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 3, 2015 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Local author Cate Dicharry will read from her new novel, The Fine Art of F***ing Up. This humorous send-up of art world academia takes place at a prestigious Midwestern art school that houses a priceless Jackson Pollock. "Cate Dicharry has an unwaveringly merciless eye for the bogus aspects of art school. But you don't need a BA in Painting or Performance Studies to enjoy the screwball comedy of The Fine Art of Fucking Up. An affectionate yet unsparing view of how easy it is to lose one's way." —Sara Levine

    Cate Dicharry is a graduate of Lewis & Clark College,and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the Low Residency Program at the University of California, Riverside. She lives in Iowa City with her husband and sons.


    May 4, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Benjamin Percy and Nickolas Butler will read from their new fiction.

    Benjamin Percy will read from The Dead Lands.  “Benjamin Percy’s The Dead Lands is a case of wonderful writing and compulsive reading. You will not come across a finer work of sustained imagination this year. Good God, what a tale. Don’t miss it.” —Stephen King

    Benjamin Percy is the author of the novels Red Moon and The Wilding, and two short story collections, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. His writing has appeared in Esquire, GQ, Time, Tin House and elsewhere. His honors include the Pushcart Prize, an NEA grant, the Plimpton Prize for Fiction, and a Whiting Award. Raised in the high desert of central Oregon, he lives in Minnesota.

    Nickolas Butler will read from his new book of short stories, Beneath the Bonfire. “Sentence-by-sentence, Beneath the Bonfire is a truly beautiful collection that offers full and big-hearted tales of people leaning on one another when the world turns on them. It's a love letter to a landscape, yes, but it's also elegiac, funny, and dazzlingly dreamy, a look into the complicated inner lives of outwardly stoic souls. These stories warm and snap your heart all at once.” —Dean Bakopoulos

    Nickolas Butler is the author of Shotgun Lovesongs, which  received the Midwest Booksellers Choice Award, the Great Lakes Great Reads Award, and France's Prix Page/America. His writings have appeared in Narrative Magazine, Ploughshares, The Kenyon Review Online, The Progressive, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere. Butler lives in Wisconsin with his wife and their two children.


    May 5, 2015 - 6:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join Prairie Lights and Director of the Undergraduate Nonfiction Writing Program Bonnie Sunstein in celebrating the semi-annual Writers Gone Public reading.

    The event from 6:30 to 8:30 pm will feature current undergraduate students who study with MFA Nonfiction faculty, reading excerpts from essays they have written this semester.


    May 5, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Iowa City Public Library

    New York Times bestselling author Jon Katz will talk about his latest book, Saving Simon: How a Rescue Donkey Taught Me the Meaning of Compassion. In this heartfelt, thoughtful, and inspiring memoir, Jon Katz tells the story of his beloved rescue donkey, Simon, and the wondrous ways that animals make us wiser and kinder people. Katz has written twenty-six books, including many bestselling books about his dogs, including A Dog Year. He lives in upstate New York with his wife, the artist Maria Wulf, and their dogs, donkeys, barn cats, sheep, and chickens.

    "With wisdom and grace, Katz unlocks the canine soul and the complicated wonders that lie within and offers powerful insights to anyone who has ever struggled with, and loved, a troubled animal." —John Grogan


    May 6, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the Nonfiction Writing Program, bestselling author Vivian Gornick will discuss her new memoir, Odd Woman and the City with Writers’ Workshop Faculty Member, Charles D’ambrosio. The Odd Woman and the City explores the rhythms, chance encounters, and ever-changing friendships of urban life that forge the sensibility of a fiercely independent woman. Including meditative pieces on the making of a modern feminist, the role of the flaneur in urban literature, and the evolution of friendship over the past two centuries, The Odd Woman and the City beautifully depicts Gornick’s rich relationship with the ultimate metropolis.

    Vivian Gornick is the author of the memoir Fierce Attachments, a biography of Emma Goldman, and three essay collections: The Men in My Life, Approaching Eye Level, and The End of the Novel of Love, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She lives in New York, and has been a Visiting Writer this semester at the Nonfiction Writing Program. Charles D’ambrosio is on the permanent faculty of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. His most recent book is Loitering:  New and Collected Essays, published by Tin House.


