Prairie Lights

Live From Prairie Lights

Archive“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.

The Writing University live streams many of our readings here.
The Live from Prairie Lights audio archive is available here.
Iowa City PATV has a video archive of readings located here.
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    September 23, 2014 - 5:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The new chair of English PEN Maureen Freely, novelist, journalist, translator and activist, visiting UI as an Ida Beam Distinguished Professor, will read and talk about her fiction and translation work. English PEN is the founding centre of a global literary network that works to defend and promote free expression, and to remove barriers to literature.

    Maureen Freely has written seven novels, as well as non-fiction. She is professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick and the director of its writing program. Her novel Sailing through Byzantium was named as one of the best novels of 2014 in both the TLS and the Sunday Times, and she has translated five books by the Turkish Nobel Laureate Orhan Pamuk. Freely has worked closely with English PEN for 15 years, with a particular focus on freedom of expression in Turkey.


    September 23, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Caroline Manring and Julie Joosten will read from their new books of poetry.

    Caroline Manring will read from Manual for Extinction, published by The National Poetry Review Press. "Operating instructions for a disintegrating world and a field-guide to the vanishing, this startling first book tracks an ecopoetics of systems that persist despite it all. And though Manring fills her pages with the fragility of the animals at our mercy, counting humans among them, she does so with a wry eye and a surprising amount of bounce and zip." —Cole Swensen

    Caroline Manring's poetry has appeared in Colorado Review, Drunken Boat, Conduit, H_NGM_N, Sixth Finch, and elsewhere. She currently teaches creative writing and environmental literature at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She lives in Ithaca, New York.

    Julie Joosten will read from Light, Light. Light Light puts the hive back in the archive, the source in the resource. Through Joosten’s miraculous mode of attending, through this mind that “grounds sound to seed,” we are elemented – We are given a mode of attending that is precarious, is an enactment of the precariousness we are and, with consequence, institute.” – Jane Gregory

    Julie Joosten’s poems and reviews can be read in Jacket 2, Tarpaulin Sky, The Malahat Review, and The Fiddlehead. She lives in Toronto.


    September 24, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Kevin Clouther and Mike Meginnis will read from their new fiction, published by Black Balloon Press.

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and Richard Yates Fiction Award-winner Kevin Clouther will read from We Were Flying to Chicago, his  stunning debut short story collection in which characters find unexpected moments of profound insight while navigating the monotony of daily life. "Kevin Clouther's remarkable collection illustrates, page by page, the unique joys of reading short fiction. By turns subversive and poignant, darkly humorous and deeply moving, these ten stories show us the author's expansive range and the heart that drives his imagination." —Bret Anthony Johnston

    Clouther has worked at The Iowa Review, Meridian and was fiction editor at The Virginia. He teaches creative writing at Stony Brook University, where he coordinates the Program in Writing Reading Series, and John Hopkins. He lives in Floral Park, New York with his wife and son.

    Iowa City resident & Horatio Nelson Fiction Prize-winner Mike Meginnis will read from Fat Man and Little Boy. In this striking debut novel, the atomic bombs dropped on Japan are personified. This small measure of humanity is a cruelty the bombs must suffer. Given life from death, the brothers' journey is one of surreal and unsettling discovery, transforming these symbols of mass destruction into beacons of longing and hope.

    Meginnis has published stories in Best American Short Stories 2012, The Collagist, PANK, and other journals. He earned his MFA at New Mexico State University, and  now lives and works in Iowa City, where he operates Uncanny Valley Press with his wife, Tracy Rae Bowling.


    September 25, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Edan Lepucki will read from her bestselling dystopian novel, California. California tells the apocalyptic story of a young couple, Cal and Frida, who flee a destroyed and decaying Los Angeles to live in the wilderness. When they discover Frida is expecting a baby, they seek protection from a guarded community and find that safety there comes with dangers of its own. California received a great deal of attention prior to publication when it was endorsed by Sherman Alexie on The Colbert Report, and it was championed by Colbert in a movement to support publisher Hachette by pre-ordering the book from independent bookseller Powell’s.   

    Lepucki is the author of the novella If You’re Not Yet Like Me, and her fiction has been published in McSweeney's, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Narrative Magazine, Meridian, and FiveChapters. In 2009 she received the James D. Phelan Award. She is a staff writer for The Millions, and she is the founder and director of Writing Workshops Los Angeles.


    September 26, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Lin Enger will read from his masterful Western reinvention of Homer's Odyssey, The High Divide. Ulysses Pope has left his family behind on the far edge of Minnesota’s western prairie with only the briefest of notes and no explanation for why he left or where he’s headed. It doesn’t take long for Gretta’s young sons, Eli and Danny, to set off after him, following the scant clues they can find, jumping trains to get where they need to go, and ending up in the rugged badlands of Montana.

