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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    May 22, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    TV host, producer, author, traveler and all around good guy Leon Logothetis will talk about his book, The Kindness Diaries. Formerly a London broker, he gave up his comfortable life to travel and find real human connection.

    In The Kindness Diaries, Logothetis set out from Los Angeles with no money on a vintage motorbike, determined to travel the world only by asking strangers for shelter, food, and gas, offering them a kindness in return. He met a homeless man who shared his blanket, a poor farmer who helped him with his broken down bike, and an HIV-positive mother who took him in and fed him. At each stop, he found a way to give back to these unsuspecting Good Samaritans in life-changing ways, by rebuilding their homes, paying for their schooling, and leaving behind gifts big and small.

    Leon Logothetis is the host of the TV. show “The Amazing Adventures of A Nobody”, and is the author of a book by the same title. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, FOX, and BBC. He lives in Los Angeles, CA with his dog Winston.


    May 26, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Heidi Pitlor will read from her suspenseful new novel, The Daylight Marriage
    “In The Daylight Marriage, there are two mysteries—the whereabouts of a missing woman and the vagaries of the human heart. Heidi Pitlor explores both of these enigmas with equal mastery, merging a shocking crime story with an incisive portrait of a failed marriage. The result is a novel that is fast-moving, emotionally complex, and ultimately heartbreaking.” —Tom Perrotta

    Heidi Pitlor has worked as a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and was the series editor of The Best American Short Stories. She is the author of the novel The Birthdays and her fiction and essays have appeared in Ploughshares, the Huffington Post, and Labor Day: True Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers. She lives outside Boston with her husband and twin son and daughter.


    May 29, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event co-sponsored by Food & Water Watch, Dennis Keeney will talk about his new book, The Keeney Place: A Life in the Heartland. Through a nostalgic reflection of his Iowa farm upbringing, Professor Keeney takes the reader through his personal and professional understanding of the true meaning of agricultural change. Despite earning some of the highest honors bestowed by his profession, Dr. Keeney became increasingly disillusioned with industrial agriculture. Through his leadership at Iowa State University’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, he regained his confidence in the future of a sustainable agricultural system that will replace today’s factory farms.

    Dennis R. Keeney is emeritus professor of Agronomy and Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering at Iowa State University. He was the first Director of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University. He is past president of the Soil Science Society of America and the American Society of Agronomy and is a Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. He and his wife live in Ames and Minneapolis.


    May 30, 2015 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Skeeter Wilson will read from his novel, Crossing Rivers. Set in East Africa, just before the onset of colonialism, Crossing Rivers tells the story of a young Maasai girl whose world is turned upside down when her starving parents trade her to another tribe. Skeeter Wilson was born in British Colonial East Africa, along the edge of the Gikuyu lands at the end of the Mau Mau war. The son of American missionaries, he witnessed Kenya’s birth pangs, as it became an independent nation. Wilson spent his early years divided between his Gikuyu friends and the children of expatriates at an American curriculum school. Wilson lives in Auburn, Washington, and holds graduate degrees in creative fiction and African history. He is the author of Worthless People.  


    May 30, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City poet Dave Morice will read from his new book, Poetry City. Poetry City is a book of poetry and observations — listed chronologically and grouped in sections according to place — that Dave has written in the 46 years he has lived in and loved Iowa City. Dave Morice, also known as Dr. Alphabet, is a writer, visual artist, performance artist, and educator whose books include 60 Poetry Marathons, three anthologies of Poetry Comics, How To Make Poetry Comics, The Adventures of Dr. Alphabet: 104 Unusual Ways To Write Poetry in the Classroom & the Community, and The Great American Fortune Cookie Novel.  He lives in Iowa City.


    May 31, 2015 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us to celebrate the literary magazines created by students at three area High Schools: The Review at City High, Favonius at West, and Fingerprints  from Washington High. In this special multi-school event sponsored by the Iowa Youth Writing Project, students will read creative work published in the latest issues. Come out to hear our next generation of talented new writers. 


    June 3, 2015 - 7:00pm


    Please join us at the Iowa City Public Library for an event with New York Times Bestselling author Michael Perry! Michael Perry is one of our most popular authors for events —he’s a humorist, radio host, songwriter, and author of Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs & Parenting, Visiting Tom, Truck: A Love Story, and Population: 485

    Perry makes his fiction debut with The Jesus Cow; a hilarious and big-hearted tale, a comic yet sincere exploration of faith and the foibles of modern life that blends the barbed charm of Garrison Keillor, the irreverent humor of Christopher Moore, and the audacious insight of Chuck Klosterman. Perry lives in rural Wisconsin with his family.

    “A wildly comic and deeply felt examination of faith, combining politics, scandal, farming, love, environmentalism and rural philosophy. This is a novel only Michael Perry could have written.”
    —Julie Schumacher



    June 4, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Robin McLean will read from her award-winning short story collection, Reptile House. With characters trapped by blind ambitions and toxic relationships, these stories probe the dark underbelly of human nature and want. McLean’s stories are strange, often disturbing and funny, and as full of foolishness and ugliness as they are of wisdom and beauty.

    McLean’s fiction has appeared in The Carolina Quarterly, Copper Nickel, The Common, Malahat Review and Nashville Review. A former lawyer, potter, and figure skater, McLean currently  teaches at Clark University and splits her time between Newfound Lake in Bristol, New Hampshire and a 200-year-old farm in western Massachusetts.

    “Robin McLean’s fiction is harrowing and wry and compassionate, and always both fiercely rooted in the world and fearlessly willing to take chances. I love her keen sense of our inherent strangeness, and her heartening sense of just how important it is that we never stop trying to close the gap between who are and who we aspire to be. —Jim Shepard


    June 9, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Maggie Messitt will read from The Rainy Season: Three Lives in the New South Africa. “The Rainy Season is a delight of closely observed detail from the lives of three memorable characters in a remote South African village. Skillfully taking us through the quiet drama of an unusually generous rainy season in the bushveld, Messitt gives an insight into a world that is key to understanding South Africa today.”
    —Greg Marinovich

    An independent narrative and immersion journalist, Maggie Messitt has spent the last decade reporting from inside communities in southern Africa and middle America. During this time, she was the founding director of a writing school for rural African women, editor of its community newspaper and international literary magazine, and a freelance reporter. Messitt currently resides in southeast Ohio where she’s completing her doctorate in creative nonfiction at Ohio University.


    June 10, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In this special Gay Pride Month event, Lambda Literary Award Finalist Timothy Liu will read from his new book of poetry, Don’t Go Back to Sleep.  

    Don’t Go Back To Sleep answers the Sufi call to wake up to this life in the here and now where ecstasy serves its summons, inviting us to break out of the mundane quotidian. Timothy Liu winds the clock back to the Nanking Massacre in 1937, then traces its consequences on his family of origin, his mother’s mental illness, his father’s religious fundamentalism, and Liu’s obsessive search for love. As trauma begets trauma the poems slowly accrete, and Liu takes on a legacy of poetic witness where carnal violence ultimately turns to spiritual joy.

    Timothy Liu is the author of nine books of poems. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize, and his journals and papers are archived in the Berg Collection at the New York Public Library. A Professor of English at William Paterson University, he lives in Manhattan and Woodstock, NY.