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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    August 30, 2015 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Every fall Prairie Lights hosts a reading series in conjunction with the UI's International Writing Program. The readings are held (most) Sundays at 4pm and feature 2 of the visiting international writers and one writer from the UI's Fiction, Poetry or Non-fiction workshops. Please join us!

    Birgül Oğuz is a visiting author from Turkey. She was among the winners of the 2014 European Union Prize for Literature for her latest short fiction collection Hah, now being translated into thirteen European languages. A PhD candidate in English Literature at Bosphorus University, she lectures on literature at independent academic institutions and theater houses in Istanbul.

    Villeda is a visiting author from Mexico. She is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Dodo. Her work in poetry and multimedia, widely anthologized and translated, has received recognition through several awards, including the 2014 National Fine Arts Prize for Children’s Fiction and the 2013 Elías Nandino National Award for Youth Poetry.

    Spenser Mestel is a current Nonfiction MFA candidate at the University of Iowa. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, The Cauldron, and The Iowa Review. He is currently a Nonfiction MFA candidate at the University of Iowa. 


    September 1, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Millenial journalist Rachel Hills will talk about her new book, The Sex Myth. Equal parts social commentary, pop culture, and powerful personal anecdotes from people across the English-speaking world, The Sex Myth exposes the invisible norms and unspoken assumptions that shape the way we think about sex today.

    Hills is an Australian journalist living in New York City. Her work has been published in Vogue,, Cosmopolitan, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast. Her blog, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman, has more than 100,000 subscribers. Jenna Sauers is an MFA candidate in the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. Her writing has appeared in the Village Voice, Bookforum, GQ, and Jezebel.

    "Rachel Hills has written a bracing and brave interrogation of contemporary assumptions about sex — how and with whom and why we have it, and what it means if we don't. Here is a fresh voice and a welcome perspective, cutting through attitudes that are supposed to be progressive and liberating, but can too often oppress and stifle us just as effectively as older taboos." –Rebecca Traister


    September 2, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Grinnell professor Marc Chamberland will talk about his new book, Single Digits: In Praise of Small Numbers.  Called “A Bracing Mathematical Adventure” by Booklist, Single Digits illustrates the remarkable mathematical properties and characteristics of numbers one through nine. For instance, why do eight perfect card shuffles leave a standard deck of cards unchanged? Are there really "six degrees of separation" between all pairs of people? And how can any map need only four colors to ensure that no regions of the same color touch? Single Digits explores the  history, applications, and connections in mathematics, including number theory, geometry, chaos theory, numerical analysis, and mathematical physics.

    Creator of the YouTube channel "Tipping Point Math”,  Chamberland is the Myra Steele Professor of Natural Science and Mathematics at Grinnell College.


    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 talk about her children's book
    My Wilderness: An Alaskan Adventure. 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