have promised free booze, which makes this year’s highlights (Literary Pictionary, Nerd Jeopardy, Trivia Bingo) even more appealing. There will also be a raffle for tickets to the Genre Ball, hosted by Electric Literature and taking place on October 23. Costume ideas for that include “adorable pickpocket,” “grizzled cop who’s seen it all” and “product of an unfortunate lab incident.” Fun.

Lit Crawl NYC, October 21 from 7pm to 10pm at Housing Works Bookstore and Café, 126 Crosby Street, Soho.