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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    September 6, 2015 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights


    September 8, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Ryan Berg will talk about his new book, No House to Call My Home. Youth homelessness is a huge problem in any city, but it's particularly unforgiving to those that identify as LGBTQ. Based on his years working as a residential counselor and caseworker for a LGBTQ foster care program in New York City, in No House to Call My Home, Berg takes us on an intimate journey into the lives of LGBTQ teens who have battled extreme poverty, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and years of abandonment and abuse.

    Homeless youth are a group whose stories are seldom told, LGBTQ homeless youth, even more so. With this book, Berg hopes to finally shed light on their stories, and make this conversation one that's finally heard. Ryan Berg is the Program Manager of the Minneapolis and Suburban Host Home Programs of Avenues for Homeless Youth.


    September 10, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event co-sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, NWP graduate Aviya Kushner will read from The Grammar of God. So often, the Bible is tirelessly quoted to validate an opinion on highly contested social issues. In The Grammar of God, Kushner asks the important question: Which version of the Bible is being quoted? Kushner grew up in a traditional Jewish, Hebrew speaking household- in which the Hebrew Bible was so integral to family life that it was discussed and debated daily. While at Iowa in Marilynne Robinson’s Bible course, Kushner read the English version of what she knew by heart, and to her great surprise, she recognized very little of it. Thus began an exploration in translation, and a ten year worldwide collection of Bibles that culminated in this book.  

    Aviya Kushner teaches at Columbia College Chicago and is a contributing editor at A Public Space and a mentor for the National Yiddish Book Center.


    September 11, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Steve Bratkovich and Iowa City baseball legend Bob Oldis will present Bratkovich’s new book, Bob Oldis: A Life in Baseball. Bob Oldis has been involved in professional baseball since 1949. He played for the major league Washington Senators, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Philadelphia Phillies. He also coached for the Minnesota Twins, Phillies, and Montreal Expos (and later became a full-time scout for the Expos). Today, at age 87, he still scouts for the Miami Marlins.  

    Steve Bratkovich is retired from the St. Paul office of the U. S. Forest Service and lives in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota. Please join us for this special event!


    September 13, 2015 - 2:00pm


    As part of the Coralville Library 50th Anniversary Celebration, local author/illustrator Claudia McGehee will present a children’s program and art activities based around her picture book My Wilderness.  McGehee's distinctive scratchboard illustrations depict a 1918-1919 winter spent on Alaska's Fox Island with American Modernist artist Rockwell Kent as told by his 9 year-old son. Prairie Lights will be on hand  to sell books. Please join us!


    September 13, 2015 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights


    September 14, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In this special event sponsored by the IWP, Shahriar Mandanipour will read from his novel Censoring an Iranian Love Story. Mandanipour evokes a pair of young lovers who find each other despite surreal persecution and repressive parents – through coded messages and internet chat rooms.

    Shahriar Mandanipour, an Iranian exile, is the author of novels, short stories, and nonfiction published in Iran. He was a soldier in the war between Iran and Iraq, which he wrote about to great acclaim in Iran, but recent work more critical of the government has led to his exile. Currently a fellow at Harvard University, this is his first translation into English.

    His work has appeared in PEN America, The Literary Review, and The Kenyon Review. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    "A clever Rubik's Cube of a story, [and] a haunting portrait of life in the Islamic Republic of Iran. . . . An Escher-like meditation on the interplay of life and art, reality and fiction." —Michiko Kakutani

  • HILTON ALS * * * CANCELLED * * *

    September 15, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, Hilton Als will talk about his book of essays, White Girls. White Girls weaves together Als’ brilliant analyses of literature, art, and music with fearless insights on race, gender, and history. The result is an extraordinary, complex portrait of "white girls," as Als dubs them—an expansive but precise category that encompasses figures as diverse as Truman Capote and Louise Brooks, Michael Jackson and Flannery O'Connor.

    Als is a staff writer for the New Yorker, and has also written for The Village Voice and The Nation, and was an editor-at-large at Vibe. He collaborated on film scripts for Swoon and Looking for Langston. The winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and writing awards from the New York Association of Black Journalists and the Guggenheim Foundation, he lives in New York City.


    September 16, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the Ida Beam Foundation, Tanya Luhrmann will talk about her book, When God Talks Back. A New York Times Notable Book, When God Talks Back is a bold approach to understanding the American evangelical experience from an anthropological and psychological perspective by one of the country's most prominent anthropologists. Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist at Stanford University. She received her education from Harvard and Cambridge universities, and was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. In 2007, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

    “Tanya Luhrmann is a very sensitive participant-observer and a beautiful writer . . . When God Talks Back is one of the most provocative and enlightening books I have read this year.”—Oliver Sacks


    September 17, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson