October 28, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Chuck Collins will read from Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good. Born into the one percent, Collins gave away his inheritance at 26 and spent the next three decades mobilizing against inequality. He uses his perspective from both sides of the divide to deliver a new narrative. Collins calls for a ceasefire and invites the wealthy to come back home, investing themselves and their wealth in struggling communities. And he asks the non-wealthy to build alliances with the one percent and others at the top of the wealth ladder.

    Chuck Collins is a researcher, campaigner, storyteller, and writer based at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits He has written extensively on wealth inequality in previous books like 99 to 1, Wealth and Our Commonwealth (with Bill Gates Sr.), and Economic Apartheid in America as well as in The Nation, The American Prospect, and numerous other magazines and news outlets. He lives near Boston.

    Born on Third Base offers a clear and compelling case for why the privileged and powerful must act to reverse widening inequality of income, wealth, and political power in America.” —Robert B. Reich, former US Secretary of Labor; author of Saving Capitalism


    October 27, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Yaa Gyasi will read from and talk about her New York Times bestselling novel, Homegoing. The novel, which has garnered a huge amount of attention, is the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indelibly drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

    Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. She lives in Berkeley, California. This special event will be moderated by Writers’ Workshop graduate Liz Weiss.

    Homegoing is an inspiration.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates


    October 26, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Stephanie Ash will read from her surprising and unconventional new novel,
    The Annie Year, published by Unnamed Press. This is a  special in-conversation event with local author Cate Dicharry. “In The Annie Year, Tandy Caide, sardonic CPA and pathological people-pleaser, enters the year of her reckoning, the year she starts making her own moral ledger. Like the mythological Annie—you know, the one who sings 'It’s a Hard Knock Life' but also 'Tomorrow'—Tandy has spunky charm and believable innocence. I read this mordantly funny book in one sitting, it's a fine novel with a main character you’ll miss once you’ve finished."  —Debra Monroe

    Stephanie Ash is a former editor at Mpls. St. Paul Magazine. She lives in Minneapolis and Mankato, Minnesota, and is originally from rural Iowa. This is her first novel. Cate Dicharry is the author of The Fine Art of Fucking Up, also published by Unnamed Press, and works for the UI International Writing Program. She lives in Iowa City.

    "Ash’s debut novel brilliantly captures the slanted quirkiness of a Midwest full of small-business owners and exploding home-methamphetamine labs... Darkly hilarious and weirdly beguiling."
    —Kirkus Reviews


    October 25, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Manuel Vilas will read from his poetry collection, Great Vilas, recently published by Song Bridge Press. Translated from the Spanish by Pablo Rodríguez Balbontín and William F. Blair, it is his first book translated into the English language.

    Manuel Vilas was born in Barbastro, in the Huesca region of Spain. Vilas has published 13 books of poetry to date. In addition to Gran Vilas, or Great Vilas in translation, these include Resurrection, Calor, and more recently El hundimiento. He is the author of numerous novels including España, and El luminoso regalo, and has also been widely published in newspapers and literary journals. Vilas has published primarily in Spanish, although El luminoso regalo was translated into French and Italian.

    Julio Ortega, in the Prologue to Great Vilas, writes, that Great Vilas in translation, "seems to be a radical rewriting of the contemporary history of the Ibero-American world. Soccer, reality shows, movies, and literary biographies are interspersed with the reading and writing of journalism and historiography, provoking a new logic of entanglements and outcomes as comical as they are satirical, as intimate as they are ultimately free."


    October 24, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Steven Sherrill will read from his long-awaited sequel to The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, The Minotaur Takes His Own Sweet Time. It’s taken 16 years, but the Minotaur is back! The selfsame Minotaur from Greek mythology, transplanted to the modern American South, is working as a Civil War re-enactor at a run-down living history park in the Rust Belt of central Pennsylvania. “M” is still experiencing the pain of being a lonely outsider and he is still searching for some kind of connection to ease his long journey through life.

    Sherrill is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship for Fiction, and his first novel, The Minotaur Takes a Cigarette Break, was selected by Neil Gaiman for his audiobook label, Neil Gaiman Presents. Sherrill is the author of Visits From the Drowned Girl, The Locktender’s House, the poetry collection, Ersatz Anatomy, and the novel Joy, PA. He teaches at Penn State Altoona and lives in State College, Pennsylvania.


