November 15, 2015 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author Delia Ray will read from her terrific new book, Finding Fortune.  

    This book for 9-12 year olds and the young at heart is about what happens when twelve-year-old Ren finds out that running away from home (in an attempt to fix a parental situation) isn’t as easy as she thought it would be. Ren goes to an adjoining town, Fortune (nicknamed Mis-Fortune), and rents a cheap room in an abandoned schoolhouse. Once she enters the school's shadowy halls, Ren finds herself drawn into its secrets.

    “Ray expertly incorporates the forgotten history of shell harvesting towns along the Mississippi in an absorbing and well-written story that recalls Kate DiCamillo’s Because of Winn-Dixie.” —Publisher’s Weekly

    Delia Ray is the author of Ghost Girl, Singing Hands, Here Lies Linc, A Nation Torn, Gold! The Klondike Adventure, and Behind the Blue and Gray. She lives in Iowa City with her husband and daughters on eight acres of land, overlooking a bend in the river.


    November 13, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Ray Young Bear will read from his definitive new poetry collection, Manifestation Wolverine. Hailed by the Bloomsbury Review as “the nation’s foremost contemporary Native American poet” and by Sherman Alexie as “the best poet in Indian Country,” Ray Young Bear draws on ancient Meskwaki tradition and modern popular culture to create poems that provoke, astound, and heal.

    This indispensable volume, which contains three previously published collections: Winter of the Salamander, The Invisible Musician, and The Rock Island Hiking Club as well as Manifestation Wolverine, a brilliant series of new pieces inspired by animistic beliefs, a Lazy-Boy recliner, and the word songs Young Bear sang to his children, is a testament to the singularity of the poet’s talent and the astonishing range of his voice.

    Ray Young Bear is a lifetime resident of the Meskwaki Settlement in central Iowa. The recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ray Young Bear has taught creative writing and Native American literature at numerous schools across the United States, including the University of Iowa and the Institute of American Indian Arts. A singer as well as an author, Young Bear is a cofounder of the Woodland Singers & Dancers, which performs contemporary and traditional tribal dances throughout the country.


    November 12, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, Matthew Gavin Frank will talk about his new book, The Mad Feast: An Ecstatic Tour Through America's Food. Following his critically acclaimed Preparing the Ghost, renowned essayist Matthew Gavin Frank takes on America’s food. In a surprising style reminiscent of Maggie Nelson or Mark Doty, Frank examines a quintessential dish in each state, interweaving the culinary with personal and cultural associations of each region. Frank has previously written about everything from wine-making in a tent in Italy to the social hierarchies of a pot farm in California. He teaches creative writing and lives in Marquette, Michigan.

    “Rich, exuberant, unexpected.”—Leslie Jamison


    November 11, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us for a special event for the literary journal Conjunctions, featuring contributors John D'Agata and Elizabeth Willis. The event is part of Conjunctions' new Cities Series, which brings the journal's writers and readers face to face in independent bookstores across the country, paying homage to the rich regional diversity of our literary landscape. Prairie Lights will be the first bookstore in the nation to offer copies of Conjunctions: 65, Sleights of Hand, The Deception Issue (Fall 2015), which features work by Laura van den Berg, Porochista Khakpour, Rae Armantrout, Can Xue, Joyce Carol Oates, Eleni Sikelianos, Terese Svoboda, Yannick Murphy, and many others.

    John D’Agata is the Director of the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program and is the author of Halls of Fame, About a Mountain, The Lifespan of a Fact, and is the editor of The Next American Essay, and The Lost Origins of the Essay. Elizabeth Willis is on the permanent poetry faculty for the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and her poetry collection  Alive: New and Selected Poems was recently published by New York Review of Books.


    November 11, 2015 - 5:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the University of Iowa’s Injury Prevention Research Center, Sam Quinones will read from Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic. Dreamland chronicles how, over the past 15 years, communities all over the United States where heroin had never been seen before, found themselves overrun with it. Who was bringing it here, and why were so many people suddenly eager for the comparatively cheap high it offered?