    May 7, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop poets Cassidy McFadzean, Chad Campbell and C. Dylan Bassett will read from their work.

    Cassidy McFadzean will read from her new book of poetry, Hacker Packer. McFadzean is the author of a chapbook, Farwell, with JackPine Press and in 2013 she was a finalist for the CBC Poetry Prize and the Walrus Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in The Malahat Review, Grain, Arc, Vallum, and The Fiddlehead. She was born in Regina, Canada and studied at the University of Regina and the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

    C Dylan Bassett will read from The Unpainted Shore from Spark Wheel, and The Invention of Monsters / Plays for the Theater, from Plays Inverse. He is the author of six chapbooks, and his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Columbia Poetry Review, DIAGRAM, Gulf Coast, H_NGM_N, Ninth Letter, Pleiades, Salt Hill, and West Branch. He is a teaching fellow at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

    Chad Campbell will read from Laws & Locks, his new book from Vehicule Press. Campbell’s poetry has appeared in Arc and Maisonneuve, among other magazines. He was a finalist for the 2013 Malahat Long Poem Prize. Originally from Toronto, he is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and lives and teaches in Iowa.


    May 8, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Prairie Lights and the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing are pleased to present a reading to celebrate the launch of INK LIT MAG No.8!  Created by and for students, INK LIT MAG is an undergraduate literary review at the University of Iowa, dedicated to showcasing the work of first-year students and alumni of the Iowa Writer's Living Learning Community. Daniel Khalastchi, Associate Director of the Magid Center, will introduce the event—please join us to hear the first public reading from the next generation of stunning young writers. 


    May 12, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Sarah Kanouse and Nicholas Brown will talk about their new book, Re-Collecting Black Hawk: Landscape, Memory, and Power in the American Midwest. "Through an original and highly provocative pairing of image and text, Brown and Kanouse explore the complicated legacy of white colonization of an indigenous world. Now called the American Midwest, that world bears the imprint of its previous inhabitants as filtered through the conquerors. The book's brilliance resides in the incessant questioning of that legacy—why it's selectively remembered and forgotten. Re-Collecting Black Hawk will change how readers make their own memories of this place." —Steven Hoelscher, University of Texas at Austin

    Sarah Kanouse’s work has been shown at Documenta 13, the Banff Centre, the Museum of Contemporary Art-Chicago, the Cooper Union, the Smart Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, UnionDocs, and in numerous festivals and spaces. Her essays have appeared in parallax, The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, Leonardo, Acme, and Art Journal.  An Associate Professor of Intermedia and Dean’s Scholar at the University of Iowa, she teaches courses in video/time-based media and art and ecology. She lives in Iowa City.

    Nicholas Brown teaches in the American Indian and Native Studies Program and the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at the University of Iowa. His research focuses on land, justice, settler colonialism, and the politics of indigeneity in the Great Lakes and Alberta–Montana borderlands. He lives in Iowa City.


    May 14, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    National Book Award finalist Aleksandar Hemon will read from his new novel, The Making of Zombie Wars. The Making of Zombie Wars is a novel about an aspiring screenplay writer—full of script ideas but unable to follow through on any of them—who becomes entangled with a Bosnian woman and her violently jealous husband. Aleksandar Hemon fans will rejoice — this is the seriously, seriously funny roller-coaster ride of sex and violence that Aleksandar Hemon has long promised. Hemon is the author of The Lazarus Project, The Book of My Lives, and three books of short stories, including Nowhere Man, which was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Genius Grant from the MacArthur Foundation. He lives in Chicago.

    "When Hemon’s work is funny, it can make you laugh in spite of everything, and when it is sad, it’s hard to stand up afterward.” —John Jeremiah Sullivan


    May 14, 2015 - 7:00pm


    The Tree of Life by Hugh Nissenson.

    The Tree of Life is alive. On first reading, it possesses us as a vital documentary of 19th century frontier life. On second reading, it confronts us where our deepest and most disturbing fantasies intersect with our sense of history. One can only conjecture where further readings will take us. Given the richness of its texture and the strength of whichever of its threads one pursues, one can imagine that its force will grow and take an ever tighter grip on our understanding of the American past. It is a book that plants deep seeds. —The New York Times