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.
rss RSS


    March 27, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program presents alumna Elena Passarello, who will read from Animals Strike Curious Poses. “In Animals Strike Curious Poses Elena Passarello spins fantastic, wondrous, and true tall tales about species big and small. Her essays are dream-spaces of imagery and ideas…. This book will leave little doubt that Passarello is one our country’s most gifted young prose writers."—Héctor Tobar

    Elena Passarello is an actor, a writer, and recipient of a 2015 Whiting Award. Her first collection with Sarabande Books, Let Me Clear My Throat, won the gold medal for nonfiction at the 2013 Independent Publisher Awards and was a finalist for the 2014 Oregon Book Award. Her essays on performance, pop culture, and the natural world have been published in Oxford American, Slate, Creative Nonfiction, and The Iowa Review, among other publications, as well as in the 2015 anthologies Cat is Art Spelled Wrong and After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essay. Passarello lives in Corvallis, Oregon and teaches at Oregon State University.


    March 28, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Jack Hatch will read from No Surrender: Building a Progressive Agenda for Iowa. In an era of endless social media carping, the notion of why public service matters may seem quaint or even naive to some. This book is about why, for progressive Democrats, nothing could be further from the truth.  

    Jack Hatch, a longtime political activist in the state of Iowa, graduated from Drake University with a bachelor's degree and a Masters of Public Administration degree. He served 22 years in the Iowa legislature, chaired a White House Task Force of State Legislators for Health Care Reform, and was the Democratic candidate for governor in 2014.

    "Jack Hatch provides a thought-provoking and challenging look into Iowa's future. His is a call for progressive action. He pulls no punches in calling for a new direction and approach for the Democratic Party if its leaders are to become Iowa's leaders. A "must read" for anyone considering a run for higher office." —Former Governor of Iowa Tom Vilsack


    March 29, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Daniel Poppick, Adrienne Raphel, and Chris Martin will read from their new poetry.

    Daniel Poppick will read from his new book from Omnidawn, The Police. Daniel Poppick's work has been recognized with fellowships fromYaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where he earned his MFA in 2011. A graduate of Kenyon College, he has taught writing and literature at SUNY Purchase College, Coe College,Victoria University (New Zealand), and the University of Iowa. He lives in Brooklyn, where he co-edits the Catenary Press. “As distance collapses into shareable moments, he questions how we can sustain intimacy when we cease distinguishing our somatic experiences from our avatars; how to disrupt when disruption itself is privatized; how to connect when connection itself is privatized? Each poem reads like exquisite comment streams of the mind. Poppick writes with beauty, wit, and compassion.” —Cathy Park Hong

    Adrienne Raphel is the author of What Was It For, selected by Cathy Park Hong as winner of the Rescue Press Black Box Poetry Prize; and the chapbook But What Will We Do, selected by Robyn Schiff as winner of the Seattle Review Chapbook Contest. She is a regular contributor for the New Yorker online, the Paris Review Daily, the Poetry Foundation, the Atlantic online, Lana Turner Journal, Prelude, and Poetry Northwest. Raphel is a PhD candidate in English at Harvard University, where she studies poetics.

    Chris Martin is the author of The Falling Down Dance, Becoming Weather, and American Music, selected by C. D. Wright for the Hayden Carruth Award. He is the author of chapbooks including HISTORY, enough, and How to Write a Mistake-ist Poem. He is an editor at Futurepoem books is a co-founder and teaching-writer at Unrestricted Interest. He lives in Minneapolis.



    April 4, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights


    Pulitzer Prize finalist Kelly Link will talk with Fail Safe host Rachel Yoder about writing, creativity, and failure for a live recording of the podcast. Kelly Link has received a Hugo Award, three Nebula Awards, and a World Fantasy Award. Her most recent collection, Get In Trouble, was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.


    April 4, 2017 - 6:00pm

    Iowa City Public Library

    What’s the Matter With Kansas author Thomas Frank will talk about his newest book, Listen, Liberal at the Iowa City Public Library. Hailed as “the most prescient book” of the year, Listen, Liberal accurately described what ailed the Democratic Party even before the election of 2016 made their weaknesses obvious. It is the story of how the “Party of the People” detached itself from its historic constituency among average Americans and chose instead to line up with the winners of our new economic order.

    Thomas Frank is the author of Pity the Billionaire, The Wrecking Crew, and What’s the Matter with Kansas? A former columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Harper’s, Frank is the founding editor of The Baffler and writes regularly for Salon. He lives outside Washington, D.C. This event is co-sponsored by the Iowa City Public Library, Johnson County Democratic Party, Iowa City Federation of Labor, UI Public Policy Center and Prairie Lights.


    April 4, 2017 - 6:00pm

    Hancher Auditorium


    Short story writer Kelly Link invites readers into the slipstream with stories of the fantastic. Link has collected a Hugo Award, three Nebula Awards, and a World Fantasy Award. Her most recent collection, Get In Trouble, was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize. She is also the author of Magic for Beginners, Pretty Monsters, and Strange Things Happen. Step into the wondrous with one of today’s most thrilling spinners of tales…



    April 5, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    MISSION CREEK FESTIVAL presents Writers of Color hosted by Jade Jones and Andre Perry.

    Join us for Writers of Color, a reading series featuring undergraduate and graduate writers of color at the University of Iowa. Featuring Benjamin Krusling, Regina Porter, Yvonne Cha, Tameka Cage Conley, & Melissa Mogollon.



    April 6, 2017 - 6:00pm

    Prairie Lights


    The Mission Creek Festival and the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program presents NFWP Graduates Kristen Radtke and Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas, who will read from their new books. Kristen Radtke will talk about her graphic novel, Imagine Wanting Only This, published by Pantheon. Radtke, a writer and illustrator based in Brooklyn, is the managing editor of Sarabande Books and the film & video editor of TriQuarterly magazine.

    Lina María Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas will read from Don’t Come Back, published by Mad River Books, an imprint of the Ohio State Press. She recently received a 2016 Writer’s Award from the Rona Jaffe Foundation. She has MFA degrees in both creative nonfiction and literary translation from the University of Iowa, and she is the author of Drown Sever Sing.


    April 8, 2017 - 12:00pm

    Prairie Lights


    Join poets Cole Swensen, Shane McCrae, and others for a commemorative reading from the beloved late poet and Writers’ Workshop graduate Kokoy Guevera’s book of poetry, The Reddest Herring.


    April 8, 2017 - 6:00pm

    The Mill Restaurant


    Poet Saeed Jones, executive editor at BuzzFeed Books will headline this event with a reading alongside Alice Sola Kim and Isaac Fitzgerald.

    Saeed Jones was born in Memphis, TN and raised in Lewisville, Texas. He received his MFA in Creative Writing at Rutgers University – Newark, and is the author of Prelude to Bruise and When the Only Light is Fire. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

    Isaac Fitzgerald is the editor of BuzzFeed Books and co-author of Pen & Ink: Tattoos and the Stories Behind Them and Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos (with Recipes). He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

    Whiting Award winner Alice Sola Kim’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, The Village Voice, McSweeney’s, Lenny, BuzzFeed Books, and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy.