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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    October 26, 2014 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    International Writing Program residents Sabata-mpho Mokae (South Africa) and Anja Utler (Germany) will read at this free event.

    Sabata-mpho MOKAE (poet, nonfiction and fiction writer; South Africa) is the author of the poetry collection Escaping Trauma (2012) and the biography The Story of Sol T. Plaatje (2010). His debut novel in Setswana, Ga Ke Modisa [I’m Not My Brother’s Keeper] (2012) won two national awards; the youth novella Dikeledi [Tears] was launched in 2014. He is a columnist and editor at a daily newspaper, and a co-founder of the annual Sol Plaatje Literary Festival.

    Anja UTLER (poet, translator; Germany) is the author of the poetry collections jana, vermacht (2009), brinnen (2006), münden – entzüngeln (2004), aufsagen (1999), and of the poetological essay plötzlicher mohn (2007). Her latest book, ausgeübt. Eine Kurskorrektur, is a poetic exploration of prose. Translated into a dozen languages, her poems and essays circulate widely. An English translation of Utler’s poetry collection, engulf – enkindle, was a finalist for the 2012 Best Translated Book Award.


    October 27, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Mark Allister will talk about and sign copies of his book, Chasing the Light: The Cloud Cult Story. During the past decade, Minnesota-grown band Cloud Cult has become one of the most inspirational indie bands, with a deeply devoted fan base and an approach to music and the environment that is hard not to admire. Beyond a musical biography, Chasing the Light tells the story of the heartbreaking yet affirming journey of lead singer and songwriter Craig Minowa and delves into the career of the band known by music lovers as the least cynical and most idealistic band in the country. Chasing the Light is a testament to the profound influence one band’s personal evolution can have on its followers and on indie rock aficionados.

    Mark Allister is professor of English, environmental studies, and American studies at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He hosts a weekly radio show, "Prof Rock with Mark Allister."


    October 28, 2014 - 5:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Elizabeth Arnold and Ali Cobby Eckermann will read from their poetry.  

    Elizabeth Arnold has published four books of poems, The Reef, Civilization, Effacement, and Life. Her poems have appeared in Conjunctions, Paris Review, Poetry, and Slate. She is on the MFA faculty at the University of Maryland and lives in Hyattsville, Maryland.

    Ali Cobby Eckermann is a visiting poet from Australia with the International Writing Program. Eckermann’s first book of poetry Little Bit Long Time was published by the Australian Poetry Centre and she is the author of two verse novels, His Father’s Eyes and Ruby Moonlight, which was selected as the book of the year in the prestigious NSW Premier's Literary Awards.  


    October 30, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Spanish Reading for MFA of the visiting writers at Iowa.


    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.


    November 3, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Artist, writer, and curator Matt Freedman will read from his memoir, Relatively Indolent But Relentless: A Cancer Treatment Journal. Freedman underwent radiation and chemotherapy at Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma, a rare cancer that had spread from his tongue to his neck to his lungs by the time it was discovered. Relatively Indolent But Relentless is the journal he kept in graphic novel form during that time, his 35-day course of treatment.

    Freedman has received a NEA fellowship in sculpture and New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in fiction writing. Recent solo shows of his artwork have been held at Pierogi, FiveMyles, Big&Small/Casual, Valentine and Studio 10 galleries in Brooklyn. Freedman is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Iowa. He teaches in the graduate fine arts and Visual Studies programs at the University of Pennsylvania.

    “Harrowing, hilarious, humbling, triumphant."—Lawrence Weschler


    November 4, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Seattle literary and culinary darling Kate Lebo will talk about her new cookbook, Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour and Butter. Learn the tricks to making enviable baked goods and gluten-free crust while enjoying Kate Lebo's wonderfully humorous, thoughtful, and encouraging voice.

    After earning her MFA from the University of Washington, Kate opened her pastry academy, Pie School, in Seattle, WA. Her poems, essays, commentary, and recipes have appeared in Best New Poets, New England Review, Gastronomica, AGNI, and other places. Lebo has judged the Iowa State Fair Pie Contest, baked with Beth Howard at the American Gothic House, and won Best in Show at the first annual Cake vs. Pie Competition.  


    November 6, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Lauren Haldeman and Bridgette Bates will read from their new books of poetry published by Rescue Press.

    Lauren Haldeman will work from her inventive debut, Calenday. These poems travel the sleep-deprived, hallucinogenic landscape of parenting a newborn—from the otherworldly process of giving birth to the strangeness of extra-physical connection, they build worlds in miniature and madcap and address the tiers of grief that accompany tragic and bewildering loss.

    Haldeman works as the web developer, web designer, and editor for the Writing University website at the University of Iowa and the Iowa Review, as well as several other websites. Haldeman has been a finalist for the Walt Whitman award and the Colorado Prize for Poetry. She lives in Iowa City.

    Bridgette Bates will read from What Is Not Missing Is Light, winner of the Rescue Press Black Box Poetry Prize selected by Heather Christle. In What Is Not Missing Is Light, shards of history are sharpened against the imagined experience of various—crumbling, complex, disfigured, celebrated, striking—muses; some statues, some legend, some surfacing from memory.

    Bates' poems have appeared in the Boston Review, Fence, jubilat, VERSE, and elsewhere. Recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a Boston Review Discovery Prize, she lives in Los Angeles where she is the writer-in-residence at the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and a frequent features contributor to the Kirkus Reviews. 


    November 7, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Local author Joseph Dobrian will read from his new novel, Ambitions.

    Ambitions  is family drama, set in the fictional town of State City, Iowa. State City is Iowa City with a twist: Instead of having been designated by UNESCO as a “City of Literature,” State City is a “City of Music,” and State University’s School of Music is world-renowned. 

    Ambitions tells the story of Christine Wainwright—a teenaged girl who blossoms into a potentially world-class singer—and her troubled relationship with her family. When Christine disappears, suspicion falls on the Wainwrights' scheming neighbor, and the unfolding mystery reveals the true story behind the family’s respectable façade: a convoluted saga of unwanted children, disastrous marriages, romantic double-crosses, and domestic plots and counter-plots. 

    Dobrian is the author of the novel Willie Wilden and the essay collection Seldom Right But Never In Doubt. He grew up in Iowa City and moved back in 2010 after spending most of his adult life in New York City where he worked as a freelance journalist and political activist.  


    November 9, 2014 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid will read from and talk about This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids, a question and answer style book that is the go-to resource for parents hoping to understand and communicate with their gay child. The authors dialogue daily with LGBTQ youth and families through their award-winning website, Everyone is Gay.

    Russo and Owens-Reid are the winners of the Best LGBT Bloggie Award and have been named as Velvet Park’s Top 25 Significant Queer Women of 2014.

    “Interweaving comedy and advocacy, Dannielle and Kristin delight and empower LGBTQ youth.” —Feministing