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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    May 6, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Alexander Chee will read from his novel, The Queen of the Night,  a mesmerizing novel that follows one woman’s rise from circus rider to courtesan to world-renowned diva.

    Lilliet Berne is a sensation of the Paris Opera, a legendary soprano with every accolade except an original role, every singer’s chance at immortality. When one is finally offered to her, she realizes with alarm that the libretto is based on a hidden piece of her past. Only four could have betrayed her: one is dead, one loves her, one wants to own her. And one, she hopes, never thinks of her at all.

    Chee is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, NPR and Out, among others. He is winner of a 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in prose and a 2010 MCCA Fellowship. He lives in New York City, where he curates the Dear Reader series at Ace Hotel New York.

    "If Lilliet Berne were a man, she might have been what 19th-century novels would call a swashbuckler: the kind of destiny-courting, death-defying character who finds intrigue and peril (and somehow, always, a fantastic pair of pantaloons) around every corner Paris glittering swirl of artists, aristocrats, and underworld habitues lives vividly in [Alexander Chee's] descriptions; no gaslit chateau or jet-beaded evening dress goes unnoted or unadmired. " —Entertainment Weekly


    May 7, 2016 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Local artist Jennifer Black Reinhardt will present Yaks Yak, a delightful new book she has illustrated, by Linda Sue Park.  Learn about the art of illustration as she shares a powerpoint presentation of her illustrative process. In this funny and informative new children’s book,  Reinhardt’s illustrations depict an entertaining survey of animals whose names are also verbs in scenes where yaks yak, slugs slug, rams ram, and crows crow.

    Jennifer Black Reinhardt  received a degree in Illustration from Carnegie Mellon University. She has worked in advertising, and has had her artwork featured on calendars, humor books, needlepoint kits, collector plates, and a Louie Award winning line of greeting cards.  She is the illustrator of several books for children including The Inventor’s Secret; What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford  by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig written by Chris Kurtz.

    She lives in Iowa City with her family and a big, white poodle.


    May 9, 2016 - 6:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join Prairie Lights and Director of the Undergraduate Nonfiction Writing Program Bonnie Sunstein in celebrating the semi-annual Writers Gone Public reading. The event from 6:30 to 8:30 pm will feature current undergraduate students who study with MFA Nonfiction faculty, reading excerpts from essays they have written this semester.


    May 10, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    University of Iowa Associate Professor of Journalism David O. Dowling will read from his new book Surviving the Essex: The Afterlife of America’s Most Storied Shipwreck. Surviving the Essex chronicles the captivating story of a ship’s crew battered by a whale attack and forced to survive four months at sea by any means necessary. Dowling probes deep into the nature of trauma and survival accounts as well as the impact this story had on Herman Melville and the writing of Moby-Dick.

    Dowling has written numerous books on the intersection of business and literature, including Emerson’s Protégés and Literary Partnerships and the Marketplace.

    “With glistening prose and a detective’s eye for detail and acts of deception, David Dowling investigates one of the most famous and harrowing events in maritime history. By carefully dissecting contending narratives of the sinking of the Essex, Dowling illuminates issues diverse and fascinating: cannibalism, ghostwriting, the literary marketplace, reputations, and even the culpability of the whale in sinking the ship.”—George Cotkin


    May 11, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    december literary and arts magazine will celebrate the release of its newest issue with readings by current and former University of Iowa faculty and Writers’ Workshop graduates Marvin Bell, Christopher Merrill, David Hamilton, and Karen Holman.

    december is an iconic literary and arts magazine that was founded in Iowa City in 1958 and revived in 2013 after a 32-year hiatus. This event will celebrate its legendary roots in Iowa City. In its first incarnation, december introduced Raymond Carver to the literary world with his first-ever published story and launched the careers of countless other writers, including Joyce Carol Oates, Marge Piercy, Philip Levine, Rita Mae Brown, and Donald Hall, all of whom published their first or very early work in december.

    december continues to publish exceptional, thought-provoking poetry, prose, and art, championing the work of unheralded writers and artists, and celebrating fresh work from seasoned voices. A reception will follow in the Prairie Lights Café.


