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.


    October 16, 2016 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iracema Drew is from Brazil and upstate New York. She is currently studying fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

    Vladimir Poleganov (fiction writer, screenwriter, translator; Bulgaria) translates between Bulgarian and English. He also teaches a course on fantastic fiction at Sofia University, where he is working towards a Ph.D in Bulgarian literature. His most recent novel, [The Other Dream], will come out in 2016. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

    Hao Guang Tse (poet; Singapore) is the author of hyperlinkage (2013) and Deeds of Light (2015); the latter was shortlisted for the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize. He co-edits the literary journal OF ZOOS, is the essays editor of, and is co-editing UnFree Verse, an anthology of Singaporean poetry. He participates courtesy of the Singapore National Arts Council.


    October 15, 2016 - 1:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Local children’s author Michelle Edwards will read from and talk about her new book, A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story about Knitting and Love, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This picture book, written for children ages 4-8, will appeal to anyone who has struggled with a pair a knitting needles as they read about little Sophia who wants to make a hat for a friend who makes hats for everyone but herself. "It’s a supremely lovely story, a tribute to the rewards of grit and selflessness; Edwards’s unadorned, emotionally genuine text is as winning as the pictures." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

    Michelle Edwards is the author of numerous picture books, including Chicken Man, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; Max Makes a Cake, illustrated by Charles Santoso; and Room for the Baby, illustrated by Jana Christy. A lifelong knitter, Michelle has also written an adult title, A Knitter’s Home Companion. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she and her husband share a house full of books and yarn. This special event will be moderated by Sarah Prineas, author of The Magic Thief.


    October 13, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Former IWP resident Lidija Dimkovska will read from her new novel, A Spare Life. A Spare Life is a chronicle of 12-year-old conjoined twin girls who are among the first generation to come of age under democracy in Eastern Europe. “A Spare Life uses the boldest of metaphors – the life of conjoined twins – to embody the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. This novel brings to mind Elena Ferrante and Magda Szabó in the acuity of its social observation and the depth of its mordant humor.” — Katie Kitamura

    Written in luminous  prose by an author who is also a master poet, it is a saga about families, sisterhood, immigration, and the occult influences that shape a life.

    Lidija Dimkovska is the recipient of the 2013 European Union Prize for Literature for A Spare Life. She is also the author of the poetry collection pH Neutral History  from Copper Canyon Press, which was a finalist for the 2013 Best Translated Book Award, and Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers from Ugly Duckling Presse. She lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


    October 12, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Drawn & Quarterly's Sarah Glidden will talk about her graphic novel, Rolling Blackouts — Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. Graphic artist Sarah Glidden accompanied two friends; founders of a journalism non-profit, through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, as they researched potential stories on the effects of the Iraq War in the Middle East and, specifically, the war’s refugees. They were joined by a childhood friend and former Marine whose past service in Iraq added an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome viewpoint. Depicted here are wide-ranging stories collected from—among others— an Iranian blogger, a United Nations refugee administrator, a taxi driver, and an Iraqi refugee deported from the US.

    Painted in her trademark muted watercolors and written with a self-effacing humor, Rolling Blackouts cements Glidden’s place as one of today’s most original nonfiction voices.

    Sarah Glidden is the author of How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, which won an Ignatz Award. A graduate of Boston University, she lives in Seattle.



    October 11, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Roger Thurow will read from The First 1,000 Days: A Crucial Time for Mothers and Children—And the World.  The 1,000 Days movement, a response to recent, devastating food crises and new research on the economic and social costs of childhood hunger, is focused on providing proper nutrition during the first 1,000 days of children’s lives— days which can profoundly influence an individual’s ability to grow, learn, and work and can thus  determine a society’s long-term health and prosperity.

    The First 1,000 Days takes us into the lives of families on the forefront of the movement to illuminate the science, economics, and politics of malnutrition. It charts both the progress of this global effort and the challenges it faces: economic injustice, disease, lack of education, misogyny, and corruption.

    Roger Thurow is a Senior Fellow for Global Agriculture and Food Policy. He was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal for 30 years. He is co-author of Enough: Why the World’s Poorest Starve in an Age of Plenty, and The Last Hunger Season. He is a 2009 recipient of the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award.


