Live From Prairie Lights
“Live from Prairie Lights” is an internationally known readings series, which features some of the best up-and-coming and well-established authors & poets from all over the globe. Presented before a live audience and streamed over the world wide web, this long running series brings the spoken word from the bookstore to the masses.
Most readings begin @ 7:00 p.m. Arrive early to assure yourself a seat.
July 7, 2015 - 7:00pm
Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates Michelle Falkoff and Paula Morris will read from their work. Michelle Falkoff will read from her Young Adult novel, Playlist for the Dead. Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Playlist for the Dead centers around fifteen-year-old Sam’s search for the emotional source of his friend Hayden’s suicide using the clues in the playlist Hayden left for him.
Michelle Falkoff's fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVA, DoubleTake, and the Harvard Review. She currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University School of Law. This is her first novel.
Paula Morris will read from her masterful new Young Adult novel, The Eternal City, a tale of gods and goddesses, thrilling romance, and mystery set in present-day Rome. For Laura Martin, a visitor to the “eternal city,” everything from the Colosseum to the Pantheon seems magical. That is, until the magic seems to turn very dark. Paula Morris is the author of Ruined, Dark Souls, Unbroken, and several award-winning novels for adults in her native New Zealand. She now lives in England with her husband.
July 8, 2015 - 7:00pm
Spoken word artist Dasha Kelly will read from her new novel, Almost Crimson. With the poetic dexterity of Nikki Giovanni and an unforgettable cast of compassionate characters, Dasha Kelly examines one young woman’s struggle to overcome her mother’s depression and father’s absence and live life on her own terms.
Dasha Kelly is the author of the chapbook Hither and the books All Fall Down, Hershey Eats Peanuts, and Call It Forth. She has performed throughout the U.S. and Canada and appeared on HBO Presents Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, is an alum of the Squaw Valley Writers Community, and founder of Still Waters Collective, an arts education and community-building initiative. In 2014, she was selected as a U.S. Embassy Arts Envoy to teach and perform in Botswana, Africa. She lives in Milwaukee, WI.
“Dasha Kelly’s Almost Crimson is a beautiful, poignant account of many lives, tremendous intersections, journeys to wholeness, and an exploration of love and community. This book rightly deserves a place alongside the works of Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, and Toni Cade Bambara.”
July 12, 2015 - 2:00pm
Nationally syndicated agricultural columnist Alan Guebert and his daughter, Mary Grace Foxwell, will read from their new book, The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey. The book is a collection of personal memories written over the past two decades by Guebert as part of his weekly "Farm and Food File" column. Each column recalls and reflects on the people, food, and values he learned on the 720-acre, 100-cow southern Illinois dairy farm in the late 1960s.
"Alan Guebert is one of America's finest writers on the workings and the politics of our food system. This book eloquently describes a rural way of life that's been lost. But the values of that world—family, community, social justice, a respect for the land—are timeless." –Eric Schlosser
Alan Guebert has written the nationally syndicated column "The Farm and Food File" since 1993. His awards include Writer of the Year and Master Writer from the American Agricultural Editors' Association. He lives in rural Delavan, Illinois. Mary Grace Foxwell is a graduate of Saint Mary's College. She and her husband co-direct a social media advisory firm in Madison, Wisconsin.
July 13, 2015 - 7:00pm
Doug Goetsch will read from his new collection of poetry, Nameless Boy, published by Orchises Press. “These beautifully crafted poems are awake, alive, and full of compassion.”—Tony Hoagland
Douglas Goetsch, the author of three collections of poetry including The Joy of Being Everybody, and four prize winning chapbooks, is an itinerant teacher of writing and founding editor of Jane Street Press in New York City.
July 14, 2015 - 7:00pm
Tim Bascom returns to Prairie Lights to read from his new memoir, Running to the Fire: An American Missionary Comes of Age in Revolutionary Ethiopa. In the streets of Addis Ababa in 1977, shop-front posters illustrate Uncle Sam being strangled by an Ethiopian revolutionary, parliamentary leaders are executed, student protesters are gunned down, and Christian mission converts are targeted as imperialistic sympathizers. Into this world arrives sixteen-year-old Tim Bascom, whose missionary parents have brought their family from a small town in Kansas straight into Colonel Mengistu’s Marxist “Red Terror.” Running to the Fire focuses on the turbulent year the Bascom family experienced upon traveling into revolutionary Ethiopia.
Tim Bascom is the author of a previous memoir, Chameleon Days and has been included in The Best American Travel Writing. A graduate of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa, he lives in Newton, Iowa, with his wife and two sons.
July 15, 2015 - 7:00pm
Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates Marc Rahe and Daniel Khalastchi will read from their work.
Marc Rahe will read from his second collection, On Hours, from Rescue Press. In this stunning book, Rahe reveals himself as an occasionally grave and often humorous master of observation whose poems note the natural in the mechanical and the wild in the wonder. Rahe is the author of the poetry collection The Smaller Half, and his poems have appeared in Gutcult, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, jubilat, Petri Press, Sixth Finch, and other literary journals. He lives in Iowa City and works for a human service agency.
Daniel Khalastchi will read from his second collection, Tradition, published by McSweeney’s. These wildly imaginative poems bring to life a speaker struggling to find balance between familial pressure and personal identity, religious faith and recognition of the world’s calamities. Khalastchi is the author of Manoleria, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Prize, and his poems have appeared in journals including Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Forklift, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, jubilat, Kenyon Review and MAKE Magazine. He lives in Iowa City where he is the Associate Director of the University of Iowa’s Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing and a co-editor of Rescue Press.
July 20, 2015 - 7:00pm
Writers’ Workshop graduate Naomi Jackson will read from her debut novel, The Star Side of Bird Hill. This lyrical novel of community, betrayal, and love centers on an unforgettable matriarchal family in Barbados. Two sisters, aged ten and sixteen, are exiled from Brooklyn to Bird Hill in Barbados (where the family has lived for centuries) after their mother can no longer care for them due to her debilitating depression.
Naomi Jackson was born and raised in Brooklyn by West Indian parents. While studying at Iowa she was awarded the Maytag Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction, and later traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship.
“Jackson has written a first novel full of heart and heartbreak, a novel about going home, about the ties that bind three generations of women across years and despite absence. It is a bittersweet lesson in learning to recognize love.” —Ayana Mathis
July 21, 2015 - 7:00pm
In a special program sponsored by The University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, Nazmi Ağil, Mary Hickman and Armen of Armenia will read from their work.
Poet and translator Nazmi Ağil teaches in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Koç University-–Istanbul. His most recent collections include Yağmura Bunca Düşkün [So Fond of Rain], and Yavaş Matematik [Slow Math]. Among his translations are Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and Alexander Pope’s The Rape of the Lock.
Mary Hickman is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her poems have been published in Boston Review, Colorado Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. Her first book, This Is the Homeland, has just been published by Ahsahta Press. She’s at work on an artist’s book and co-edits Black Rainbow Editions in Nebraska.
Armen of Armenia is a writer and activist. His first book, The Return of Kikos, is a collection of interactive short stories which encourages readers to act as co-authors. His work has appeared in the literary almanac Inqnagir and the Gretert literary newspaper.