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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  • THEODORE WHEELER, TYRONE JAEGER & DAVE MADDEN

    July 10, 2016 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Theodore Wheeler, Tyrone Jaeger and Dave Madden will read from their new books Bad Faith, So Many True Believers, and If You Need Me I’ll Be Over There. The reading is a collaboration between Queen’s Ferry Press and Indiana University Press.

    Theodore Wheeler will read from his debut collection of stories, Bad Faith, “a perfect lesson in perfidy, deception, and duplicity, a contemplative exploration of the vagaries of the double-minded human heart.” Amina Gautier  Theodore Wheeler’s short fiction has appeared in numerous literary magazines. A graduate of the Creighton University creative writing program, he’s won the Tarcher/Penguin Top Artist Writing Contest, the Marianne Russo Award from the Key West Literary Semina. He lives in Omaha, where he is a legal reporter covering the civil courts of Nebraska.

    Tyrone Jaeger will read from So Many True Believers, his debut collection of stories. "Tyrone Jaeger is a new writer with a big heart, a delight in language, and a deft and subtle touch; So Many True Believers is gentle and melancholy, a story collection linked like a set of Christmas lights, a series of bright bulbs glowing against the cold and dark night." —Lauren Groff   Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains, Tyrone Jaeger has also lived in Florida, Ireland, California, and Colorado. A graduate of the PhD program in creative writing at the University of Nebraska, he currently teaches at Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas.

    Dave Madden will read from If You Need Me, I’ll Be Over There. "Dave Madden has again given us a wonder of a book. These charismatic stories, as funny as they are sad, are attuned to the possibility of disorder beneath every human aspiration." —Paul Lisicky   Dave Madden is author of The Authentic Animal: Inside the Odd and Obsessive World of Taxidermy. His shorter work has appeared in Harper’s, Prairie Schooner, Denver Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of the Sherwood Anderson Award in fiction and an AWP Intro Journals Award in nonfiction. He teaches in the MFA program at the University of San Francisco.

     

  • VU TRAN

    July 11, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, Vu Tran will read from his highly acclaimed novel, Dragonfish. “Is this an immigrant saga disguised as a crime novel, or a smart thriller that just happens to be set in the Vietnamese immigrant community in Las Vegas? It’s both — but what matters is that Vu Tran has written a debut novel of uncommon artistry, about a group of Vietnamese Americans and the history of love, violence, and sacrifice that binds them together and tears them apart. —Tom Perrotta

    Vu Tran is a graduate of The Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a winner of a Whiting Award recognizing exceptional talent and promise. He teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago.

  • RACHEL MORITZ & JOHN KOETHE

    July 12, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Poets Rachel Moritz and John Koethe will read from their work. Rachel Moritz will read from Borrowed Wave. This debut collection explores the terrain of memory and desire as it’s mapped onto language. What is the connection between thinking and feeling, these poems ask. And how do boundaries in time and space find expression in our lives? Calling on traditions of lyric experiment in American poetry stretching back to Emily Dickinson, Borrowed Wave employs the image as connective tissue between states of formlessness and constraint.

    Rachel Moritz's poems have been published in American Letters and Commentary, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Verse Daily, and VOLT.  She received an MFA from the University of Minnesota and has taught writing at Hamline University, Macalester College, the University of Minnesota, and The Loft Literary Center. She lives with her partner and son in Minneapolis, where she works as an exhibit developer, teaches with COMPAS and Alzheimer’s Poetry Project–Minnesota, and mentors in poetry through the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop.

    John Koethe will read from The Swimmer. In his tenth volume of poetry, Koethe investigates the capricious nature of everyday life. His poems―always dynamic and in process, never static or complete―luxuriate in the questions that punctuate the most humdrum of routines, rendering a robust portrait of an individual: complicated, quotidian, and resounding with truth. The Swimmer argues that this “energizes everything”: life’s trivialities, surprises, and disappointments, and the “terrible feeling of being just about to fall.”

    John Koethe is the author of Falling Water and 95th Street Poems. He has received the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, and the Frank O’Hara Award. He has also published books on Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosophical skepticism, and poetry, and is the Distinguished Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

     

  • HANNAH PITTARD

    July 13, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    CANCELLED

    This event has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule it later in the fall.

