as the tour comes to a close

today’s the last chance to submit to our november 13 show with the center for the art of translation. but you have through the 28th to enter the center’s portion of the show. then we come to the end of our yearlong tour through town: for our four year anniversary we’re going to rent chicken john’s bus and serve you all dinner as we cross the golden gate bridge into fairfax; that’s december 4th with pints and prose.

The Product is Nature Hersekf by Tiny Splendor
The Product is Nature Hersekf by Tiny Splendor

help us rent the bus and pay for dinner, please!

hey! check out these incredible photos from our last show, the great number 50, taken by ian tuttle at the san francisco conservatory of flowers. we’d like to thank litquake and lagunitas, our volunteers, our lucky stars. we’ve got our first book coming out in january; we’re partnering with tiny splendor! you have 7 days to enter! must be postmarked by halloween.

watch videos from our excellent last show here.

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center for the art of translation on november 13th

We are very pleased to announce the first piece of our show with the Center for the Art of Translation, Wednesday, November 13th at The Lab:

Considering They Lived, by Melissa Chandler, was selected by Katie Wheeler-Dubin, Lauren Traetto, and Evan Karp. Click on the title to read the piece in full, and click here to submit a response to be considered for the November 13th show. Below are more details:

  • You can respond to this piece in any way you’d like. Examples: translate it into another language; answer the questions in the piece; take the form and apply it to a new set of questions; imagine the lives of the people in the piece; etc. You can do this in poem form, in fiction, creative nonfiction, etc. You can tell us a story using a series of lists. Anything you can imagine, basically, you can do.
  • We’re accepting submissions through the end of Wednesday, October 23rd.
  • This thread of selections will be half of the show. The Center for the Art of Translation is accepting submissions separately — translations of the “pun-ridden, experimental story from Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s famously difficult-to-translate book Exorcismos de esti(l)o (Exorcisms of Style/Summer)”. Submissions to that half of the show are open here — deadline for that batch is Oct. 28.
  • Anyone who submits to the show and attends, regardless of whether their work is accepted, will receive a copy of the excellent Two Lines Press book Passageways.
  • The first 100 people to the show will also receive a free copy of sparkle + blink.
  • Oh, statistics: We received 27 submissions to this round, and accepted 1 (4%). This will be her first time reading at QL.

What are you waiting for? Go!

Trap that lightning!

neighborhood heroes @ the contemporary jewish museum

Thrilled to announce our next show: Thursday June 6 at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the latest installment of our Neighborhood Heroes series and a collaboration with the exhibit Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg.

If you’re just tuning in, we’ve done shows in dive bars, classy bars, art galleries, music halls, bookstores, night clubs, a greenhouse, a ballroom, a theater, a mansion, a sporting goods store, a pirate store, a community center… and this will be our first museum show!


Jane Smiley
Glen David Gold
Lisa Brackmann
Michael David Lukas
Susan Steinberg
Kevin Killian
Joseph Lease
Tom Comitta
Karen Penley
Chris Peck the Town Crier

For only 5 dollars! Lagunitas will be in the house with cold draft beers. Don’t miss this, even for your grandparents; they would want you to be at Quiet Lightning! More info will be up shortly, but you can get tickets now — don’t sleep! Museums are pretty strict on things like capacity, you know. RSVP on the Facebook.

July 6th we’re going back to Oakland to be a part of the second annual Beast Crawl! Last year we debuted our Random Play series, which we’ll do again; more to be announced soon, but for now you can read some background on the festival and a recent interview with co-founder Paul Corman-Roberts. Also, you can see a list of confirmed events that will happen — all on that one day in Oakland’s Uptown  — right here.

It’s true! We’re teaming up with The Rumpus, too. How amazing has this Tour Through Town been? Any ideas on what we should do for our fifth year?! Hold those (better yet: send them in!) because for now, let’s talk about Tuesday, July 9th. We’re putting this show together now and would love you to send in your work. Any kind of writing at all. Deadline is Wednesday, June 9th. You know this show is going to be slamming — we’re going to have music and comedy in true Rump fashion — so be a part of it! More info soon.

August 5th we return to the Conservatory of Flowers for our third annual three-show series The Greenhouse Effect. The other dates will be Sept 2 (Labor Day, with a picnic litnic on the lawn) and October 14th as part of Litquake!

Then we’re teaming up with the Center for the Art of Translation and Why There Are Words, which will close out our year. Somewhere in there (November!) is our 50th show. Can you believe it?

in chicken's busThanks for your ongoing support. We are always accepting donations, which are entirely tax deductible and can be made here. For every $10 you donate, we will spend $10 on the greater Bay Area literary community. We’re trying to raise enough money right now to rent Chicken John’s bus to take people to Sausalito. How much fun would that be? We’ll cook a big meal for everyone and have a blast all the way to the show (see photo to the right for an idea or two). Help!

ql-logoFinally, you can now enjoy our recent show with Oakland’s Studio One Reading Series here (video and full text online).

oakland. free show!

