October 14, 2017 - 11:30am

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Donald Ray Pollock will read from his new novel in the gothic tradition of Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy, The Heavenly Table. It is 1917, in that sliver of border land that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons. Several hundred miles away in southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family's entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. “As much as we’d like to take comfort in the thought that all of this happened far away and a century ago, the fact is that Pollock’s funny, damning novel belongs, more than ever, to the country we live in now.”—New York Times Book Review

    Donald Ray Pollock has lived his entire adult life in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he worked at the Mead Paper Mill as a laborer and truck driver until age 50, when he enrolled in the English program at Ohio State University. While there, Doubleday published his debut short story collection, Knockemstiff, and the New York Times regularly posted his election dispatches from southern Ohio throughout the 2008 campaign. The Devil All the Time, his first novel, was published in 2011. His work has appeared in various literary journals, including Epoch, Sou’wester, Granta, Third Coast, River Styx, The Journal, Boulevard, Tin House, and PEN America.


    October 14, 2017 - 10:00am

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Literary scholar Zachary Turpin, UIowa Professor of English Ed Folsom, and director of the Iowa International Writers’ Program Christopher Merrill, will read from and discuss their work on Walt Whitman. No one laid eyes on it until 2016 when Zachary Turpin followed a paper trail deep into the Library of Congress, where the sole surviving copy of Walt Whitman’s previously unknown novella Jack Engle has lain waiting for generations. Now, after more than 160 years, the University of Iowa Press is honored to reprint this lost work, restoring a missing piece of American literature by one of the world’s greatest authors, written as he verged on immortality.

    Ed Folsom, Whitman Archive co-director, is the Carver Professor of English at The University of Iowa. Since 1983, he has served as Editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. He co-edited Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essay (2007).

    Christopher Merrill has published six collections of poetry, including Brilliant Water, and Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. His latest book is a collaboration with Ed Folsom about Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.


  • RAFAEL CAMPO at the Old Capitol Senate Chambers

    October 13, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Old Capitol

    Iowa City Book Festival Event 

    Poet and physician Rafael Campo will read from and discuss his work, including his most recent poetry collection Alternative Medicine, as part of the University of Iowa’s The Examined Life Conference. Of his work, Booklist wrote: “In a style both precise and emotional, playful and earnest, Campo delivers a most extraordinary message: that in writing, in seeing, in remembering, and in being, we embody, simultaneously, the ache as well as the cure.”

    A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Medical School, Rafael Campo currently teaches and practices general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where his medical practice serves mostly Latinos, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender people, and people with HIV infection. He is also on the faculty of the Lesley University Creative Writing MFA program. He is the author of Alternative Medicine, The Other Man Was Me, which won the 1993 National Poetry Series Award, What the Body Told, which won a Lambda Literary Award for Poetry, and The Desire to Heal, a collection of essays which also won a Lambda Literary Award. His work has appeared on NPR and in many major anthologies.

  • ALEXANDER CHEE in conversation with GARTH GREENWELL

    October 12, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Coralville Public Library

    Iowa City Book Festival

    Alexander Chee will receive the Paul Engle Prize, presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization, during a special ceremony which will include remarks by Chee and a conversation between Chee and Iowa City novelist Garth Greenwell. The prize, established in 2011, honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts.

    Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, NPR and Out, among others. He is winner of a 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in prose and a 2010 MCCA Fellowship, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Civitella Ranieri and Amtrak. He has taught writing at Wesleyan University, Amherst College, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Texas – Austin. He lives in New York City, where he curates the Dear Reader series at Ace Hotel New York.

    Garth Greenwell is the author of What Belongs to You, which won the British Book Award for Debut of the Year, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and was a finalist for six other awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, it was named a Best Book of 2016 by over fifty publications in nine countries, and is being translated into a dozen languages. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, A Public Space, and VICE, and he has written criticism for The New Yorker, the London Review of Books, and the New York Times Book Review, among others. He lives in Iowa City.

  • wellRED: From Dixie With Love

    October 11, 2017 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Tickets available through The Englert Theater. 
    Englert Theater Box Office

    Stand-up comedy and writing partners Trae Crowder (The Liberal Redneck), Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester, will talk about their best-selling book, Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outta the Dark. This year’s tour, “wellRED: From Dixie With Love​,” is about celebrating everything great about the South and telling stories from a place of love. It’s about dancing to country music at a gay wedding. It’s about loving your neighbor whether you have the same religion, skin color, or sexual preference, as long as they cheer for the same college football team (Go Vols!).  It is about leaving behind bigotry, but remembering the fried okra.

    Trae Crowder grew up in rural Tennessee and has been writing and performing comedy for six years while also working for the federal government. He was the first person in his family to graduate from college and earn an MBA. After his “Liberal Redneck” videos went viral, he appeared on a number of television and radio shows. He lives in East Tennessee with his wife and two young sons.

