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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    March 28, 2015 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Local author and artist Claudia McGehee will give a slide-talk and present her new book, My Wilderness: An Alaskan Adventure. Accompanied by her gorgeous vivid scratchboard-style illustrations, McGehee's lyrical nonfiction story recounts the 1918-1919 winter spent on Alaska's Fox Island from the point of view of nine-year-old Rocky, son of the painter Rockwell Kent.

    Claudia McGehee is an award-winning author and illustrator of three natural history picture books. Raised in the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in Iowa City with her family. 


    March 31, 2015 - 6:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In this special event co-sponsored by The Mission Creek Festival, Ander Monson and Rachel Yoder will read from their work. Ander Monson will read from his new book, Letter to a Future Lover. Through these witty, idiosyncratic essays, Monson reflects on the human need to catalog, preserve, and annotate; the private and public pleasures of reading; the nature of libraries; and how the self can be formed through reading and writing. Monson is the author of six books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Editor of the New Michigan Press, DIAGRAM <>, and Essay Daily, he lives in Tucson, Arizona.

    Iowa Youth Writing Project Director and UI Nonfiction Writing Program graduate Rachel Yoder will read from her work. Yoder’s short fiction and essays have appeared in The New York Times, The Paris Review Daily, The Sun Magazine, and Writing That Risks. She lives in Iowa City and is a founding editor of draft: the journal of process.


    April 1, 2015 - 6:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Emily Wilson and Michael Morse will read from their new books of poetry from Canarium Press in this special Mission Creek Festival Event.  

    Emily Wilson will read from her phenomenal third collection, The Great Medieval Yellows. Wilson is the author of The Keep and Micrographia. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and has designed and printed letterpress books under the imprint Spurwink Press. She lives in Iowa City.

    Michael Morse will read from Void and Compensation. He has published poems in A Public Space, The American Poetry Review, Field, The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, and Ploughshares, The Best American Poetry, 2012 and Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches at The Ethical Culture Fieldston School. 

    "There is a keen and seamless craftsmanship in Michael Morse’s poems, which are beautifully understated and distinctly well made. They are quiet, but they have dark undertows, and I find some of them heartbreaking. There is real quality and depth in the poetry of this gifted and caring poet." — Edward Hirsch



    April 2, 2015 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Former Iowa Citian Tom Lutz will return to Prairie Lights for this special Mission Creek Festival event. Tom Lutz is the founder and editor of Los Angeles Review of Books. He is the author of Doing Nothing, which won the American Book Award, Crying, Cosmopolitan Vistas, and American Nervousness, 1903. Lutz was a UI professor of English for many years, and he has taught at Stanford University, CalArts, University of Copenhagen, and now at UC Riverside.


    April 2, 2015 - 6:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In this special Mission Creek Festival event, authors Kerry Howley and Arna Bontemps Hemenway will read from their work published by Sarabande Books. Kerry Howley will read from Thrown, a darkly comic account of three years spent in the company of mixed martial artists, narrated from the perspective of an excitable, semi-fictionalized graduate student. Howley holds an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program and teaches creative writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

    Arna Bontemps Hemenway will read from his short story collection, Elegy on Kinderklavier. This collection is a disquieting exploration of loss during wartime. Hemenway has received a B.A. from the University of Iowa, a Certificate in Modern Hebrew from the University of Haifa, Israel, and an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is an Assistant Professor of English in Creative Writing at Baylor University.


    April 3, 2015 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event for the Mission Creek Festival, a panel of editors featuring Tom Lutz, Christopher Beha and Jessica Hopper will talk about digital publishing. Tom Lutz is the editor and founder of the LA Review of Books, Christopher Beha is a deputy editor at Harper’s Magazine, and Jessica Hopper is a senior editor at The Pitchfork Review. Reception to follow in the café.



    April 4, 2015 - 12:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program graduate Eula Biss will talk about her book On Immunity, a fascinating exploration of the metaphors and myths surrounding our conception of immunity and its implications for the individual and the social body.  On Immunity was one of the New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2014, one of the Millions Most Anticipated Books, and A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice. Biss is the author of Notes from No Man’s Land, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and The Balloonists. Her essays have appeared in the Believer and Harper’s. She teaches at Northwestern University and lives in Chicago.


    April 4, 2015 - 6:00pm

    The Mill Restaurant

    Headlining the event, Mission Creek Festival’s 2015 Writer-in-Residence Kiese Laymon will cap off a week of community outreach in Iowa City with his own powerful reading. Before Kiese takes the stage at the Mill, Sarah Gerard will read from Binary Star, we’ll hear poetry from “the smutty-metaphor queen of Lawrence, Kansas” (NY Times) Patricia Lockwood, and longtime MCF friend Amelia Gray will catch us up on her latest, Gutshot.


    April 4, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers from the current issue of Earthwords, The University of Iowa’s oldest undergraduate literary magazine, will read from their new issue featuring the best in undergraduate fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, photography and art from student writers across campus. Reception to follow in the café.



    April 5, 2015 - 5:00pm

    The Mill Restaurant


    Mission Creek Favorite, poet/actress Amber Tamblyn, will read from her new book of poetry, Dark Sparkler. The poems in Dark Sparkler feature subjects from Marilyn Monroe and Frances Farmer to Dana Plato and Brittany Murphy— Dark Sparkler is a surprising and provocative collection from a young artist of wide-ranging talent, culminating in an extended, confessional epilogue of astonishing candor and poetic command. Tamblyn is a contributing writer for the Poetry Foundation and the author of Free Stallion and Bang Ditto. As an actress, she has been nominated for an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and an Independent Spirit award. She lives in Los Angeles, California, and Brooklyn, NY.

    Derrick Brown will read from his new book, Poison Horse. Written from the pastoral setting of his new home in Elgin, Texas, Brown presents this new collection of his most personal work to date. Former paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne, gondolier, magician, and fired weatherman, Brown has performed at over 1500 venues and universities internationally, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, La Sorbonne in Paris and CBGB’s in NYC. As president/captain of Write Bloody Publishing, he is dedicated to bringing American poetry into rock and roll status. He has performed with The Cold War Kids, The Flaming Lips and comedian David Cross. His work has been featured in books with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco, and Billy Collins.