10 Writers Who Wrote Famous Works While Wasted

What’s so bad about being drunk? Ask a glass of water.

Wikimedia Commons

Famously a heroic drinker - he did most things heroically - Ernest Hemingway is also famous for having coined the truism “write drunk, revise sober”, a four word mantra which would seem to act as a handbook for the functioning alcoholic as working writer.

The thing is, Hemingway never actually said it. It’s a quote traced back to Peter De Vries’ 1964 novel Reuben, Reuben - and it’s only part of the original line:

“And sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline.”

What does that mean? Well, everything in moderation: exactly the opposite of the way in which the maxim is usually applied. Not only that but, according to his family, Hemingway himself never wrote under the influence, working in the mornings every day and only drinking himself into a hole in the ground after lunch.

However, there are a metric f*ckton of famous writers who have done so: writers who’ve penned some of the most powerful works of literature ever created, writers who wrote, write and will yet write again while utterly spangled on intoxicants of all shapes, sizes and textures.

Avoiding the usual suspects (your Burroughs and Bukowskis, your Fitzgeralds, Thompsons and Kerouacs), here are ten legendary authors who brought forth their finest work, like Athena from the brow of Zeus... while hepped up on goofballs and pixie juice.

In this post: 
Posted On: 

Professional writer, punk werewolf and nesting place for starfish. Obsessed with squid, spirals and story. I publish short weird fiction online at, and tweet nonsense under the name Jack The Bodiless. You can follow me all you like, just don't touch my stuff.