July 18, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Sandra Scofield will read from Mysteries of Love and Grief: Reflections on a Plainswoman’s Life. Mysteries of Love and Grief is the story of Scofield’s grandmother, who, widowed at thirty and left with three children in the midst of the Great Depression, worked as a farmer, a railroad cook, a mill worker, and a nurse in four states. “Throughout her depiction of her own family, Scofield kept me surprised—a moment of generosity when I didn't expect it or of anger when I didn't expect that. Mysteries remain as they must, but I trusted the insights as well as the mysteries. I thought it was a very beautiful book, smart and sharp.” —Karen Joy Fowler

    Sandra Scofield is the author of seven novels, including Beyond Deserving, a National Book Award finalist. Scofield is the author of The Scene Book and Occasions of Sin.  She lives in southern Oregon, and is teaching this summer at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.


  • HANNAH PITTARD - August 29, 2016

    July 13, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights


    This event has been rescheduled to August 29th, 2016 at 7pm.


    July 12, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Poets Rachel Moritz and John Koethe will read from their work. Rachel Moritz will read from Borrowed Wave. This debut collection explores the terrain of memory and desire as it’s mapped onto language. What is the connection between thinking and feeling, these poems ask. And how do boundaries in time and space find expression in our lives? Calling on traditions of lyric experiment in American poetry stretching back to Emily Dickinson, Borrowed Wave employs the image as connective tissue between states of formlessness and constraint.

    Rachel Moritz's poems have been published in American Letters and Commentary, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Verse Daily, and VOLT.  She received an MFA from the University of Minnesota and has taught writing at Hamline University, Macalester College, the University of Minnesota, and The Loft Literary Center. She lives with her partner and son in Minneapolis, where she works as an exhibit developer, teaches with COMPAS and Alzheimer’s Poetry Project–Minnesota, and mentors in poetry through the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop.

    John Koethe will read from The Swimmer. In his tenth volume of poetry, Koethe investigates the capricious nature of everyday life. His poems―always dynamic and in process, never static or complete―luxuriate in the questions that punctuate the most humdrum of routines, rendering a robust portrait of an individual: complicated, quotidian, and resounding with truth. The Swimmer argues that this “energizes everything”: life’s trivialities, surprises, and disappointments, and the “terrible feeling of being just about to fall.”

    John Koethe is the author of Falling Water and 95th Street Poems. He has received the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and the Frank O’Hara Award. He has also published books on Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosophical skepticism, and poetry, and is the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.



    July 11, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, Vu Tran will read from his highly acclaimed novel, Dragonfish. “Is this an immigrant saga disguised as a crime novel, or a smart thriller that just happens to be set in the Vietnamese immigrant community in Las Vegas? It’s both — but what matters is that Vu Tran has written a debut novel of uncommon artistry, about a group of Vietnamese Americans and the history of love, violence, and sacrifice that binds them together and tears them apart. —Tom Perrotta

    Vu Tran is a graduate of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a winner of a Whiting Award recognizing exceptional talent and promise. He teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago.


    July 10, 2016 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Theodore Wheeler, Tyrone Jaeger and Dave Madden will read from their new books, Bad Faith, So Many True Believers, and If You Need Me I’ll Be Over There. The reading is a collaboration between Queen’s Ferry Press and Indiana University Press.

    Theodore Wheeler will read from his debut collection of stories, Bad Faith, “a perfect lesson in perfidy, deception, and duplicity, a contemplative exploration of the vagaries of the double-minded human heart.” Amina Gautier  Theodore Wheeler’s short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines. A graduate of the Creighton University creative writing program, he’s won the Tarcher/Penguin Top Artist Writing Contest, the Marianne Russo Award from the Key West Literary Semina. He lives in Omaha, where he is a legal reporter covering the civil courts of Nebraska.

    Tyrone Jaeger will read from So Many True Believers, his debut collection of stories. "Tyrone Jaeger is a new writer with a big heart, a delight in language, and a deft and subtle touch; So Many True Believers is gentle and melancholy, a story collection linked like a set of Christmas lights, a series of bright bulbs glowing against the cold and dark night." —Lauren Groff   Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains, Tyrone Jaeger has also lived in Florida, Ireland, California, and Colorado. A graduate of the PhD program in creative writing at the University of Nebraska, he currently teaches at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

    Dave Madden will read from If You Need Me, I’ll Be Over There. "Dave Madden has again given us a wonder of a book. These charismatic stories, as funny as they are sad, are attuned to the possibility of disorder beneath every human aspiration." —Paul Lisicky   Dave Madden is author of The Authentic Animal: Inside the Odd and Obsessive World of Taxidermy. His shorter work has appeared in Harper’s, Prairie Schooner, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the Sherwood Anderson Award in fiction and an AWP Intro Journals Award in nonfiction. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco.



    June 30, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by Between the Lines, a part of The University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, American, Arabic and Russian poets, Dora Malech, Karim Alrawi and Alisa Ganieva will read from their work.

    Dora Malech is a poet, professor, and visual artist. She is the author of two books of poetry, Say So and Shore Ordered Ocean. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Yale Review, and Tin House. She has been the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation Center, and she has served as Distinguished Poet-in-Residence at Saint Mary's College of California. She is a co-founder and former director of the arts outreach organization the Iowa Youth Writing Project. She lives in Baltimore, where she is on the faculty of The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University, and is serving as an inaugural Engaged Faculty Fellow through the JHU Center for Social Concern in 2015-2016.