    October 23, 2016 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Legodile ‘Dredd X’ Seganabeng (poet, fiction and nonfiction writer; Botswana) is a high school art teacher and spoken-word poet, performing regionally in Southern Africa, and across the country of Botswana. A recipient of the Bessie Head Literature Award, he frequently writes on human rights and women’s rights. His first novel, Josie, is being published in 2016. He participates courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone.

    Ng Virginia Suk-yin (fiction writer; Hong Kong) writes stories, often about her generation’s life in contemporary Hong Kong. They were recently gathered in the collection [People from the Mountain]. She also has a career in public relations. She participates courtesy of the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation.


    October 21, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author Sarah Prineas will present her fantastic new book, Rose & Thorn. This beauty isn’t sleeping! Discover the true story of Sleeping Beauty in this bold YA fairy-tale retelling filled with thrilling adventure and romance, perfect for fans of the Lunar Chronicles and the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. The old props are in place: a spindle, a beautiful girl, a century-long slumber. But Prineas makes it fresh and gives it zest in this great, empowering adventure.

    Sarah Prineas is the author of the immensely popular Magic Thief series, and is also the author of Winterling, Summerkin, Moonkind, and Ash & Bramble. She holds a PhD in English literature and has taught honors seminars on fantasy and science fiction literature at the University of Iowa. She lives just outside of Iowa City in the midst of the corn, where she wrangles dogs, cats, chickens, and goats, goes on lots of hikes, and finds time to write. She is married to a physics professor and has two kids.



    October 20, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Woman Who Walked into Doors by Roddy Doyle

    In support of National Domestic Violence Awareness month we’ll be reading Doyle’s powerful novel of down-trodden Paula Spencer, driven to alcoholism by her abusive husband, Charlo, the husband from hell. Incredible novel of blue collar life in Ireland in the 70s.

    “It is the triumph of this novel that Mr. Doyle shows the inner life of this battered housecleaner to be of the same stuff as that of the heroes of the great novels of Europe.”—Mary Gordon New York Times Book Review


    October 19, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    New York Times Bestselling author of Mary Coin, Marisa Silver will read from her new novel, Little Nothing. This stunning, provocative new novel is the story of a girl in an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, scorned for her physical deformity, whose passion and salvation lie in her otherworldly ability to transform herself and the world around her. Part allegory about the shifting nature of being, part subversive fairy tale of love in all its uncanny guises, Little Nothing spans the beginning of a new century, the disintegration of ancient superstitions, and the adoption of industry and invention. “Little Nothing is a magnificent, inventive, unexpected story that seamlessly blends fable and folklore into the lives of characters who remain heart-wrenchingly real. ”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

    Marisa Silver is the author of The God of War, No Direction Home; and two story collections, Alone with You and Babe in Paradise (a New York Times Notable Book and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year). Silver’s fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. She lives in Los Angeles.


    October 18, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Legendary poets Marvin Bell and Christopher Merrill will read from their new book, After the Fact: Scripts & Postscripts. Marvin Bell, writing from Iowa City and Port Townsend, and Christopher Merrill, writing from around the world, give us an intimate look into collaboration at its best.

    "The best conversationalists intuit and respond to unspoken questions and interstitial meanings, sidelong concerns and secret subjects. They also know how to listen to another's story and hear the line or inflection that calls forth their own tale in a way that enlarges, well, everything. Marvin Bell and Christopher Merrill's stunning epistolary paragraphs illustrate the inner workings of just such an intimate, agile, and sustained conversation. This collaborative, high wire act offers up profound truths in exactly the way the most exciting poems take shape—by leaps of imagination and complete trust in the power of association to bring up riches, songs, and wisdom from the depths."—Lia Purpura

    Marvin Bell was Iowa's first poet laureate. One of America's leading poets, he has published more than 20 books of poetry and has received numerous honors, including the Lamont Award from the Academy of American Poets, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and Senior Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia. He taught for 40 years at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he is emeritus professor.

    Christopher Merrill is the Director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He has published six collections of poetry, several edited volumes, and five books of nonfiction. He serves on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and has conducted cultural diplomacy missions in over thirty countries for the U.S. State Department. In April 2012 President Obama appointed Merrill to the National Council on the Humanities.