The Los Ángeles area offers many reading series to complement the abundance of open mics the literary community hosts. These literary events are where the public can usually hear fiction and nonfiction writers read and discuss their craft and books. Occasionally poets will be featured. Many of these reading series take place at local colleges and universities and the majority of these events are free. They range from [ALOUD] run through the Los Angeles Public Library to the less well known, “The Table Reading Series” produced by L.A. novelist Natashia Déon. As always, check out their websites to learn who is featuring at their next reading.
About: [ALOUD] features a range of authors, scientists, thinkers, political luminaries and artists to engage Angeleños in critical civic and cultural discourse, inspiring lifelong learning and exploring. Past events have featured Reza Aslan, Margaret Atwood, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Denis Johnson, Dinaw Mengestu, Marilynne Robinson and Marisa Silver.
Where: Central Library–Mark Taper Auditorium and off-site venues
Time: 7:15 pm
Address: 630 W. 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Antioch University Literary Uprising Reading Series
About: Come to Antioch University Los Angeles’ Literary Uprising quarterly reading series and hear Faculty and students share their latest work! They will be joined by a student from Jim Krusoe’s SMC Advanced Fiction Class.
Where: Antioch University Los Angeles
Time: 6 pm reception; 6:30 pm readings
Address: 400 Corporate Pointe, Culver City, California 90230
Avenue 50 Studio Readings
About: The readings at Avenue 50 Studio, occurring a various times throughout the year, are curated by Literary Program Director Jessica Ceballos y Campbell. The readings highlight writers of color primarily through a social justice and Chicanx/Latinx lens.
Where: Avenue 50 Studio
Address: 131 N. Avenue 50, Los Angeles, CA 90042
Website: Facebook Page
CalArts/The Writing Now Reading Series
About: The Writing Now Reading Series is a year-long graduate course offered to MFA Creative Writing students. This seminar will introduce first year students both to each other and our program via workshops, discussion, and the hosting of four visiting writers over the course of the term (one of whom will be the Kate Jacobson Writer-in-Residence). All Visiting Writers events are open to the public.
Where: CalArt campus–Butler Building #4
Time: 7 pm
Address: 24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355
First Press Reading Series
About: First Press Reading Series is Woodbury’s literary reading series. It has four events each year, roughly scheduled for September, November, February and April. Each reading they feature one or two well regarded poets or writers and include an open mic portion.
Where: Ahmanson Main Space, Woodbury University
When: 4 pm – 6 pm
Address: 6518 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028
Influx Collective: Queer Reading Series
About: Catherine Chen and Cori Bratby-Rudd created Influx after they met at Lambda Literary’s Writing Retreat for Emerging Queer Poets. They are both LA based poets and found the Lambda Literary space inspiring, immensely helpful to their careers and most importantly the retreat put them in a communal space that felt safe and helped many of them make vital connections they needed in the writing industry. They wanted to try to continue this space outside of Lambda because it ended and they truly missed it. Both of them have lived in LA for a while and felt that there were not enough queer poetry spaces. Out of this desire they formed Influx Collectiv to center the queer and marginalized voices in our community.
Jean Burden Poetry Series
About: This series, one of the longest running and most prestigious in the U.S., was established in 1986 by friends and supporters of Jean Burden to honor her achievements as a poet, essayist, editor, teacher, and scholar. An Illinois native, University of Chicago alumna, and Altadena resident, Burden served as poetry editor of Yankee Magazine for 47 years, and published her poetry in prominent magazines including Poetry, Saturday Review, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review and American Scholar. She is the author of two poetry collections, Naked as the Glass (October House, 1963) and Taking Light from Each Other (University Press of Florida, 1992). Her poetry has been praised by figures such as James Dickey who called “[h]er voice unforced and lovely, saying the right un-heard-of-things with naturalness,” and Mary Oliver who described her poems as “silky, meditative, purposeful…filled with the deft cadences of reason.” Burden wrote six bestsellers on animal welfare, and an essay collection, Journey Toward Poetry (October House, 1966), lauded by May Sarton as “a key to a way of looking and a way of being.” The Jean Burden Series also honors and celebrates Jean Burden’s decades of commitment to sustaining poetry’s presence at Cal State LA.
This increasingly popular event features an annual reading by a major poet. Noted poets, Pulitzer Prize winners and Poets Laureate have been guest readers since the inception of this series at Cal State LA., including Andrew Motion, Rita Dove, Anthony Hecht, Maxine Kumin, Mary Oliver, Harryette Mullen, Lucille Clifton, Galway Kinnell, Carolyn Kizer, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Richard Wilbur, Linda Pastan, and Mark Strand.