    Enger is the recipient of a James Michener Award and a Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship. His short stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Ascent, Great River Review, Wolf Head Quarterly, and other journals. He teaches at Minnesota State University Moorhead.

    “A deeply moving, gripping novel about one man’s quest for redemption and his family’s determination to learn the truth . . .  Layered with meaning, this remarkable novel deserves to be read more than once. The High Divide proves Enger’s chops as a masterful storyteller.” —Ann Weisgarber 


    September 27, 2014 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Long-time Iowa City resident Gerhild Krapf will do a reading from Ring Around the Poesy, A Cycle of Children's Poems and Illustrations, which she wrote and illustrated. Inspired in part by her first-generation German upbringing, the book is a cycle of playful poems for children of all ages that is rooted in a fairy tale view of the world that celebrates animals, nature and many other joys of existence. Gerhild Krapf received bachelors and masters degrees in music (in organ, studying with her father, the late Gerhard Krapf, and Del Disselhorst) and later, JD and MBA degrees—all from the University of Iowa. She has held a variety of administrative positions at the University of Iowa, currently serving as Special Assistant to the Dean of the College of Law.  

  • IWP Reading: Banerjee, Kabu and Axel

    September 28, 2014 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    IWP residents Binayak Banerjee (India) and Mamle Kabu (Ghana) will be joined by Iowa Writers' Workshop MFA candidate Andy Axel at this free event.

    Binayak BANERJEE (fiction writer, poet, playwright; India) is the author of the novels [A Year with Sohagini] (2008), [The Winner] (2009), and [Star Harbor] (2011), the poem collections [You My Life, You Alien] (2008), and [One Hundred Love Poems] (2013), and, in 2013, the play [Rabindranath Public Limited] (2013). He writes for Bengali literary magazines, is engaged with the Shakespeare Society of Eastern India, and teaches English at the Sri Ram Roy School and the Syamaprasad College in Kolkata.

    Mamle KABU (fiction writer; Ghana) is the author of the young adult novel The Kaya-Girl (2012), and is currently working on her first novel. Her stories, which include “The End of
    Skill” (shortlisted for the 2009 Caine Prize), "Human Mathematics” and "Story of Faith" have been anthologized across Africa, the U.S. and the UK. She is the associate director of the Writers Project of Ghana.


    September 29, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Cristina Henriquez will read from her novel, The Book of Unknown Americans. This extraordinary novel offers a resonant new definition of what it means to be American. In what Michiko Kaukatani describes as the novel’s “choral structure — made up of first-person reminiscences from an array of characters from Latin American countries including Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, Paraguay, Nicaragua and Venezuela all of whom talk to us directly about their reasons for coming to the United States,” The Book of Unknown Americans gives voice to a population many people choose to avoid.

    Henríquez is the author of The Book of Unknown Americans, The World In Half, and Come Together, Fall Apart: A Novella and Stories, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection.

    Henríquez, whose father emigrated to the United States from Panama in the 1970s, is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Chicago.                 


    September 30, 2014 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    In an special event at the Englert Theatre, Nonfiction Writing Program graduates Tim Denevi and Jennifer Percy will talk about their books written from the frontlines of mental illness.  

    Timothy Denevi will read from his explosive new memoir, Hyper: A Personal History of ADHD. "At once both memoir and social history,  Hyper chronicles what it was like to grow up as a kind of guinea pig for the treatment of ADHD in the 1980's . . . Timothy Denevi has written a fascinating and sometimes disturbing account, never self-pitying but consistently illuminating and riveting." — Robin Hemley

    Denevi has been awarded fellowships including one  by The MacDowell Colony he is currently  the Nonfiction Visiting Writer in the MFA program at George Mason University. 

    Iowa Nonfiction Program and Iowa Writers'  Workshop graduate Jen Percy will read from and talk about her haunting and immersive debut, Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism. The book explores PTSD and its attempted treatments, focusing on an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who seeks relief from his suffering from a religious community that performs exorcisms.  Winner of a Pushcart Prize and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, her work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Republic, and The Oxford American. She teaches writing at New York University. 

    This event is part of the Intimate Series at the Englert, presented with the artists and audience onstage together, and is free and open to the public.


    October 1, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Merritt Tierce will read from her novel, Love Me Back.  "Merritt Tierce's debut novel, Love Me Back, is a gorgeous, dirty razor of prose—sharp and dangerous and breathtaking. This is a defiant story about a young woman choosing the life and motherhood that is best for her, without apology. At times, Love Me Back puts Marie into such vulnerable, honest, reckless places you want to cringe, but the fierce strength of Tierce's writing and the electric wonder of Marie's character will not allow you to look away." —Roxane Gay

    Merritt Tierce was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, was born and raised in Texas, and graduated from college at the age of 19. While in the Writers’ Workshop she was named a Meta Rosenberg Fellow, and has been a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. She lives near Dallas.