    May 13, 2016 - 5:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us in celebrating the achievements of the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing graduating Certificate in Writing students! The event will feature a select number of students reading from and discussing their Capstone projects from 5-6pm, followed by a reception in the café with food and beverages from 6-7pm.


    May 15, 2016 - 12:00pm

    The First Presbyterian Church, Ryerson Fellowship Hall, 2701 Rochester Ave.

    UIowa assistant professor of classics and religious studies Robert R. Cargill will speak at the Iowa City First Presbyterian Church. Dr. Cargill will talk about his new book, The Cities that Built the Bible, which introduces readers to a dozen cities that were formative in the stories behind the writing of, or the later understanding of the Old and New Testaments, and this lecture will be a reflection on the Spirit of God in the two testaments. Prairie Lights will have copies of The Cities that Built the Bible at the church for purchase.

    Robert R. Cargill has appeared in more than a dozen television documentaries, including Finding Jesus on CNN and Bible Secrets Revealed on History, and was the host of National Geographic’s Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls. He lives in Iowa City.

    “The most original and entertaining approach to telling the story of the Bible that I’ve seen . . . Anyone who wants to know how recent archaeological discoveries have revolutionized our understanding of the Bible should read this book.” —William Schniedewind, Ph.D. Prof of Ancient Eastern Mediterranean Studies at UCLA


    May 19, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Current Writers’ Workshop student Anaïs Duplan will read from her new book of poetry, Take This Stallion, published by Brooklyn Arts Press. "I have never before read a book like Anaïs Duplan's Take This Stallion. Her major talent is recognizing the self in the other, making for poems that flow forward in a tone of oneness—is oneness a tone?—poems that make evident an ever-expanding world by opening themselves up into that world."—Jericho Brown

    Anaïs Duplan was born in Jacmel, Haiti. She is the director of a performance collective called The Spacesuits and of The Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program in Iowa City. Her poems and essays have appeared in Birdfeast, Hyperallergic, The Journal, [PANK], and other publications.


    May 20, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author and musician Joseph Brisben will read from his newly published work of fiction, Marvin’s Garden.  “Marvin’s Garden is a refreshing take on a story that is all-too familiar . . . reminiscent of “All About Eve.” I loved the wonderful mixture of tones. Much of it is sad and horrifying, but there are places that made me laugh out loud, as when Madge tries to kill her abusive husband by over-feeding him. I love the animal revenge . . . and the note of hope.” —Richard Dyer

    Joseph Brisben has worked as an investment counselor and in college public relations. He has also worked as a reporter and copyreader. In college he studied English and American literature at the University of Chicago and at Drake University. He has been writing fiction off and on for more than four decades, and in recent years has taken classes with the Iowa Summer Writing Program. In addition to writing, Brisben sings, plays trombone and a number of folk instruments. He has four children and four grandchildren, and lives in Iowa City.


    May 22, 2016 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Best-selling author Craig Johnson will read from his new book, The Highwayman: A Longmire Story.  In The Highwayman, Wyoming Highway Patrolman Rosey Wayman is transferred to the beautiful and imposing landscape of the Wind River Canyon—an area the troopers refer to as no-man's-land because of the lack of radio communication— where she starts receiving officer needs assistance calls. The problem? They're coming from Bobby Womack, a legendary Arapaho patrolman who met a fiery death in the canyon almost a half-century ago.

    “The [Longmire] series continues to be fresh and innovative . . . Devoted series fans won’t feel a sense of déjà vu in Dry Bones, but they will easily identify Johnson’s tendency toward innovative imagery . . . crack dialogue, humor and a strong sense of place. Absaroka’s maker brings dem bones to life, and readers are sure to rejoice.” —Shelf Awareness

    Craig Johnson is the author of eight previous novels in the Walt Longmire series, the basis for the hit drama Longmire, now on Netflix. He has a background in law enforcement and education. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population twenty-five.