Where: Golden Eagle Ballrooms
Time: 5:30 pm
Address: 5155 State University Drive Golden Eagle Building Los Angeles, CA 90032
Live Talk Los Angeles
About: Live Talks Los Angeles, a conversation series that curates and produces live talks featuring authors, innovators, politicians, comedians, celebrities, activists, musicians, chefs, and many of the worlds top thought leaders features a wide-ranging slate. Evening series takes place in various venues in the L.A. area ranging from the intimacy of an art gallery at 100 attendees to larger venues in the 1500-6000 capacities. Pre-event receptions are often presented where attendees can engage with the author. Previous writers include: T.C. Boyle, Oscar Hijuelos, Sandra Cisneros and Jane Smiley.
Where: Various venues in Los Ángeles and Riverside
Address: Various venues in Los Ángeles and Riverside
Cost: $20 General Admission; $45 General Admission plus book
About: LOOSE LIPS is dedicated bringing a diverse array of the best contemporary poets to Topanga and to provide audiences and authors with a poetic forum and community. It’s readings are structured with featured poets and open mics held 4 to 5 times a year. Their commitment is to deliver literary events which are edgy, spiritual, inspiring and at times irreverent. They are partially sponsored by Poets and Writers and offer stipends to featured to featured writers.
Where: Topanga Library
Time: 2 pm – 4 pm
Address: 122 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290
Monthly Writing Circle: A Writing Circle for Mothers and Non-Binary Parents
About: Join host Dr. Michelle Brittan Rosado at La Fuente for their monthly writing circle. This twice monthly circle is designed to make time for generating new writing, allow us to share strategies for being creative in our everyday lives, and form a community of writers who seek to balance raising children with creative expression.
Where: La Fuente: Birth, Postpartum, y Mas
Time: Second and last Sunday of the month (through the Spring); 5 pm – 7 pm
Address: 4093 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach 90807
Cost: $15 – $20 suggested donation. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.
My Lit Box — Reading
About: The monthly author reading series supplement of My Lit Box, celebrating writers if color, especially female writers of color. They strive to create conversations surrounding their works, and build a community of book lovers. Hosted by poet and Professor Bridgette Bianca.
Where: Hiltop Coffee & Kitchen
Time: 3 pm
Address: 4427 W. Slauson Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034
New Short Fiction Series
About: The New Short Fiction Series is Los Angeles’ longest running spoken word series. Featuring local actors presenting short fiction by established and emerging West Coast writers. Founded and directed by Sally Shore. Second Sunday of the month.
Where: The Federal
Time: 7 pm
Address: 5303 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA
Cost: $10 – $15 advance ticket purchase; $20 same day. Cash only.
Noche de Poesía
About: Join the East L.A. Library and hosts Dulce Stein and Linda Parent-Harris, for an evening of poetry featuring L.A. area poets.
When: 3rd Wednesday of the month; 6:30pm – 8pm
Where: Chicano Resource Center, East L.A. Library
Address: 4837 East Los Angeles, CA 90022
The Open Door Poetry Reading
About: The Open Door Poetry Reading is a reading where poetry can share their words, then talk about their craft. Each month there two to three features. Each month there two to three features.
When: Last Thursday of the month: 8pm
Where: Battery Books Pasadena
Address: 26 South Los Robles Ave., Pasadena, California 91101
Otis: Visiting Writers Series
About: Otis College of Art and Design’s M.F.A. program in Creative Writing hosts the Visiting Writers Series to bring poets and writers of national renown sharing their work and expertise with the students and the wider literary community of Los Angeles. Past writers have included: Ron Carlson, Bernard Cooper, D.J. Waldie, Sesshu Foster, Percival Everett, Jane Smiley, Jonathan Lethem and Cristina Garcia.
Where: Goldsmith Campus–Ahmanson Fall Forum
Time: 7:30 pm
Address: 9045 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester, CA 9004
Pitzer Literary Series
About: Literary events at Pitzer College. Past events include authors Mark Arax, Myriam Gurba, Sesshu Foster, Joyce Carol Oates and Kevin Kwan.
Where: Garrison Theater, Benson Auditorium, Broad Performance Space, and other various campus locations
Time: Various times. Website has exact times of each event.
Address: Most events take place on Pitzer College’s campus, but some take place on the other Claremont College’s Campus’.
Poetry At The Hammer
About: Readings are organized and hosted by poet, critic, and UCLA professor of English emeritus Stephen Yenser. Cosponsored by the UCLA Department of English, the Friends of English, and the UCLA Department of Cultural and Recreational Affairs. Coffee, tea and, book signing with the authors follows readings.