    Quinones weaves together two classic tales of American capitalism: The stories of young men in Mexico, independent of the drug cartels, in search of their own American Dream via the fast and enormous profits of trafficking cheap black-tar heroin to America's rural and suburban addicts; and that of Purdue Pharma, determined to corner the market on pain with its new and expensive (and addictive) miracle drug, Oxycontin.

    Quinones illuminates how these two stories fit together as cause and effect. Embroiled alongside the suppliers and buyers are DEA agents, small-town sheriffs, and the US attorney whose case against Purdue Pharma made him an enemy of the Bush-era Justice Department.

    Sam Quinones is a journalist and author whose two acclaimed books of narrative nonfiction about Mexico and Mexican immigration True Tales from Another Mexico and Antonio’s Gun and Delfino’s Dream have made him, according to the San Francisco Chronicle Book Review, the most original writer on Mexico and the border. He lives in Southern California.


    November 10, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Writing Lads — local authors Rob Cline, Dennis Green, and Lennox Randon — return to read from their new books.  

    Rob Cline will read from his new story collection, Slices. Cline is the author of Murder by the Slice. He is the Director of Marketing and Communications for The University of Iowa’s Hancher and a freelance writer specializing in arts and culture.

    Dennis Green will read from Prisoner, the second novel in the Traveler Chronicles. Green’s first novel, Traveler, was released in 2013, and scored in the Top Ten in the 2014 Ben Franklin Independent Publishing awards. Green’s writing has appeared in the anthology Sadistic Shorts, magazines including Grift and Romance and Beyond, as well as his own blog at He also writes for and edits the triathlon news site

    Lennox Randon will read from the novel Memoirs of a Dead White Chick. Randon is also the author of Friends Dogs Bullets Lovers, and is a graduate of the Houston Police Academy and The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in Education. He has worked as a police officer, technical writer, and teacher. Randon currently lives in Iowa with his wife and daughter.


    November 9, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Andrew Malan Milward will read from his short story collection, I Was a Revolutionary.  Grounded in the heartland, spanning the Civil War to the present day, the stories in I Was a Revolutionary capture the roil of history through the eyes of an unforgettable cast of characters: the visionaries and dreamers, radical farmers and socialist journalists, quack doctors and protesters who haunt the past and present landscape of the state of Kansas.

    Andrew Malan Milward is the author of the story collection The Agriculture Hall of Fame, which was awarded the Juniper Prize in Fiction by the University of Massachusetts. He has served as the McCreight Fiction Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, a Steinbeck Fellow at San Jose State University, and has received fellowships and awards from the Lannan Foundation, Jentel, and Yaddo. He lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where he teaches at the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers and is editor-in-chief of Mississippi Review.

    “In this brilliant, inventive collection, Milward channels ghosts from his native Kansas into eight stories that could spring only from that fraught border of the Civil War.” —New York Times Book Review


    November 8, 2015 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Join us for the Iowa Youth Writing Project Student Reading! K-12 students will share pieces they’ve written during an IYWP program this semester. A small reception will follow the reading.


    November 6, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event co-sponsored by Post 45, Brian T. Edwards will talk about his new book, After the American Century.  Arguing against those who talk about a world in which American culture is merely replicated or appropriated, Edwards focuses on creative moments of uptake, in which Arabs and Iranians make something unexpected. He argues that these products do more than extend the reach of the original. They reflect a world in which culture endlessly circulates and gathers new meanings.

    After the American Century offers a fascinating tour of the appropriation and deployment of American popular culture in a globalized, restless Middle East. From cinema and novels to hip-hop and comic books, this wonderfully written and richly observed book presents novel and exciting readings of familiar cultural forms in new political environments. —Marc Lynch

    Brian T. Edwards is Professor of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University.


    November 5, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Matthew Neill Null will read from Honey from the Lion, a  turn of the century novel of a Virginia Alleghenies logging community. Matthew Neill Null’s fiction appears in American Short Fiction, Ecotone, the Oxford American, Ploughshares, The PEN /O. Henry Prize Stories, and The Best American Mystery Stories 2014. He is a West Virginia native and he was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, where he is currently the writing coordinator.

    “One of the most assured debuts of the year...Null’s compressed, lyrical prose penetrates every darkness and wheels through time like a soaring bird.” —Jayne Anne Phillips