15 South Dubuque St. • Iowa City, IA 52240 • 319-337-2681 • 800-295-BOOK • Open 9:00 a.m. daily
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.
May 28, 2013 - 7:00pm
Benjamin Percy will read from his new novel, Red Moon. "Red Moon is a serious, politically symbolic novel-a literary novel about lycanthropes. If George Orwell had imagined a future where the werewolf population had grown to the degree that they were colonized and drugged, this terrifying novel might be it." — John Irving
Benjamin Percy has won a Whiting Writers Award, a Plimpton Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is the author of the novel The Wilding and two short story collections, Refresh, Refresh and The Language of Elk. His work has appeared in Tin House and Best American Short Stories, as well as in many journals and magazines. He is the writer-in-residence at St. Olaf College and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University.
Ethan Rutherford will read from his short story collection, The Peripatetic Coffin. Praised by literary greats from Charles Baxter to Ben Fountain and Alice Sebold, The Peripatetic Coffin is alternately funny, menacing, and deeply empathetic. Paul Yoon calls it, "My desert island book. The one I will always carry with me... each story is a vessel of longing and possibility; collectively, they present a mosaic of our past and our future, reinvigorating the art of storytelling... a revelatory feat of the imagination... an incomparable, vital debut.”
Ethan Rutherford's fiction has appeared in Ploughshares, One Story, American Short Fiction, and The Best American Short Stories. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and son.
June 1, 2013 - 2:00pm
Former Iowa City student and dancer Alex Ko will talk and sign copies of his book, Alex Ko: From Iowa to Broadway, My Billy Elliot Story. Alex Ko made his Broadway debut at age thirteen in the title role of Billy in the Tony Award-winning Billy Elliot: The Musical. Alex studied dance from the time he was five years old, and at the age of twelve he was the youngest student admitted to the University of Iowa Dance Department, where he received college credit with honors distinction. Alex was guided by ballet masters Eloy Barragan and George de la Pena in Iowa City and by Peter O'Brien and Wilhelm Burmann in New York City. Alex has had the distinct honor of being a guest dancer at the White House and has appeared on ABC Family's Bunheads. Alex has won national and regional dance titles and is a USA gymnastics champion coached by 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dmitri Trouch.
June 4, 2013 - 7:00pm
Angela Onwuachi-Willig will read from her book, According to Our Hearts. This landmark book looks at what it means to be a multiracial couple in the U.S. today. It begins with a look back at a 1925 case in which a two-month marriage ends with a man suing his wife for misrepresentation of her race, and shows how our society has yet to come to terms with interracial marriage. Onwuachi-Willig argues that housing law, family law, and employment law fail to protect multiracial couples. In a society in which marriage is used to give, withhold, and take away status—in the workplace and elsewhere—she says interracial couples are at a disadvantage, which is only exacerbated by current law.
Angela Onwuachi-Willig is a Professor of Law at the University of Iowa. Her articles have appeared in or are forthcoming in many prestigious law journals, including the Yale Law Journal, California Law Review, Michigan Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, and Vanderbilt Law Review. Professor Onwuachi-Willig also has published numerous newspaper opinion-editorials.
June 6, 2013 - 7:00pm
Dmitry Samarov will read from his memoir, Hack: Stories from a Chicago Cab. "Hack is one man's witness to a contrary, luminous, and difficult city. Samarov's city is also Algren's city, Terkel's city, Royko's city. . . . Except Dmitry Samarov gets closer, moving while the city sleeps, and having an actual dialogue with its denizens; we take his journey, through the cruelties and comedies. Think of Zola—if he was driving a cab and had Samarov's mordant gallows humor and humanity as his guide. Dmitry Samarov testifies to our messy, contradictory, and vital city." — Tony Fitzpatrick
Dmitry Samarov earned his BFA in painting and printmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1993 and began driving a cab that same year. His work has been shown at the Chicago Tourism Center, the Merchandise Mart, the Bowery Gallery, and Brandeis University. Samarov is the creator of the blog "Hack," stories from which have been featured in the Chicago Reader and elsewhere.