Last night was amazing. Thanks, everyone. Let’s do that again… in two weeks!

For the fourth show of our Tour Through Town we’re teaming up with the always excellent Studio One Reading Series to create a literary mixtape based on the poetry of Adeena Karasick and Erica Lewis. Submissions are open through Wednesday midnight, April 17th. Click here to Submit! That show, on May 3rd, is going to be absolutely FREE, with drinks and snacks provided. There will also be food trucks outside before the event, so come early and hang out! This show is being curated by Nicole McFeelyJaney Smith and Casey McAlduff, who curates S1.

While you’re saving dates…

We are very proud to announce this year’s Neighborhood Heroes:

Beat Memories 2Jane Smiley
Glen David Gold
Lisa Brackmann
Michael David Lukas
Susan Steinberg
Kevin Killian
Joseph Lease
Tom Comitta
Karen Penley
Chris Peck the Town Crier

All performing live at The Contemporary Jewish Museum on Thursday, June 6th! Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased in advance — highly recommended — right here. We will probably sell out. RSVP here.

More info coming soon about our July show with The Rumpus, and then it’s back to the Conservatory of Flowers for August, September and October, when we team up with Litquake.

What would you like to do now, though?

Talk to you soon! Love you,

celebrate your humanity on tax day with storytelling + literature

We’re seriously teaming up with Porch Light!


Monday April 15
The Verdi Club
2424 Mariposa St.
8pm • $15 advance/$20 door

We might sell out • Get your tickets now

Get to know the people sitting next to you

Art by Sarah Moran

Piano by Marc Capelle

Come early! Sandwiches from Bicycle Bánh Mì, kegs from Lagunitas, bar, lounge, low lights and all of your secrets!

» Tell your friends «

Porchlight holds a monthly series called Open Door: it’s $5 to get in, you can tell a story on the month’s theme and win $50. This month’s show is on Monday, April 29 and the theme is Quiet Lightning! So if you’ve got any stories that fit that theme at all you should come to that show and tell them! Testimonials welcome. “Stories with a sneaky revelation”, yes please. Hookup stories, embarrass away! That’s at the Hemlock Tavern.

Nicole McFeely and Janey Smith will be curating our Friday, May 3 show with Studio One Reading Series in Oakland. Together with Casey McAlduff, who curates S1, they will host a literary mixtape based on the poems of Adeena Karasick and Erica Lewis. Think about submitting to that! We’re open through the end of Wednesday, April 17th: click here to give it a shot.

We’re going to announce our Neighborhood Heroes at the Verdi Club. You should save Thursday, June 6th — it’s our first museum show and you won’t believe it either.

Hey, for Monday… Porch Light does sell out. Apparently, we can too. Get your tickets now and save the balance for beer / book / sandwich (collect them all!).

Wanna hear something true?

quiet lightning + porchlight storytelling on april 15

Matthew Rodgers @ SomArts by Sarah Carpenter

Thanks to everyone who came out to SomArts last night for our collaboration with Feast of Words, and especially to Pachamama Cookery for preparing such a beautiful meal. That was definitely one of the most unusual Quiet Lightnings yet—a true pleasure to see two series coming together like that to form something unique. Click here to watch the entire show – including the group exercise – and stay tuned for photos… but the Tour goes on!

April 15th is our show with Porchlight storytelling: half true stories told without notes and half writing of any kind. Yes, we’re going to take storytelling in one hand and literature in the other and we are going to clap them together! We’re accepting submissions through the end of this Monday, March 25th. Please (yes you!) submit.

If you’re just joining us, welcome! We’re currently taking a Tour Through Town. It’s been wild so far, but we’re just getting started. We’re also accepting submissions for our 42nd show: May 3 with the Studio One Reading Series in Oakland. We’re going to take the poetry of Adeena Karasick and Erica Lewis, along with work from the submissions we receive, and make a literary mixtape called Hidden Tracks. Submissions for that show are open through the end of Wednesday, April 17th.

What would you like to do?

The books we print of each show, sparkle + blink, have now been read online over 200,000 times! Not bad for a literary journal, eh?

get advance tickets to tuesday’s feast of words

issue 37: march 2013
Art by Chelsea Wong

Following our show with 826 Valencia, the first stop on our Tour Through Town, we head to SOMArts this Tuesday, March 19th to team up with Feast of Words. Find more information here, including links to the readers and the chef, but we want to make sure you get a seat at the table; seating is limited and expected to sell out, so please get your tickets in advance.

