Prairie Lights

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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    September 30, 2014 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    In a special event at the Englert Theatre, Nonfiction Writing Program graduates Tim Denevi and Jennifer Percy will talk about their books written from the frontlines of mental illness.  

    Timothy Denevi will read from his explosive new memoir, Hyper: A Personal History of ADHD. "At once both memoir and social history, Hyper chronicles what it was like to grow up as a kind of guinea pig for the treatment of ADHD in the 1980's . . . Timothy Denevi has written a fascinating and sometimes disturbing account, never self-pitying but consistently illuminating and riveting." — Robin Hemley

    Denevi has been awarded fellowships including one by The MacDowell Colony he is currently the Nonfiction Visiting Writer in the MFA program at George Mason University. 

    Iowa Nonfiction Program and Iowa Writers'  Workshop graduate Jen Percy will read from and talk about her haunting and immersive debut, Demon Camp: A Soldier's Exorcism. The book explores PTSD and its attempted treatments, focusing on an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran who seeks relief from his suffering from a religious community that performs exorcisms.  Winner of a Pushcart Prize and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, her work has appeared in Harper’s, The New Republic, and The Oxford American. She teaches writing at New York University. 

    This event is part of the Intimate Series at the Englert, presented with the artists and audience onstage together, and is free and open to the public.


    October 1, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Merritt Tierce will read from her novel, Love Me Back.  "Merritt Tierce's debut novel, Love Me Back, is a gorgeous, dirty razor of prose—sharp and dangerous and breathtaking. This is a defiant story about a young woman choosing the life and motherhood that is best for her, without apology. At times, Love Me Back puts Marie into such vulnerable, honest, reckless places you want to cringe, but the fierce strength of Tierce's writing and the electric wonder of Marie's character will not allow you to look away." —Roxane Gay

    Merritt Tierce was a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree, was born and raised in Texas, and graduated from college at the age of 19. While in the Writers’ Workshop she was named a Meta Rosenberg Fellow, and has been a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award. She lives near Dallas.

  • IWP Reading: Sanhouri, Chauly and Smigasiewicz

    October 19, 2014 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    IWP residents Sabah Sanhouri (Sudan) and Bernice Chauly (Malaysia) will be joined by NWP MFA candidate & Literary Translation MFA Beatrice Smigasiewicz at this free event.

    Sabah SANHOURI (fiction writer; Sudan) is a freelance journalist. Her story "The Isolation" won the El-Tayeb Saleh competition for Youth Short Story Writers and has been made into a short film; it was published by Words Without Borders, and appeared in French and Arabic translations. A story collection, [Mirrors], came out in Egypt and Sudan earlier this year.

    Bernice CHAULY (poet, nonfiction and fiction writer, playwright, filmmaker; Malaysia) is the author of the poetry collections going there and coming back (1997), The Book of Sins (2008), and Onkalo (2013), the short fiction book Lost in KL (2008) and the memoir Growing Up With Ghosts (2011). Her films have screened at international film festivals and, along with her writing, have won numerous awards. Chauly is a co-founder of Rhino Press and of Malaysia’s longest- running literary platform Readings, and the curator of the George Town Literary Festival; she teaches creative writing at Taylor’s University.

  • IWP Reading: Chai, Treur and Yu

    November 2, 2014 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    IWP residents Yeow Kai Chai (Singapore) and Franca Treur (Netherlands) will be joined by Iowa Writers' Workshop MFA candidate James Yu at this free event.

    YEOW Kai Chai (poet, fiction writer; Singapore) is the author of poetry collections Secret Manta (2001) and Pretend I’m Not Here (2006). His poems and stories have been widely published and anthologized. He is an editor at the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and has been an editor and music critic for The Straits Times. His third poetry collection, One to the Dark Tower Comes, is forthcoming.

    Franca TREUR (fiction writer; Netherlands) won the 2010 Selexyz Debut Prize for her novel Dorsvloer vol confetti [Confetti on the Threshing Floor], which will be released as a feature- length film this fall. Her second novel, De woongroep [The Roommates], came out in early 2014. She contributes stories, columns and essays to NRC Handelsblad, Volkskrant, Groene Amsterdammer, radio 1 VPRO Nooit meer slapen and Vogue.