    October 8, 2016 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Tom Lutz will read from And the Monkey Learned Nothing, his reports from fifty countries, describing personal encounters in rarely visited spots and anecdotes from way off the beaten path, on his way to visit every country on earth. “I am astounded at Tom’s ethnographic fragments, his deep knowledge of the regions and peoples, his relentless openness . . . the ways in which he finds meaning in nods, keywords, and gesture,and cultural performance. I love this book—it leaves me devoured by a vast borderless humanity.”—Juan Felipe Herrera

    Tom Lutz is the founder and editor in chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He was a professor of English at the University of Iowa for many years. He is the author of Doing Nothing, Cosmopolitan Vistas, Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears, and American Nervousness, 1903. He teaches at the University of California, Riverside, and lives in Los Angeles, California.

    Marc Nieson will read from Schoolhouse, a memoir about the place where identity and heart intersect. In this modern-day Walden, Nieson retreats to a one-room school house in the rural Iowa woodlands to contemplate the end of a love-affair. “Marc Nieson’s Schoolhouse is a record of wisdom and tenderness, and also a record of spiritual and emotional growth. Intelligent, wary, and observant, the narrator of this chronicle gradually lets us see into his heart and soul.”—Charles Baxter. Marc Nieson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU Film School. His prose has earned two Pushcart Prize nominations, and a Raymond Carver Short Story Award. Nieson currently serves on the MFA faculty of Chatham University, where he is fiction editor of The Fourth River.


    October 8, 2016 - 2:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Novelist and award-winning journalist Okey Ndibe will read from his memoir, Never Look an American in the Eye. Ndibe’s memoir tells of his move from Nigeria to America, where he came to edit the influential African Commentary magazine, published by Chinua Achebe.

    Okey Ndibe has taught at Brown University, Connecticut College, Simon’s Rock College, Trinity College, and the University of Lagos (as a Fulbright scholar). He is the author of two novels, Arrows of Rain and Foreign Gods, Inc. His award-winning journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Hartford Courant. “Never Look an American in the Eye is story of sweeping cultural insight and absurd comedy.” —The Washington Post



    October 8, 2016 - 1:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Alexander Maksik will read from his “scorching third novel" (Publisher’s Weekly), Shelter in Place. "An unsettling and beautiful exploration of mental illness, love, violence, and sexual politics. Maksik’s artful story outruns all sorts of received ideas and slips into deeply original territory. You’ll be haunted by it in the best possible way."—Katie Roiphe

    Alexander Maksik is the author of the novels You Deserve Nothing and A Marker to Measure Drift, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book. He is the recipient of a 2015 Pushcart Prize, as well as fellowships from the Capote Literary Trust and Yaddo. He is the co-artistic director of the Can Cab Literary Residence in Catalonia, Spain.

    Nathan Hill will read from his New York Times bestselling novel, The Nix, which has been named one of fall’s best books by Entertainment Weekly, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, and New York Magazine. "The Nix is a mother-son psychodrama with ghosts and politics, but it’s also a tragicomedy about anger and sanctimony in America. Even the minor characters go to extremes—among them, a Home Ec teacher from Hell and an unrepentant plagiarist with presidential aspirations. For this mother and son, disappointment is ‘the price of hope’—a cost they will both bear. Nathan Hill is a maestro of being terrific.” —John Irving

    Nathan Hill’s short fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, AGNI, The Gettysburg Review, and Fiction, where he was awarded the annual Fiction Prize. A native Iowan, he received a BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He lives in Naples, Florida.



    October 8, 2016 - 11:30am

    Prairie Lights

    Poets Jennifer Knox and Ryan Collins will read from their work.

    Jennifer Knox will read from Days of Shame & Failure. Her previous books are A Gringo Like Me, Drunk by Noon, and The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway. Knox received her BA from the University of Iowa, and her MFA in poetry writing from New York University. She teaches at Iowa State University.

    "Jennifer L. Knox is one of our funniest writers . . .  Days of Shame and Failure is the work of a genius at her peak, the best book yet from one of our most brilliant and sui generis American writers." —Sarah Manguso

    Ryan Collins will read from New American Field Guide & Songbook. Collins is the author of several chapbooks, most recently Where the Wind Bends Backwards. His poems have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, PEN Poetry Series, DIAGRAM, and  Another Chicago Magazine. He curates the SPECTRA Poetry Reading Series in Rock Island, where he lives. “Ryan Collins’ A New American Field Guide & Song Book is a book of prophecy, and it arrives at a moment when America finds itself in great need of prophesying.” —Shane McCrae