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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    August 23, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Salon editor-in-chief David Daley will read from Ratf**ked, Why Your Vote Doesn't Count.

    Lauded as a “compelling” (The New Yorker) and “eye-opening tour of a process that many Americans never see” (Washington Post), David Daley’s Ratf**ked documents the effort of Republican legislators and political operatives to hack American democracy through an audacious redistricting plan called REDMAP. Since the revolutionary election of Barack Obama, a group of GOP strategists has devised a way to flood state races with a gold rush of dark money, made possible by Citizens United, in order to completely reshape Congress―and our democracy itself.

    “Sobering and convincing” (New York Review of Books), Ratf**ked shows how this program has radically altered America’s electoral map and created a firewall in the House, insulating the Republican party and its wealthy donors from popular democracy. David Daley is the Digital Media Fellow for the Wilson Center for Humanities and the Arts and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


    August 27, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us for the first Fall 2017 reading with this year’s residents at the UI’s International Writing Program (IWP). The IWP is the oldest and largest multinational writing residency in the world, and annually brings outstanding authors from every continent to the University of Iowa. The IWP celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. The IWP provides authors a one-of-a-kind inter-cultural opportunity and the time and space to write, read, translate, study, conduct research, travel, give readings, stage work, and become part of the vibrant literary and academic community at the university and in Iowa City, the only American city designated as a UNESCO City of Literature, in part because of the IWP’s presence. 

    Prairie Lights hosts events that feature two of the visiting international writers and one writer from the UI’s Fiction, Poetry or Non-Fiction workshops most Sundays at 4pm. Come to hear and meet writers from all over the world!

    Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (fiction writer; Kenya) is an author, lecturer, and arts curator. Her first novel, Dust, was published by Knopf in 2014, and received the 2015 TBC Jomo Kenyatta Literature Award. In 2003, she won the Caine Prize for African Writing for her story “Weight of Whispers,”  also the title of a 2003 volume. Owuor was an IWP Fall Resident in 2005, and returns as the Residency’s first Grinnell Fellow. She participates courtesy of Grinnell College.

    Kristen Steenbeeke is an MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship. She was the winner of the 2017 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, judged by Ross Gay, and her fiction and poetry have been published in Pleiades, Tin House blog, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Poetry Northwest, and other places. She was recently a finalist in Mid-American Review’s Fineline Competition and Third Coast’s Poetry Prize.

    Kirmen Uribe (novelist, poet, essayist; Spain) His first novel Bilbao–New York–Bilbao earned him Spain’s 2008 National Fiction Prize, and has been translated into fifteen languages; his poems have appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere. Elkarrekin esnatzeko ordua [The Hour of Waking Together] was published in 2017. He participates courtesy of the Etxepare Basque Institute.

  • Z.P. DALA

    August 28, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    IWP alum ZP Dala will read from her new novel, The Architecture of Loss. Exploring topics as wide-ranging as apartheid and South African history to women’s rights at home and abroad;  “The Architecture of Loss vividly reconstructs the secret soul of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, revealing the costs―physical and emotional―of devoting one's life to an ideal.” —Christopher Merrill

    Z.P. Dala is the author of What About Meera, which was longlisted for both the Etisalat Prize for Fiction (the most prestigious literary prize for African fiction) and the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize (South Africa's largest literary award). Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Marie Claire, and Elle. She has lived and worked in Dublin and now lives in Durban,
    South Africa.



    August 29, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Whiting Award winner Benjamin Percy will read from his new novel, The Dark Net. Set in present-day Portland, "Benjamin Percy's The Dark Net channels the spirit of your favorite sprawling and epic, 1980's horror/thriller novels into a tightly paced, nasty, unrelenting 21st century nightmare. An addictive and frightening read." — Paul Tremblay

    Percy has won a Plimpton Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and a grant from the NEA. He is the author of the novels The Dead Lands, Red Moon, and The Wilding, two story collections, and an essay collection, Thrill Me. He also writes the Green Arrow and Teen Titans series for DC Comics. He lives in Minnesota.


    August 30, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Pulitzer prize nominated journalist Inara Verzemnieks will read from her new memoir, Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming on the War Roads of Europe. This special event is sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. Among the Living and the Dead is “An exquisite book for the ages as it unfolds from its first mysterious sentence into a masterpiece about war, survival, memory, and, most movingly of all, human need.” —David Finkel

    Inara Verzemnieks is a graduate of the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, and has taught writing at Oregon State and the University of Iowa. She is a Pushcart Prize and Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award Winner and her journalism has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, the Atlantic, and The Oregonian. She lives in Iowa City.



    August 31, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Hancher Auditorium

    Prairie Lights is proud to present Senator Bernie Sanders, in a special ticketed event at Hancher Auditorium. In his new book, Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution, Sanders continues his fight against the imbalances in the nation’s status quo, and shows people, young and old, how to make a difference to effect the changes the country and the world need to create a better tomorrow. For ticket info, contact Hancher Box Office (319) 335-1160.



    September 2, 2017 - 6:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Lectura de escritores Iberoamericanos de IWP en colaboración con el MFA de Español.

    Please join us for a reading in Spanish by IWP writers Enza García Arreaza, Santiago Giralt, Kirmen Uribe, and Xavier Villanova, to be introduced by students in the Spanish Creative Writing MFA at the University of Iowa.


    September 3, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Maung Day (poet, artist, translator; Myanmar) has published six poetry books in Burmese and one in English. His poetry has appeared in International Poetry Review, Guernica, The Wolf, The Awl and elsewhere. He translates widely between English and Burmese; his visual work and poetry are exhibited and curated internationally. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

    Panashe Chigumadzi (novelist, essayist; South Africa/Zimbabwe) is the author of the novel Sweet Medicine, which won the 2016 K. Sello Duiker Literary Award; a short story, “Small Deaths,” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Literary Prize. She is the founding editor of Vanguard Magazine, a platform for black women in post-apartheid South Africa. In 2016, she curated Soweto’s Abantu Book Festival for black readers and writers in the country’s largest township. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. 



    September 5, 2017 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    Ticketed Event -- SOLD OUT 

    Prairie Lights presents  Bruce Campbell at the Englert Theatre for his Hail To The Chin book tour. Bruce Campbell will read from and talk about his new book, Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor. The reading will be followed by a Q&A and signing. Ticket holders will receive a copy of Hail to the Chin at the event, and will have the opportunity to have it signed by Campbell. He is willing to sign one additional item of memorabilia per person.


    September 6, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Robert Madrygin will read from his gripping new novel, The Solace of Trees. This harrowing tale is of an an eleven year old Muslim boy in Bosnia who witnesses his family’s murder during their civil war and flees alone through the Bosnian forest. After eventually finding safety at a UN camp, he emigrates to America. The Solace of Trees is his coming of age story as he finds a new family and makes a life in America, until September 11th, 2001. . . 

    "If this book doesn't dispel the myth of American exceptionalism, nothing will." — L. E. Randolph

    Robert Madrygin had a multicultural childhood. His father’s law career with the military brought the family to US-occupied Japan, both coasts of the United States, Morocco, Franco-ruled Spain, and Paris. He had a difficult life and was on his own at a young age. He worked in Spain as a laborer, in Italy as a deckhand on a ship, and in Alaska on a railroad and as a crew member on a fishing boat. He has since lived in the US, Ecuador, and Spain and traveled widely. He currently lives in Vermont.