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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    April 19, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Luis Alberto Urrea will read from his new novel, The House of Broken Angels. “Reading Urrea feels like getting invited to a party. Come on, his prose says. You don't want to miss this . . . The book's spirit is irrepressibly high. Even in its saddest moments, The House of Broken Angels hums with joy . . . Most of all, The House of Broken Angels overflows with the pleasure of family.” —Lily Meyer, NPR

    Urrea is the bestselling author of the novels The Hummingbird's Daughter, Into the Beautiful North, and Queen of America, as well as the story collections The Water Museum, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, and the Pulitzer Prize finalist work of nonfiction The Devil's Highway. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, he now lives outside of Chicago and teaches at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

    "One of the most vivid and engrossing family epics of the last twenty years."—Dave Eggers



    April 20, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Rebekah Frumkin will read from her blistering dark comedy, The Comedown. "The Comedown is everything you could want in a novel—an intergenerational family saga, a mystery that spans modern American history, a scalpel cut through our many national foibles and shames. Funny, heartbreaking, tremendous; Frumkin's intelligence and empathy radiates off every page." —Carmen Maria Machado

    Rebekah Frumkin’s fiction and essays have appeared in Granta, McSweeney's, and Best American Nonrequired Reading. She is currently getting her MSJ from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.


    April 25, 2018 - 5:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event co-sponsored with The Iowa Neuroscience Institute, Eli Gottlieb will read from his novel, Best Boy. This arresting novel’s protagonist is an institutionalized autistic man in his fifties. “Amid the flood of books about autism in childhood comes this gripping novel about the fresher territory of autism in midlife. It is written with elan, wit, and great empathy, and it limns in fiction the crisis our nation faces in real life as we try to construct viable supports for this burgeoning population.”—Andrew Solomon

    Eli Gottlieb is the author of The Face Thief, Now You See Him, and The Boy Who Went Away. He has worked as a Senior Editor of Elle Magazine and taught American Literature as a Lecturer at the University of Padova, Italy. His novels have won him the Rome Prize and the Mckitterick Prize of the British Society of Authors and have been published in 14 countries. He teaches in the MFA writing program at Columbia University.

  • LESLIE JAMISON in conversation with CHARLES D’AMBROSIO

    April 25, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Leslie Jamison will return to Iowa City to read from her new book, The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath. She will be joined in conversation by Writers’ Workshop Faculty Charles D’Ambrosio.

    "Leslie Jamison's The Recovering is a definitive investigation of both the romance of intoxication and the possibilities for recovery. Whether interviewing veterans of a communal rehab house, digging through the archives of alcoholic writers, or examining her own motives and thoughts, Jamison shows ways of living alongside contradictions without diminishing their confusion and pain."—Chris Kraus

    Leslie Jamison is the author of the NYT Bestselling essay collection The Empathy Exams and the novel The Gin Closet. Her work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Harper's, and the Oxford American, and she is a columnist for the New York Times Book Review. She teaches at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn.

    Charles D'Ambrosio is the author of Loitering, The Point and The Dead Fish Museum. He's been the recipient of a Whiting Award and a Lannan Fellowship, and he teaches fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.


    April 26, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    University of Iowa Journalism Professor Stephen G. Bloom will read from his vivid, scandal-filled story of a shrewd, rags-to-riches millionairess, The Audacity of Inez Burns "The real-world story that historians don't dare—or can't—write, with a fascinating and flamboyant character who throws new light on women's struggles in America. Inez's epic battle with the father of the current governor of California sums up perfectly a century of social change." —James Bone

    Stephen Bloom is an award-winning journalist and author of four critically acclaimed nonfiction books. He has been a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, San Jose Mercury News, and a senior writer in San Francisco for the Sacramento Bee. Bloom's work has appeared in Smithsonian, The New York Times Magazine, Chicago Tribune Magazine, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, London Guardian, Salon, Best New Writing 2016, National Public Radio, and The Atlantic.
    He lives in Iowa City.


    April 27, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program graduate Cutter Wood will read from his new book, Love and Death in the Sunshine State.  "In Love and Death in the Sunshine State, this gripping exploration of an island murder and a heartland love, Cutter Wood subverts all our expectations for the true crime genre... Wood’s voice is smart, curious, playful, and wholly engaging.”—Leslie Jamison

    Cutter Wood has been awarded numerous fellowships, and his essays have been published in Harper’s and other magazines. He has served as a visiting scholar in creative nonfiction at the University of Iowa and the University of Louisville. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter. This event will be co-sponsored by the Nonfiction Writing Program.


    April 28, 2018 - 10:00am

    Prairie Lights

    Stop in to show your support and shop special limited-edition Independent Bookstore Day items. 


    April 29, 2018 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Patricia Hampl will read from her sparkling new commentary on the hectic scheduling of modern day leisure, The Art of the Wasted Day. "Vivid, passionate, bursting with ideas and insights, Patricia Hampl's new book is a summation of a lifetime of sensitive searching and thinking. A love story, a meditation on death, travel, Americanness, Catholicism, integrity and Montaigne, this beautiful journey is finally about the education of a soul." —Phillip Lopate

    Patricia Hampl is the author of prose works including A Romantic Education and, most recently, The Florist's Daughter. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Best American Essays. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the NEA and the MacArthur Foundation, she lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. This event is co-sponsored by the Nonfiction Writing Program.


    April 30, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    David Kerns will read from his new novel Fortnight on Maxwell Street. A young white medical student in 1968 Chicago steps into his own racial fears to care for a black family in grave danger, all while James Earl Ray plots the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. "David Kerns' Fortnight on Maxwell Street is a suspenseful medical odyssey that dances along a high wire of racial tension during a tragic and historic American moment."—James McManus, author of the NYT Bestseller Positively Fifth Street.

    David Kerns is a columnist and feature writer for the Napa Valley Register. Born in Chicago, he is a retired Stanford medical professor. His inspiration for Fortnight on Maxwell Street was his own work as a Northwestern medical student on Chicago’s West Side.


    May 16, 2018 - 7:00pm

    IC Public Library, Rm. E

    Our May book club title will be Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. 

    "The Maltese Falcon is probably the BEST DETECTIVE story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well written novel." —Times Literary Supplement