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Chicago Live Lit Roundup

Your comprehensive guide to all things live lit.

By Arts & Culture

Curated or open mic; expository or scripted; theme-based or free-for-all — a live lit show in Chicago is a sure bet for your brain, soul, and (usually) your desire for a beer. Here’s a roundup of live lit shows happening as of now. Did we miss your favorite? Is there a new show in town we’re not cool enough to know about, yet? Email us.

A Month Of

Themed storytelling show and potluck.


2nd Story

“Hybrid performance event combining storytelling, wine, and music since 2002.” There are classes and coaching, too.


The Blackout Diaries

Stand-ups and “regular people” tell true drinking stories. Comedy-focused.


Do Not Submit

Storytelling open mic series with multiple locations across Chicagoland.


Essay Fiesta

First-person, non-fiction essays; proceeds donated to charity.
Since 2009.



Writers read original (short) fiction and musicians perform original music and creative covers all based on a theme.


Funny Ha-Ha

Humor-focused curated reading series.


Grown Folks Stories

Monthly open mic (five-minute limit) storytelling series.


Here’s the Story

Storytelling show. Five featured performers, five slots
on an open mic.


The Marrow

Reading series organized by Curbside Splendor Publishing.


Miss Spoken

“Lady live lit.” Two host + four curated “non-dude” pieces each a month.


The Moth

Lottery-drawn competition. Extemporaneous storytelling. National profile show with podcast and workshop offerings.


The Paper Machete

Weekly curated “live magazine.” 

Tuesday Funk

Fiction, poetry, and essays.


That’s All She Wrote

Non-competitive live lit for “all stripes.” Featured guest. Free, BYOB.


The First Time
Pairs a reader’s personal story about a specific “first time” with a song performance. Curated by CHIRP Radio.


This Much is True

Curated storytelling. Always free, since 2009.


Slut Talk

Storytellers and comedians perform about their experiences being a slut.


Story Lab

Six featured storytellers.


Story Club

Featured readers with three open mic slots (eight minutes each). 


Story Sessions

Six storytellers get 10 scripted minutes. Themed and curated.


Sunday Salon
Curated readings from local and international literary voices. 


The Stoop

“Community and survival storytelling.” Featured readers on a theme; five open mic slots.


Wit Rabbit

“Intergenre reading series.”


Write Club

“Two writers. Two opposing ideas. Literature as bloodsport.” Since 2012.


You’re Being Ridiculous

Stories on a theme read by curated lineup. Since 2012.

*All info is subject to change because, life.

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