Where: Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum
Time: 7:30 pm
Address: 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024
Cost: Free but tickets required due to limited seating: Parking $6 under the museum
Poetry Night with San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival
About: The San Gabriel Valley Literary Festival celebrates writing from around the world with an annual festival with a full day of poetry and fiction every February. We also host a monthly reading series featuring the best poetry and fiction writers from around Southern California on the fourth Saturday of each month (Except for July!).
Where: dA Center for the Arts
Time: 4th Saturday of the month: 7pm – 9pm
Address: 252 S. Main St. Ste. D, Pomona, California 91766
Poetry on the Rocks
About: Poetry on the Rocks is a quarterly reading series that smashes poetry, drinking, and games together! Join us as killer poets are given a shot onstage and asked to make up a haiku on the spot based on audience suggestions all before reading their stunning poems to you. Hosted by: Nancy Lynée Woo and Mike Gravagno.
Get fun, get ragged, get poetry on the rocks.
Time: 7 pm – 10 pm
Address: 5205 E. Pacific Coast Hwy, Long Beach, California 90804
Cost: $7 at the door so they can pay the featured poets
Red Hen Press Reading Series at the Annenberg Beach House
About: Pasadena’s own Red Hen Press celebrates poetry and culture at the historic Annenberg Beach House. Past readers include Camille T. Dungy, winner of a 2011 American Book Award for “Suck on the Marrow,” Riverside’s own Susan Straight, National Book Award Finalist for “Highwire Moon,” Los Angeles Poet Amy Uyematsu, author of “The Yellow Door,” and Ilya Kaminsky, recipient of the Whiting Writer’s Award.
Where: Annenberg Beach House
Time: 6:30 pm
Address: 415 Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica, CA 90402
Cost: Free (reading), but Parking is $3/hour ($5 after 5PM) & $12/day.
About: Roar Shack is a collective of writers and artists, who bring audiences a diverse array of writers. Some of them come from fiction, some from memoir, some from poetry, and from music and performance and just about anything that leaves its own blood on the page. There is also a Live Write component to the reading. It’s a thrilling feat of writerly improvisation! Upon arrival, the audience gets to vote on a prompt. The winning prompt will be revealed to two audience members, onstage for all to see! They will write to that prompt while the musical guest plays – it’s going to be impossible not to listen, but no one said this was going to be easy. Then the Live Writers will each read their just-written words, and the audience gets to vote! The winner will develop the work into a finished piece to be read at the next show.
Where: 826LA Echo Park
Time: 2nd Sunday of the month: 4 pm
Address: 1714 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026
About: An electrifying mix of storytellers and artists, policymakers and musicians—and everything in between.
Where: Balch Auditorium or Hampton Room (Noon hour events), Garrison Theater
Time: 12:15 pm – 1:15 pm; 6 pm – 7:15 pm; 7 pm – 8:15 pm; and other various evening times
Address: 1030 Columbia Ave, Claremont, CA 91711 (Balch Auditorium); 345 E. 9th Street (Hampton Room); 231 E 10th St, Claremont, CA 91711 (Garrison Theater)
Website: http://www.scrippscollege.edu/scrippspresents or https://www.facebook.com/scrippspresents/
Some Favorite Writers
About: This series of readings is organized by Mona Simpson, author of Casebook, My Hollywood, Anywhere But Here, and Off Keck Road. Readings are followed by discussions with Simpson. This series is supported, in part, by the UCLA Department of English and Friends of English.
Where: Billy Wilder Theater, Hammer Museum
Time: 7:30 pm
Address: 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90024
Cost: Free but tickets required due to limited seating; Parking $6 under the museum
About: SUMARR is the personification of summer in Norse mythology. Sumarr Reading Series is thus a summer happening on Sundays at Pop-Hop Books & Print. Each event includes four readers and a live musical performance. Diana Arterian started in Sumarr 2010 in her backyard, and continues to curate and host the series today at Pop-Hop.
Where: Pop-Hop Books & Print
Time: 5 or so summer readings: 3 pm – 4:30 pm
Address: 5002 York Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90042
WCCW Reading Series
About: Founded by Jeffrey Dorchen, Write Club pits three sessions of two opposing writers against each other with two opposing ideas. They each get 7 minutes apiece to read. Afterwards the audience picks a winner. Each pair competes for a cash prize and winner chooses the charity they want the money donated to.
Where: Angel City Brewery
Time: Almost monthly (11 months); 8 pm
Address: 216 Alameda St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Cost: Pay what you can; $10-20 at the door (it all goes to charity)
Note: 21 and over