    Corey Ryan Forrester has been writing and performing stand-up comedy since he was sixteen and hails from North Georgia. He helped his mother and sister run their family bakery in his hometown of Chickamauga while hawking jokes at night in dingy bars and has an affinity for Southern wit and storytelling.

    Drew Morgan is a stand-up comedian, writer, and husband from rural East Tennessee. He draws on his experiences as a small-town son of a preacher man and former public defender to weave together stories with jokes and observations on culture, religion, and identity. He splits time between New York City and Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife Andi and dog Mick Jagger Pup. 

    Prairie Lights will have books for sale at the event. 



  • Holy Cow! Press Anniversary Reading

    October 11, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Celebrating 40 years of the Duluth-by-way-of-Iowa City independent press, featuring founder and publisher Jim Perlman, and authors Dan Campion, Crystal Spring Gibbins, and Gary Boelhower. 

    Dan Campion is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism (Bucknell University Press), coeditor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song (Holy Cow! Press), and a contributor of poetry to many magazines, including Light, Measure, The Midwest Quarterly, The North American Review, Poetry, Rolling Stone, and Shenandoah.

    Crystal Spring Gibbins grew up on Lake of the Woods, Minnesota/Ontario. She is the editor of Split Rock Review and the recipient of fellowships from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She lives on the south shore of Lake Superior.

    Gary Boelhower is the author of Marrow, Muscle, Flight: Poems, which won the Midwest Book Award for poetry.


  • LISA KATZ & HILARY KAPLAN in conversation with ARON AJI

    October 11, 2017 - 5:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event 

    Award-winning translators Lisa Katz and Hilary Kaplan will read from their work and participate in a panel conversation moderated by Aron Aji, director of the Iowa Translation Workshop. They will consider questions that are relevant to literature in translation such as, how do we listen to literary voices that belong to cultures that are remote from us? How does literature transport ‘difference’ across cultural borders, to readers who do not share the same cultural experiences that animate a given literary work? This panel is part of the 50th Anniversary of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP).

    Lisa Katz serves as co-editor of the Israeli pages of the Poetry International Web (PIW) project for world poetry in translation. Her translations include Late Beauty: The Poetry of Tuvia Ruebner and Suddenly the Sight of War by Hannan Hever. She is the author of two chapbooks and a book of poetry, Am Oved. She lives in Jerusalem.

    Hilary Kaplan is the translator of Rilke Shake by Angélica Freitas, winner of the 2016 Best Translated Book Award in poetry and shortlisted for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation; and Ghosts, a collection of stories by Paloma Vidal. Her translations of Brazilian poetry and prose have appeared on BBC Radio 4 and in journals internationally. She received a 2011 PEN/Heim Translation Fund grant and a Rumos Literatura grant for literary criticism from Itaú Cultural. Her writing on Brazilian poetry and poetics has been published in Jacket2, Rascunho, and the collection Deslocamentos Críticos (Babel, 2011).


    October 11, 2017 - 3:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Fail Safe Podcast host Rachel Yoder will talk with Award Winning author and Writers’ Workshop graduate Alexander Chee in this special Iowa City Book Festival event. Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night. Produced collaboratively by draft: the journal of process and The Iowa Writers’ House, The Fail Safe provides encouragement for anyone who’s ever wanted to write and pulls back the curtain on the creative process for a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the writer-at-work.


    October 10, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Pola Oloixarac from Argentina and Alberto Fuguet from Chile will read from and discuss their work. This reading is part of the 50th Anniversary of the University of Iowa’s International Writing Program (IWP).

    Pola Oloixarac is a fiction writer and essayist. Her novels, Savage Theories and Dark Constellations, have been translated into seven languages. The New York Times Book Review called Savage Theories “[an] exuberant blend of political satire and sexual picaresque. This book rewards total immersion: Come for the inevitable Borges allusions, stay for the wild ride." She wrote the libretto for the opera Hercules in Mato Grosso, which debuted at Buenos Aires’s Teatro Colón and then premiered in New York City. Her fiction has appeared in Granta, n+1 and The White Review, and she has contributed articles on politics and culture for The New York Times and the BBC World Service, among others. She lives in San Francisco, where she’s completing a PhD at Stanford University.

    Born in Santiago de Chile, Alberto Fuguet is one of the leaders of the literary movement known as McOndo, which proclaims the end of magical realism. Time Magazine named Alberto Fuguet one of the 50 most important Latin American writers for the new millennium. He has been a film critic and director, and a police reporter. He lives in Santiago de Chile.



    October 9, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Acclaimed writer and critic Tim Parks will talk about his work in this special IWP 50th Anniversary Reading. Parks is the author of many novels, translations, and works of nonfiction, including Where I'm Reading From, Italian Ways, Life and Work: Writers, Readers, and the Conversations Between Them, and the novel In Extremis. Of his work, Publishers Weekly has written, "Parks is one of the most eloquent and provocative critics," and the Sunday Times called him "a hugely talented writer, who deserves to be a good deal more celebrated than he is."

    Tim Parks is Associate Professor of Literature and Translation at IULM University in Milan. He is a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books, for which he blogs.