Tuesday, March 19th
SOMArts • 934 Brannan St (SW of 8th St)
7pm dinner 6:30 doors • $5 – 12 • RSVP


porchlightWe’re accepting submissions to our April 15 show with Porchlight – at The Verdi Club – through the end of Sunday, March 24th. That show will be curated by Evan Karp, Sarah Griffin, and Arline Klatte, and you can submit here.


Can’t commit to April? On May 3 we’re teaming up with the Studio One Reading Series for our second Oakland show, featuring a lit mix built around the work of Adeena Karasick and Erica Lewis — a first for us. We’re accepting submissions through Wednesday April 17th.

Allen GinsbergThis year’s installment of Neighborhood Heroes is on June 6th as part of The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s exhibit Beat Memories: The Photographs of Allen Ginsberg. This is the one show each year for which we solicit writers rather than taking submissions; did you know we accept nominations? The lineup’s almost complete, but we’re still deciding which past contributors most deserve to be a part of the show. Weigh in!

We also accept applications for co-curators, if you’d like to put one of the shows together. Here for more details.

How are we doing? What should we do after dinner Tuesday?

lightning in a ship in an internet bottle

Captain Chris Cole!

If you made it to 826 Valencia on Monday for the first show of our Tour Through Town, you’re probably feeling great right now. If you’re anything like us, that is. It’s like lightning lit the sky and the sky stayed lit. If only puns were gold coins!

Thanks to everyone involved with Pirate Lightning! We’re really proud of that show and grateful to 826 — particularly to Emilie Coulson, Molly Parent, and Randy Hyde — for collaborating with us. Thanks to all the readers for being brave, bright, and absolutely awe-inspiring; to their parents for all their support and encouragement, and to our food sponsors Bi-Rite Market, OneBar and Cheddar and Chutney for making the event as fortifying physically as it was otherwise.

To watch the show, read it online for free, or purchase a copy of the book, sparkle + blink, click here.

If you don’t already, you can like us on Facebook, follow along on Twitter, and participate in our monthly Instagram contest to win a free copy of the book. Also, you can read every show over at Scribd; if you subscribe you’ll get a notice each time we publish a new book (don’t worry, we only publish one book every month:).

Are you as excited about the Tour as we are? Next stop: Tuesday, March 19th with SOMArt’s Feast of Words and a special culinary guest! We’re accepting submissions through the end of February 27th. More details coming very soon.

Pirate Lightning panorama

pirate lightning! all hands on deck:

Swing the lead, boys and girls! It’s time to make for the booty.

For our 40th show, and our first ever collaboration with 826 Valencia, we are proud to present to you the following swashbucklers:

pirate lightning!Art by Simon Cox! Click on his name for more.

Food for the event will be generously supplied by Bi-Rite Market, OneBar and Cheddar and Chutney!

Bi-Rite Market


cheddar and chutney



Our start time is a little earlier this month: 6:30pm. We’ll be kicking things off with a special performance from students in the Writing and Publishing Apprentices workshop!

This show is a suggested $5 donation, but we never turn anyone away for lack of coins.

When: Monday, February 4th • 6:30pm
Where: 826 Valencia
Cost: $5 suggested, but no one ever turned away
Why: Energy is the real gold. Bring it!

Tell Your FriendsRSVP

thank yous and a message for our partners

Matt Leibel

Thanks to everyone who came out to Sports Basement last night. That was a really special way to start out the year, which continues on February 4th with Pirate Lightning! our show with 826 Valencia. Submissions to that show, open only to 6-18 year-olds (though the show will be open to all-ages), are now closed.

We are accepting submissions to our show with Feast of Words, which will be at SOMArts on Tuesday, March 19th. You can check out Feast of Words on the 3rd Tuesday of every month, so if you haven’t been you can get a good idea of how great March 19th will be on February 18th, when they’ll host Mia McKenzie and a special culinary guest (and if you can’t make it you can read and watch more about them here). Because we can only accomodate 50 people (on the 19th) we will be selling advance tickets, and will let you know more about that soon.

Tour Through Town!

If you’re looking for a good reading before February 4th, or if you just want to check out the Studio One Reading Series, with whom we’ll be partnering on May 2nd, they’ve got a great lineup for February 1st: Lyn Hejinian, Joshua Clover, and Brian Ang. If you go, tell them we said Arrrrrgh!

Videos from last night, the entire book, and more info on the show at 826 will be up soon. Until then? Be nice to people and make new friends. You never know how you might impact someone, and people are full of surprises.