June 10, 2013 - 7:00pm
Benjamin Lytal will read from his first novel, A Map of Tulsa. Jim Praley, the book’s protagonist, comes home to Tulsa for the summer from college and discovers his home-town anew through the eyes of Adrienne Booker, a high school dropout with a penthouse apartment. In the tradition of Michael Chabon’s The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Map of Tulsa is as much a story about young love as it is a love letter to a classic American city. Benjamin Lytal has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Lost Angeles Times, the Believer, McSweeney’s, and The Daily Beast. Originally from Tulsa, he currently lives in Chicago.
June 11, 2013 - 7:00pm
B.K. Loren will read from Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food. These meditative essays range in subject from a transcendental encounter with a pack of coyotes ironically juxtaposed with her neighbor’s claim that nature “has gone out of vogue,” to Loren’s mother’s slow yet all-encompassing deterioration from Parkinson’s, and the unexpected way the Loma Prieta earthquake eroded her depression by offering the author a sense of her small place in a wild and worthwhile world.
B.K. Loren has worked as a naturalist, assistant chef, ranch hand, furniture maker, UPS driver, college professor and many other things. She attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and currently teaches writing at Chatham University’s low residency program, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and other venues throughout North America.
June 12, 2013 - 7:00pm
Rob Cline will read from his mystery novel, Murder by the Slice. The story features Paul Chambers who parlayed his philosophy degree into a steady gig—as a delivery driver for Passable Pizza. Following his personal rules for peaceful pizza delivery, Paul is content to read comics, care for his rabbit Spinoza, and hang out with his pizza courier comrades.Then he tries to deliver to a dead guy. Suddenly, everybody is after Paul—the press, the cops, and the bad guys.
Rob Cline is an arts professional, writer, and former pizza delivery driver. He lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with his wife and three children, none of whom tip him when he brings pizza home.
Rob Cline will be joined by mystery writers Lennox Randon, reading from Friends Dogs Bullets Lovers, and Dennis Green who will read from his not yet published work, Traveller.
June 13, 2013 - 7:00pm
John T. Price will read from Daddy Long Legs, The Natural Education of a Father. “This gentle, ingenuous, and funny memoir of a flawed father is as Midwestern as the Loess Hills, and as universal as family itself. From worms to wings, mantids to spiders, dads to kids, John Price parses the natural history of a human family in all its mortality and wider habitat as well as anyone I've read in years.” — Robert Michael Pyle, author of The Thunder Tree and Mariposa Road
“If David Sedaris and Annie Dillard had a literary love child and raised him in Iowa, he would write like this.” —The Iowan
John T. Price is an award-winning teacher of creative writing and literature at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He earned an MFA in nonfiction writing, and a PhD in English from the University of Iowa. He is the author of two memoirs: Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships and Not Just Any Land.
June 13, 2013 - 7:01pm
Iowa City Public Library
In Richard Hughes’s amazing novel A High Wind in Jamaica, six English children from two different families are growing up in the lush wet heat of Jamaica. Despite the fact that they are quite young (ranging in age from three to twelve), they are more or less independent of their parents, ranging wherever they want to go and encountering danger with the intrepidity (or indifference) of ignorance. But after a terrible hurricane (the eponymous high wind in Jamaica) levels their home, their parents decide the children must go back to England, where they will be safe.
This, of course, is where the high adventure begins. Not a week out of port, the merchantman to which the children have been entrusted falls into the hands of pirates, and the children are captured. These are neither vicious pirates, à la Blackbeard, nor campy pirates of the Caribbean, but rather down-at-heel German pirates (I know!) who have no earthly idea what to make of the horde of children that has invaded the barque. The story that follows, of how the children sail with pirates and find their way home, is one of bizarre humor, secrets and lies, unexpected violence, seduction and innocence, and is frankly one of the strangest novels I’ve ever read.
The plot summary I’ve just given you sounds as if it could be a wonderful children’s novel, full of rollicking good times. It’s not — not any more than Lord of the Flies or Huckleberry Finn are children’s novels just because their protagonists are children. This novel is a carefully-crafted presentation of the idea that children are quite different from adults, and think differently, in a way that we might call insane if an adult thought this way.