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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    February 26, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Bonnie Friedman will read from her new book, Surrendering Oz: A Life in Essays.

    Bonnie Friedman is the author of the widely anthologized Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction, and Other Dilemmas in the Writer’s Life. She is also the author of The Thief of Happiness: The Story of an Extraordinary Psychotherapy. Surrendering Oz is a memoir in essays that charts the emotional awakening of a bookish Bronx girl. From her early job as a proofreader at The Guinness Book of World Records through a series of dominating and liberating friendships and secret connections, the author takes charge of her life as a Texas professor, writer, and wise student of her own soul.

    Friedman’s work has appeared in The Best American Movie Writing, The Best Buddhist Writing, The Best Writing on Writing, the Best Spiritual Writing, and The Best of O., the Oprah Magazine. She teaches creative writing at the University of North Texas, and divides her time between Brooklyn, New York, and Denton, Texas.                                                                                

    “In these very personal essays, lit by a harsh honesty and graced by a supple, eloquent prose style, the author has dug deep and found her own truth, and in the process triumphantly reconciled with a flawed self.”  – Phillip Lopate, editor of The Art of the Personal Essay

    “A must for students of creative writing.” — Henrietta Verma, Library Journal


    February 27, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    University of Iowa Professor of Communication Studies and Latin American Studies Kristin Muñoz will talk about her new book, Transcribing Silence, which explores the many dimensions of silence, a crucial but often overlooked communication phenomenon that drives much of everyday talk and relationships.

    Muñoz’s research and teaching are centered in the ethnography of communication, based on fieldwork in Colombia since 1983 and in the UK, Spain and the US Midwest. She has been the recipient of a Fulbright Award, a Leverhulme Grant, a University of Iowa Global Scholar Award, and the European Social Research Council. She has published 4 books and her book Speaking Relationally received the Gerald R. Miller Award for Outstanding Publication in Interpersonal Communication Research.

    "I am in awe of Kristine Muñoz's twenty-year project of understanding and illuminating what silence means and what it does in different contexts and cultures. Some of the finest ethnographic and fictional pieces rest between her insightful review of the research and theories of silence and her valuable comments on the craft of ethnography, including ethnographers silence about how they do their writing." — Laurel Richardson, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, Ohio State University


    March 3, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special Women’s History Month event co-sponsored by The University of Iowa History Department, Dr. Jill Zahniser will read from and discuss Alice Paul: Claiming Power, coauthored with Amelia R. Fry.  

    Alice Paul has long been an elusive figure in the political history of American women. This biography of Paul's early years and suffrage leadership offers fresh insight into her private persona and public image, examining for the first time the sources of Paul's ambition and the growth of her political consciousness.

    Jill Zahniser is an independent scholar who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She has taught at the Universities of Iowa and Minnesota, St. Cloud State University, and the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  Dr. Zahniser is the editor of the series And Then She Said: Quotations by Women Around the World. She lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.


    March 4, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Karen Bender will read from her new book of short stories, Refund. The stories in Refund reflect our contemporary world— swindlers, reality show creators, desperate artists, siblings, parents — who try to answer the question: What is the real definition of worth?

    "Bender is a master storyteller and Refund is a superb collection." — Tom Barbash

    Karen Bender is the author of the novels Like Normal People and A Town of Empty Rooms. Her stories have been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Mystery Stories, New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, and have won two Pushcart prizes. She has won grants from the Rona Jaffe Foundation and the NEA. She has taught creative writing at Antioch University Los Angeles, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and Tunghai University in Taiwan. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.


    March 4, 2015 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    Olympic gold medalist and revered University of Iowa coach Dan Gable will talk with Nate Kaeding about his new book from University of Iowa Press, A Wrestling Life: The Inspiring Stories of Dan Gable

    A celebration of determination, teamwork, and the persevering human spirit,
    A Wrestling Life captures Gable’s methods and philosophies for reaching individual greatness as well as the incredible amount of fulfillment and satisfaction that comes from working as part of a team.



    March 6, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Erika Wurth will read from Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend, her novel about a sharp-tongued, drug-dealing, sixteen-year-old Native American floundering in a Colorado town crippled by poverty, unemployment, and drug abuse.

    Wurth is Apache / Chickasaw / Cherokee and was raised on the outskirts of Denver. She is the author of the poetry collection Indian Trains, and her work has appeared in Boulevard, Fiction, Cimarron Review, Southern California Review and Drunken Boat. She teaches creative writing at Western Illinois University and was a writer-in-residence at the Institute of American Indian Arts.

    "There's no horror flick or disaster movie scarier than a teenager's life. —Sandra Cisneros


    March 6, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Zion Lutheran Church, 310 N. Johnson St., Iowa City

    Prairie Lights will sell copies of Brian McLaren’s We Make the Road by Walking at a special event at Zion Lutheran Church presented by First Mennonite Church of Iowa City, Zion Lutheran Church, Trinity Episcopal Church, First Christian Church of Coralville, Full Circle Faith Community, and First Baptist Church.

    The event is free and open to the public.  McLaren is an author, speaker, activist, and public theologian. He is the author of Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?,  Naked Spirituality, and We Make the Road by Walking


    March 9, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event moderated by Tim Budd, Edgar Award-Winning author Joseph Kanon will read from and talk about his compelling new thriller, Leaving Berlin. Kanon is the bestselling author of Istanbul Passage—called a “fast-moving thinking man’s thriller” by The Wall Street Journal, as well as Los Alamos, The Prodigal Spy, Alibi, Stardust, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture. His new book is a sweeping, atmospheric novel of 1948 postwar East Berlin, a city caught between political idealism and the harsh realities of Soviet occupation.  


    March 10, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Max Winter and Lisa Lubasch will read from their most recent books of poetry.  

    Max Winter is the author of The Pictures, and most recently, Walking Among Them, published by Subpress. He co-edits the press Solid Objects, is the Editor-in Chief of Press Play, and is a Poetry Editor of Fence. He has published reviews in The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, Time Out New York, Bookforum, and other publications.

    “Max Winter’s poems are full of the permission of comedy and the precision of laughter. He is urbane, witty, and a New York poet, though that appellation doesn’t capture his eccentric grace, or his way of slipping to the center of another world by anaphora." —David Shapiro

    Lisa Lubasch is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently So I Began, published by Solid Objects. Her previous books are Twenty-One After Days (Avec Books), To Tell the Lamp, Vicinities, and How Many More of Them Are You?, which received the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. She is also the translator of Paul Eluard's A Moral Lesson (Green Integer). She co-edits the press Solid Objects.

    “The idea of writing and the space which it consumes come together both on the page and in the text.  Lubasch goes beyond narrative to discuss the structure behind it”. —Amanda Nadelberg


    March 11, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Patrick Hicks will read from his new book of short stories, The Collector of Names. The first story in the collection, “57 Gatwick,” about a terrorist bombing of a commercial airline over the City of Duluth, won the Glimmer Train Emerging Writer Fiction award. The stories in this collection explore dark situations and acknowledge mortality but more importantly show the strength of the human spirit and the unexpected gifts that life presents.

    Hicks is the author of The Commandant of Lubizec and several poetry collections. His work has appeared in Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and The Missouri Review. He is the Writer-in-Residence at Augustana College as well as a faculty member at the low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College. He lives in Sioux Falls, SD.

    "Though there is much to admire in Patrick Hicks's debut story collection, The Collector of Names, what I find most affecting is his abiding faith in human perseverance, in simple human acts that matter." —Joe Wilkins