    Karim Alrawi is an Egyptian novelist and playwright with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. In addition to many plays for stage, radio, and television, he is the author of two children’s books and, more recently, of the novel Book of Sands, which won the HarperCollins/UBC Best New Fiction Prize. His international honors include the John Whiting Award for his stage plays, the Samuel Beckett Award for the Performing Arts and several Canada Council for the Arts awards. A former editor of the magazine Arabica, he has taught creative writing at the University of Victoria, the University of British Columbia, and the American University in Cairo.

    Alisa Ganieva is a fiction writer and essayist from Dagestan (southern Russia) now based in Moscow. A graduate of the Maxim Gorky Institute of Literature and Creative Writing, she published Salam Dalgat!, her controversial first book, under a male pseudonym, winning the 2009 national Debut Prize. Her next novel was published in the US in 2015 as The Mountain and The Wall. Her most recent novel, The Bride and the Bridegroom, shortlisted for the 2015 Russian Booker, will appear in US in 2016. In 2015 The Guardian listed her among the “30 most talented young people living in Moscow.” 


    June 24, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City landscaping design professional Judy Nauseef will talk about and show slides from her new book from University of Iowa Press, Gardening with Native Plants in the Upper Midwest.  “This is a superlative book addressing one of the most important garden design trends of this century. Judy Nauseef demonstrates a great depth of knowledge about sustainability, landscape design, deer resistant plants, wildflower meadows, and irrigation and plant management techniques. The book is clear, easy to follow and understand. Readers will reap a great deal of information about plants, drainage, midwestern prairie gardens, and biodiversity. Her guidelines are easy to follow for homeowners and landscape professionals.”—Joel M. Lerner, FAPLD, president, Environmental Design

    Judy Nauseef has been a professional landscape designer for more than twenty-five years. A certified fellow and past president of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and an Iowa Nursery and Landscape Association certified nursery professional, she has won awards from the Association of Professional Landscape Designers and the Perennial Plant Association. The owner of Judy Nauseef Landscape Design, she lives on an acreage in Johnson County, Iowa.


    June 23, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Michelle Cruz Gonzales will read from The Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band. Though not a riot grrl band, Spitboy blazed trails for women musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, but it wasn’t easy. Misogyny, sexism, abusive fans, class and color blindness, and all-out racism were foes, especially for Gonzales, a Xicana and the only person of color in the band.

    Unlike touring rock bands before them, the unapologetically feminist Spitboy preferred Scrabble games between shows rather than sex and drugs, and they were not the angry manhaters that many expected them to be. Serious about women’s issues and being the band that they themselves wanted to hear, a band that rocked as hard as men but sounded like women, Spitboy released several records and toured internationally. The memoir details these travels while chronicling Spitboy’s successes and failures, and for Gonzales, discovering her own identity along the way.

    Fully illustrated with rare photos and flyers from the punk rock underground, this fast-paced, first-person recollection is populated by scenesters and musical allies from the time including Econochrist, Paxston Quiggly, Neurosis, Los Crudos, Aaron Cometbus, Pete the Roadie, Green Day, Fugazi, and Kamala and the Karnivores.

    The Spitboy Rule is a compelling and insightful journey into the world of ’90s punk as seen through the eyes of a Xicana drummer who goes by the nickname Todd. Todd stirs the pot by insisting that she plays hardcore punk, not Riot Grrrl music, and inviting males to share the dance floor with women in a respectful way. This drummer never misses a beat. Read it!”
—Alice Bag, singer for the Bags, author of Violence Girl: East L.A. Rage to Hollywood Stage, a Chicana Punk Story


    June 22, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Lon Otto will read from his third collection of stories, A Man in Trouble, from Brighthorse Books. “From Victorian home crawl spaces, to near-calamitous fishing ventures, to inner city foot-chases, Lon Otto explores the flash points in families, in friendships, and in the dynamics of a racially mixed community. This is a moving collection of stories that deftly explores the boundaries of trust and compassion—and it is a book many readers have been waiting for. I loved it. It was well worth the wait.” —Jim Heynen

    Lon Otto is the author of A Nest of Hooks, winner of the Iowa School of Letters Award for Short Fiction, the short story collection Cover Me, and the craft chapbook Grit. His work is widely anthologized. He regularly teaches in the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival and is professor emeritus at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.


    June 21, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Judy Polumbaum will present a slide talk of her new book, Juxtapositions: Images from the Newseum Ted Polumbaum Photo Collection.

    Using the motif of paired pictures, this volume of selections from the vast Ted Polumbaum collection in the Newseum in Washington, D.C. draws attention to human connections across time, culture, and geography that all generations can appreciate. As a photojournalist, Ted Polumbaum documented some of the most important news events and social movements of the second half of the twentieth century. On assignment for the era's great picture magazines as well as through independent projects, he photographed athletes, artists, parades, protests, and more. Above all, traveling throughout the Americas and around the world, he chronicled the lives and aspirations of ordinary people. Along with cameos of political and cultural icons, the book offers a clear and generous vision of the human condition in all its commonality and variety.

    Judy Polumbaum is a professor of journalism and mass communication. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa. Ted Polumbaum was a freelance journalist whose photographs appeared in publications such as Life, Look, The New York Times Magazine, The Saturday Evening Post, and Time.