Collective alchemy… some ingenious formula… Maybe what matters most about Quiet Lightning is this paradox: that the anonymous nature of its form ultimately facilitates community… Even the name, “Quiet Lightning,” was [an] attempt to describe the moment between a reader finishing up and applause erupting from the crowd, in much the same way that mystical texts refer to the pause between inhaling and exhaling—an untraceable silence standing outside of time, lolling around at the source of creation… Five years after the first show, it is difficult to attend any reading without running into writers who have been impacted by Quiet Lightning.

— Peter Bullen for Los Angeles Review of Books

“Quiet Lightning’s monthly readings are unlike any other in the Bay Area.”


“Undoubtedly the city’s flagship literary event… Features the best known and unknown writers seeking admission to a burgeoning community that Quiet Lightning has created, and is.”

Jonathan HirschAsterisk Magazine

“Quiet Lightning is not merely a reading series or a small press, but is in fact the collected objectives of the readers and writers it serves. In creating a way to participate in the community that motivated him, Evan Karp has built an innovative literary amalgamation.”

— Sarah Jean Grimm, Boog City

“Amid West Marin redwoods, ‘literary mixtape’ evokes a famed beat poet”

Paul Liberatore, Marin Independent Journal

Last night I walked around with a friend to various bars. We stopped in a leather bar we both used to hang out in but don’t go to anymore. Passing an art gallery we saw a Quiet Lightning reading going on. This is one of my favorite reading series. Every month they publish all the readers in a journal. The reading moves fast, the host says who the readers are at the beginning and then they go up, one after another.


After the reading we were all at this outdoor bar and everyone was brimming with ideas. Walking there, arm in arm with my friend’s girlfriend, she said, This is why I moved to San Francisco. The night was good but it was more about youth. One of the guys at the reading said he had to be up at five to teach in the detention center. It wasn’t about age. I thought, We had been old earlier, at the leather bar, and now we were young again. It was as easy as that.

— Stephen Elliott, The Daily Rumpus

“Perhaps the perfect gateway reading series for someone who wants to experience all the flavors (from acidic to zinc) of the SF literary scene.”

— Benjamin Wachs, SF Weekly

“A reading we’ll never forget.”

Keith BowersSF Weekly

“Quiet Lightning is a great reading series, and what’s great about it is is that you don’t necessarily hear the big New York Times bestselling authors who went sailing through just for a day on tour, but these are often younger writers, experimental writers—people on the edge who really get a forum and have a huge following.”

— David Wiegand, SF Chronicle/KQED The Do List

One of San Francisco’s Favorite 49 Charities

– 7×7 Magazine

Some of the best local proseurs and poets, both known and unknown, gather together for Quiet Lightning‘s literary mixtapes — that is, a series of readings, be they poetry, prose, blog comments, dream journal entries, rants, or Yelp reviews, uninterrupted by banter or introduction. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be gifted with the written or spoken word, attending one of these readings must be on your San Francisco bucket list, like going to a pop-up ramen place or seeing an old college friend bluegrass-busking near a BART station.

— Emilie Mutert, SF Weekly

A kind of town hall of the Bay Area literary scene.

Neha Talreja, SF Weekly

We’ve also appeared: in the New York Timesthe San Francisco ChronicleThe RumpusSFistSan Francisco MagazineFunCheapSF (again here), KQEDSFist, 7x7 (again here), Scout Mob, and SF Weekly (more, in no order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9).