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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  • JEFFREY WASSERSTROM

    August 30, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event co-sponsored by the IWP, Jeffrey Wasserstrom will talk about his new edited book, The Oxford Illustrated History of Modern China. Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this rising superpower on the verge of what promises to be the 'Chinese century, ' this book introduces readers to important but often overlooked events in China's past, such as the bloody Taiping Civil War (1850-1864), which had a death toll far higher than the roughly contemporaneous American Civil War. It also helps readers see more familiar landmarks in Chinese history in new ways, such as the Opium War (1839-1842), the Boxer Uprising of 1900, the rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949, and the Tiananmen protests and Beijing Massacre of 1989. This is one of the first major efforts to come to terms with the broad sweep of modern Chinese history, taking readers from the origins of modern China through the dramatic events of the last few years (the Beijing Games, the financial crisis, and China's rise to global economic pre-eminence) which have so fundamentally altered Western views of China and China's place in the world.

    Jeffrey Wasserstrom is Chancellor's Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine, and Editor of the Journal of Asian Studies. He will be in Iowa to visit the Hoover library as part of his research on  Herbert and Lou Hoover’s China Years. A co-founder of and contributing editor to the influential China Beat blog (2008-2012), he is a regular contributor to the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, and he co-edits the Asia section of the Los Angeles Review of Books. A member of the Board of Directors of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, he has been traveling to China regularly since the 1980s.

  • RICK BAROT

    August 31, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Rick Barot will read from his third collection of poems, Chord, published by Sarabande. “Chord examines—subtly, and with great beauty—the limits of representational art and language, specifically our need to aestheticize suffering, even as we know this same desire also serves to blunt or negate human trauma. This is the paradox that Barot explores: our desire to express the facts of this world while recognizing that we lack—will always lack—the right language for it."—Paisley Rekdal

    Rick Barot was born in the Philippines, grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, and attended Wesleyan University and The Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is the author of The Darker Fall, which received the Kathryn A. Morton Prize, and Want, which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artist Trust of Washington, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer in Poetry. In 2016, he received a poetry fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation.

    His poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, and  Tin House. His work has been included in Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century and The Best American Poetry 2012 and 2016.

  • THE IOWA REVIEW

    September 1, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Join editor Harry Stecopoulos as he hosts a reading of prose and poetry from current and forthcoming issues of The Iowa Review. Iowa City-based writers Jennifer Colville, Amy Margolis, and Margaret Reges will read. A celebratory reception will conclude the evening.

    Jennifer Colville is the founding editor of Prompt Press, a journal for visual art inspired by writing and writing inspired by visual art. She holds an M.F.A. from Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Utah. Her work has appeared in DIAGRAM, The Mississippi Review, The Literary Review, and on the Huffington Post. She lives in Iowa City.

    Amy Margolis received her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Since 2001, she has directed the Iowa Summer Writing Festival at The University of Iowa. She lives in Iowa City.

    Margaret Reges is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her honors include a 2015 “Discovery”/Boston Review prize, the 2012 Page Davidson Clayton Prize for Emerging Poets from the Michigan Quarterly Review, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, the MacDowell Colony, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her poems have appeared in The Boston Review, The Iowa Review, jubilat, B O D Y , Michigan Quarterly Review, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Iowa City, and teaches at the University of Iowa.

  • NICK WESTERGAARD

    September 2, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Tippie College of Business’s Nick Westergaard will talk about his dynamic new book, Get Scrappy, which shatters the myth that only big brands can do big things. This essential guide to the current marketing environment addresses today’s ever-changing array of platforms, features, and networks – and explains how to help your business reach people effectively and efficiently.

    Nick Westergaard is a contributor to the Harvard Business Review and host of the popular On Brand podcast. He teaches, and is on the Advisory Council of the Marketing Institute at the Tippie College of Business. He is the organizer and host of the Social Brand Forum and a mentor at the Iowa Startup Accelerator. He lives in Coralville.

  • IWP Reading

    September 4, 2016 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Come to hear and meet writers from all over the world!

  • RAE MEADOWS & DEAN BAKOPOULOS

    September 7, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Rae Meadows will read from her new novel of survival in the Dust Bowl, I Will Send Rain.  "In I Will Send Rain you'll find compassion, heartbreak, and not a word out of place. Meadows shares with John Steinbeck not just a gigantic empathy but a gigantic storytelling gift. This is a novel where love and laughter abide." ―Darin Strauss

    Meadows is the author of Calling Out, No One Tells Everything, and the widely praised novel, Mercy Train. I Will Send Rain is based on extensive research on the Dust Bowl, the Oklahoma Panhandle, and the photographer Dorothea Lange. Meadows lives in Brooklyn, New York.

    Dean Bakopoulos will read from his novel of the hot-and-humid-contemporary-Collegiate Midwest, Summerlong. In a starred review, Booklist says, "Tennessee Williams has nothing on Bakopoulos when it comes to marital and moral dissipation.... A sure hit with fans of the three Jonathans: Dee, Franzen, and Tropper."

    Bakopoulos is the author of Please Don't Come Back from the Moon and My American Unhappiness. He has received NEA and Guggenheim fellowships. He is the writer-in-residence at Grinnell College in Iowa.

  • WHITNEY TERRELL

    September 8, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Whitney Terrell will read from his novel, The Good Lieutenant.  “With The Good Lieutenant, Terrell has unwound the myths of one of our most encrusted literary forms―the war novel… It opens in conflagration―everything having gone wrong for Lieutenant Emma Fowler in one explosive instant―and from there the mystery of how we got to this disastrous moment unfolds backward, Memento­-like, as we watch Emma become more innocent, her life more full of hope and possibility, with each day less of war that she has experienced. This is brilliant, bold, heartbreaking storytelling.” ―Adam Johnson

    Whitney Terrell is the author of The Huntsman, a New York Times notable book, and The King of Kings County. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq during 2006 and 2010 and covered the war for the Washington Post Magazine, Slate, and NPR. He teaches creative writing at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

  • LINDA EGENES

    September 9, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Linda Egenes, Adjunct Associate Professor of Writing at the Maharishi University of Management, will read from The Ramayana: A New Retelling of Valmiki's Ancient Epic--Complete and Comprehensive. One of the world's most hallowed works of sacred literature, The Ramayana has greatly influenced art and culture in India. The story of the bowman Rama and his struggles with evil, power, duplicity, and avarice animates timeless themes of good and evil. This lyrical new retelling by Linda Egenes and Kamuda Reddy has been updated for modern readers.

    Linda Egenes, MA, is the author of five books about the benefits of meditation, yoga, and healthy living, as well as three books with Kumuda Reddy, M.D. She has been a practitioner of the Transcendental Meditation technique since 1971 and certified teacher since 1975, and lives in Fairfield.

  • IWP Reading

    September 11, 2016 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

  • ASHTON APPLEWHITE

    September 12, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Author, activist, and expert on aging, Ashton Applewhite will talk about her new book, This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism. Ashton Applewhite has been recognized by the New York Times, NPR, and the American Society on Aging as an expert on ageism. She blogs at This Chair Rocks, speaks widely, has written for Harper’s and Playboy, and is the voice of Yo, Is This Ageist? She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

    "Wow. This book totally rocks. It arrived on a day when I was in deep confusion and sadness about my age—62. Everything about it, from my invisibility to my neck. Within four or five wise, passionate pages, I had found insight, illumination and inspiration. I never use the word empower, but this book has empowered me." — Anne Lamott