  • SANDRA SCOFIELD

    July 18, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Sandra Scofield will read from Mysteries of Love and Grief: Reflections on a Plainswoman’s Life. Mysteries of Love and Grief is the story of Scofield’s grandmother, who, widowed at thirty and left with three children in the midst of the Great Depression, worked as a farmer, a railroad cook, a mill worker, and a nurse in four states. “Throughout her depiction of her own family, Scofield kept me surprised—a moment of generosity when I didn't expect it or of anger when I didn't expect that. Mysteries remain as they must, but I trusted the insights as well as the mysteries. I thought it was a very beautiful book, smart and sharp.” —Karen Joy Fowler

    Sandra Scofield is the author of seven novels, including Beyond Deserving, a National Book Award finalist. Scofield is the author of The Scene Book and Occasions of Sin.  She lives in southern Oregon, and is teaching this summer at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

     

  • LARRY WATSON

    July 19, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Master storyteller and author of the classic Montana 1948, Larry Watson, will read from his new novel, As Good as Gone.  In this stirring new novel, protagonist Calvin Sidey is a cowboy of the old-school, no-guff sort — steely, hardened, with his own personal code. It's the 1960s, and he's living off the grid in a stifling trailer on the prairie when his adult son, Bill, seeks his help. Calvin reluctantly agrees to go stay with his grandchildren for a week, back in the small town where he once was a mythic figure. When problems arise, he finds that the Old West way, in which scores are settled, ultimatums are issued, and your gun is always loaded, doesn’t work anymore and he has to find a different way to protect his family.

    Larry Watson grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, and received his BA and MA from the University of North Dakota and his PhD in creative writing at the University of Utah. He is the author of the novels Let Him Go, Montana 1948, American Boy, In a Dark Time, White Crosses, Laura, Orchard, and Sundown, Yellow Moon; the fiction collection Justice; and the chapbook of poetry Leaving Dakota. He lives in Milwaukee, WI.

  • MARY HICKMAN & AMEENA HUSSEIN

    July 21, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Authors Mary Hickman and Ameena Hussein will read from their work in this special reading sponsored by the University of Iowa’s Between the Lines Program.

    Mary Hickman is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the author of two books of poetry, This Is the Homeland and Rayfish, and two chapbooks, Ecce Animot and How to Be Healthy and Heal. Her work has been featured as a Boston Review Poet's Sampler and in the PEN America Poetry Series. Her poems and essays have appeared in Colorado Review, Fourteen Hills, jubilat, and Sonora Review. She recently lectured and read in Turkey and Armenia as a delegate with the State Department's American Writers on Tour program. A recipient of the Elizabeth Dietz Best Essay Prize, an Iowa Arts Fellowship, and two Iowa Arts Council Awards, she is currently finishing a dissertation on 20th century US poetry and the artist's book.

    Ameena Hussein is a sociologist, editor, publisher, and novelist from Sri Lanka. She has published two award-winning short story collections, Fifteen, and Zillij. She was an editor of Sometimes There is No Blood, a survey of research on violence against rural women by the International Centre of Ethnic Studies in Colombo and the editor of Nethra, a creative literary journal. In 2003 she co-founded the Perera Hussein Publishing House. Her novel The Moon in the Water was long-listed for the 2007 Man Asia Literary Prize, and appeared in print in early 2009. She lives in Sri Lanka.

  • KODI SCHEER

    July 25, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Kodi Scheer will read from her crossover Y/A novel, Midair. “In this gripping novel of both suspense and regret, revenge and sorrow, the dark hearts of teenage girls search for weakness but find more than they bargained for. Midair is the story of best laid plans and all the ways in which we misunderstand each other, sometimes to catastrophic effect.” —Rebecca Scherm

    Kodi Scheer teaches writing at the University of Michigan, where she earned her MFA. She was awarded the Dzanc Prize for Excellence in Literary Fiction and Community Service. Her stories have appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Iowa Review, The Florida Review, Quarterly West, and Bellevue Literary Review. She has also served as writer-in-residence for the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

     

  • TERRY TEMPEST WILLIAMS

    July 26, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Author, activist, and conservationist Terry Tempest Williams will read from The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks. From the Grand Tetons in Wyoming to Acadia in Maine to Big Bend in Texas and more, Williams creates a series of lyrical portraits that illuminate the unique grandeur of each place while delving into what it means to shape a landscape with its own evolutionary history into something of our own making. Part memoir, part natural history, and part social critique, The Hour of Land is a meditation and a manifesto on why wild lands matter to the soul of America.

    Terry Tempest Williams is the award-winning author of fifteen books, including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, and When Women Were Birds. She lives in Castle Valley, Utah, with her husband, Brooke Williams.

  • JAMES MAGRUDER

    July 29, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    James Magruder will read from his third book, the Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall.  "In Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall, James Magruder combines the sexual trysting and guilty pleasures of a telenovela with the witty dialogue of a drawing-room farce (though even better: this drawing room is a graduate residence dorm in the 1980s). Lurking, of course, is the specter of AIDS, a presence that Magruder invokes with the fear and consternation befitting the time . . . Magruder's language is so precise, so beautifully crafted and bitingly funny, that I laughed throughout and then nearly cried when Love Slaves of Helen Hadley ended." — Lori Ostlund

    James Magruder is a Baltimore-based fiction writer, playwright, and translator. He is the author of Sugarless, and Let Me See It. He teaches dramaturgy at Swarthmore College.