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.

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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    October 23, 2017 - 7:00pm

    In a special event co-sponsored by The International Writing Program, Iowa City author and Professor Emeritus of Neurology Ramon Lim will talk about his new book, Self and the Phenomenon of Life: A Biologist Examines Life from Molecules to Humanity.

    Self and the Phenomenon of Life describes a common ground between the biology of life and the humanity of life without compromising either discipline. It attempts to bridge the gap between the sciences and the humanities, and connects our meager existence to the entire living world and the universe, physically and spiritually.  Lim achieves this through the simple perspective of "self," being defined as a system that seeks its own perpetuation.

    In addition to his career in the sciences, Lim is an award-winning artist and writer. His non-scientific creations are collected in the bilingual book An Anthology of Literary and Artistic Works of Ramon Lim. While at the University of Iowa, Lim served as an adviser to the world-renowned International Writing Program.


    October 24, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Writing life: memoir, fiction, memo-fiction

    IWP resident Antoinette Tidjani Alou will talk about the theme of writing life: memoir, fiction, memo-fiction in her books Tina Shot me Between the Eyes and On m’appelle Nina. In fifteen formidable lyrical prose pieces, Tina Shot Me Between the Eyes explores how the self is shaped and transformed by the knots we yearn to tie around ourselves: familial, spousal, parental, professional, and societal. On m’appelle Nina, a novel in French, centers on the story of Vilhelmina, a woman who leaves her home island—Jamaica—to settle down in Niger for love.

    A binational citizen of Jamaica and Niger, Antoinette Tidjani Alou is a Professor of French and Comparative Literature and Director of the Arts and Culture Programme at the Université Abdou Moumouni de Niamey, in Niger where she has lived for more than twenty-five years. An independent translator, she has published several articles and books. She is currently a resident of the IWP. This event will include readings in English and French.


    October 25, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Columbia Law School Professor Carol Sanger will talk about her new book,
    About Abortion: Terminating Pregnancy in Twenty-First-Century America. New medical technologies, women's willingness to talk online and off, and tighter judicial reins on state legislatures are shaking up the practice of abortion. As talk becomes more transparent, Carol Sanger writes, women's decisions about whether to become mothers will be treated more like those of other adults making significant personal choices. “Carol Sanger understands that abortion is never an isolated event, but one that reflects the complicated realities around it. There is a great mind at work here, but one with a woman's body, an understanding heart, and a hope that every child will be born loved and wanted.”—Gloria Steinem

    Carol Sanger is the Barbara Aronstein Black Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She teaches courses on contracts, family law, and others focusing on reproduction, the legal profession, and law and gender.


    October 26, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Italy's foremost literary novelist, Nicola Lagioia, will read from his English-language debut Ferocity, published by Europa Press. Winner of the 2015 Strega Prize, Ferocity is a cinematic suspense novel set in 1980s Southern Italy . . . “A layered portrait of contemporary Italian life and the abuses of power that money can excuse.” — Publishers Weekly

    Nicola Lagioia is an editor for the Italian publisher Minimum Fax. He is the author of three novels and a collection of short stories. His books have been awarded the Strega Prize, the Premio Volponi, and the Premio Viareggio, among others. He lives in Rome. 


    October 27, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    IWP alum Rachel Rose will read from The Dog Lover Unit. An acclaimed poet, Rachel Rose never expected to spend her nights careening along for the ride while the police teams search for armed suspects. This book reveals the feats that these human and canine teams accomplish, and the emotional and physical risks that they take for one another, and for us. "Enter the intense world of both the dogs and people who form the K9 corps. Every dog has its own unique personality." ―Temple Grandin

    Rachel Rose is the Poet Laureate of Vancouver for 2014-2017 and has won awards for her poetry, her fiction, and her non-fiction, including a 2014 and 2016 Pushcart Prize. A chapbook, Thirteen Ways of Looking at CanLit, and her fourth poetry collection, Marry & Burn were both published in 2015. 


    October 29, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Kinga TÓTH (poet, translator, illustrator, songwriter, performer; Hungary) has published six poetry books, all self-illustrated. Her visual poetry has been exhibited widely; she is the lead singer of the experimental band Tóth Kína Hegyfalu and is working on the visual/sound/poetry projects X and [Moonlight Faces], for which she received the 2017 Hazai Attila award.  Ms. Tóth participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. 

    Dilman DILA (fiction writer, filmmaker; Uganda) is the author of three volumes, The Flying Man of Stone, A Killing in the Sun and Cranes Crest at Sunset, shortlisted for the 2016 Gerald Kraak Award and the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize. His The Felistas Fable was the Film of the Year at the 2014 Uganda Film Festival; What Happened in Room 13 has had six million views on YouTube; he regularly produces science fiction films for his YouTube channel. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.


    October 31, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special Halloween event co-sponsored by The Rumpus, Tori Telfer will read from her new book on female serial killers, Lady Killers.

    Lady Killers is a bloodcurdling, insightful, and irresistible journey into the heart of female darkness. Each chapter explores the crimes and history of a different subject, and features women such as Erzsebet Bathory, Nannie Doss, Mary Ann Cotton, and Darya Nikolayevna Saltykova.

    "Telfer proves that you can stab, poison, and suffocate the predictable tropes about female killers and still write something salacious and entertaining."—Caitlin Doughty

    Tori Telfer has worked in publishing, teaching, and academic editing. She graduated magna cum laude from Northwestern University, and her work has appeared on Salon, Jezebel, The Hairpin, and VICE.


    November 1, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City poet James McKean will read from his new collection of essays, Bound. McKean is the author of three books of poems; Headlong, Tree of Heaven, and We Are the Bus; and a book of essays, Home Stand: Growing Up in Sports.

    This new book of essays, Bound, reveals stories of the remarkable women in McKean’s life who survived their time and place, creating a legacy of grit and independence, vulnerability and pain that was never talked about. Revisiting these stories has drawn Jim McKean back into the family of women who raised him, stories that bind his and their worlds together.

    James Mckean earned an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his PhD from the University of Iowa. A professor emeritus at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he teaches for the Queens University low-residency MFA program in Charlotte, North Carolina.


    November 2, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Sam Witt will read from his new poetry collection, Little Domesday Clock. About the book, D.A. Powell wrote: “Sam Witt’s visionary text occupies every corner of the imagination with code, data, errata, erasures, subtweets, footnotes, actions and redactions intent on turning us from the brink of global catastrophe. This is a profoundly wrought distress signal, a flare lighting the scene of our deepest crisis.”

    Sam Witt is the author of the poetry collections Sunflower Brother and Everlasting Quail. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Virginia, and spent a year in Russia as a Fulbright Scholar. He is a professor at Framingham State University.


    November 3, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Carmen Maria Machado will read from her short story collection, Her Body and Other Parties, which is shortlisted for the 2017 National Book Award. “Machado is fluent in the vocabulary of fairy tales—her stories are full of foxes, foundlings, nooses and gowns—but she remixes it to her own ends . . . Not since Karen Russell’s St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves in 2006 has a debut collection of short stories from a relatively unknown author garnered such attention, or deserved it more...She doesn’t contain our terror, she stokes it and teaches us about it.”—New York Times

    Carmen Maria Machado’s work has appeared in Granta, the New Yorker, Guernica, Tin House, NPR, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. She has been nominated for a Nebula Award and a Shirley Jackson Award, and was a finalist for the Calvino Prize. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife.