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.

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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  • TED MCDERMOTT

    June 25, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Debut author Ted McDermott will read from his new novel, The Minor Outsider.  "McDermott writes about academia and small-town America with an enjoyable mix of cynicism and affection . . . a hip, touching and thoroughly readable story that presents young adulthood as a frustrating, alien place." —The Guardian     

    Ted McDermott’s writing has appeared in VICE, Believer, Portland Review, Minus Times and elsewhere. In 2009, he was nominated for The Essay Prize.  He lives in Butte, Montana.

  • JULIET PATTERSON & AMANDA NADELBERG

    June 26, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Poets Juliet Patterson and Amanda Nadelberg will read from their new books.

    Juliet Patterson will read from Threnody, her timely book of poetry lamenting climate change and extinction. These poems examine the beauty and violence of our present ecological moment with a lyric and meditative eye. “In Juliet Patterson’s sure-footed aesthetic the intellectual, physical and spiritual are woven together—the result is a world saturated by the human mind, and a mind saturated by the world. These poems are driven by a passionate grief for how we have treated this world as a dispensable other when even the reverie of prairie depends on a real bee…”— Jane Mead

    Patterson is the author of The Truant Lover, winner of the Nightboat Books Poetry Prize, and the chapbooks Epilogue and Dirge. As a community activist and artist, Patterson has worked with the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Whittier International School, United Cambodian Association of Minnesota, Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights, and Pathways Health Crisis Resource Center. She currently volunteers with Clean Energy Resource Teams, a non-advocacy group that works to strengthen communities by supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. She is a regular instructor for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and currently lives in Minneapolis with her partner and son. This summer she is teaching for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

    Amanda Nadelberg will read from her newest collection of poems, Songs from a Mountain. "Amanda Nadelberg’s poetry resembles a city where all kinds of things are happening at once, some of them funny and others pretty scary. The quasi-epic “Matson” takes the form of a swarm. Suddenly words, thousands of them, have accrued to this particular subject; no one knows why. Its mass is almost frightening but good to be with. Songs from a Mountain is a dizzying achievement that rings out loud and precise and clear.” —John Ashbery

    Nadelberg is also the author of Bright Brave Phenomena , and Isa the Truck Named Isadore, which was the  winner of the Slope Editions Book Prize. She was selected as one of the Poetry Society of America's New American Poets and has received a grant from The Fund for Poetry. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she is visiting faculty this summer. She lives in Oakland, California. 

     

  • LORETTA ELLSWORTH

    June 27, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Loretta Ellsworth will read from her historical novel, Stars Over Clear Lake. Mesmerizing and romantic, Stars Over Clear Lake transports readers to the Surf Ballroom, where musical acts became legends in the 1940s and which holds the key to one woman’s deepest secret. "Stars Over Clear Lake is an absorbing love story full of nostalgia, heartbreak, and secrets long buried―whether to protect others or simply for survival. Highlighting the lesser-known history of POWs in America during World War II, Ellsworth's tale serves as a timely reminder of the humanity that connects us, regardless of borders or circumstance, to even those labeled 'the enemy.' A memorable, highly transporting novel." ―Kristina McMorris

    Loretta Ellsworth grew up in Mason City, Iowa. She is the award-winning author of several young adult novels. She currently lives in Lakeville, Minnesota.

  • REBECCA ENTEL

    June 28, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Rebecca Entel will read from her novel, Fingerprints of Previous Owners, published by UnNamed Press. "Fingerprints of Previous Owners simmers with implicit and explicit violence, with social and economic injustices, the dichotomy of a hotel so crassly extravagant that it throws away good food daily while locals brew tea from wild leaves or eat whatever the poor soil can grow. Beautifully written, it is bleak, stark; as uncompromising as the island’s soil and as wrenching as the haulback shrubs that guard its secrets. Audacious, heartfelt and realistic, I found myself immersed in the perverted paradise of this island world, rooting for the characters I came to care so much about." ―Maxine Case                 

    Rebecca Entel began this novel while teaching on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. Her short stories have been published in Guernica, Joyland Magazine, The Madison Review, Glimmer Train, and the Southwest Review. She is Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at Cornell College, where she teaches African-American and Caribbean literature and directs the Center for the Literary Arts.

    “Rebecca Entel writes with spellbinding intelligence and a deep knowledge of the human heart. Her writing is true and exquisite, serious and fun.” —Lorrie Moore

     

     

  • MELISSA DICKEY & ANDY STALLINGS

    July 3, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Melissa Dickey and Andy Stallings will read from their books of poetry published by Rescue Press.

    Melissa Dickey will read from Dragons. "This is a writer who calls us out in our vulnerability . . . She does exactly what the best poets do when they unearth what's beautiful in the ugly and what's ugly in the beautiful."—iO: A Journal of New American Poetry.  Melissa Dickey is the author of The Lily Will and has been published in Puerto del Sol, Sundog Lit, and KROnline.

    Andy Stallings will read from To the Heart of the World. This collection operates in exuberance and exhaustion, trance and ricochet, aware of both its exile from and unremitting attachment to so-called "community" (friends, colleagues, students, beloveds, long- dead poets, and well-worn texts) even as he presents the bewildering solitude inherent in shared experience. Andy Stallings lives in Massachusetts, where he is faculty at Deerfield Academy. He is an editor of THERMOS magazine. Andy Stallings and Melissa Dickey are married and live with their three children in Deerfield, MA.

  • ALISSA NUTTING

    July 5, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us for the eagerly anticipated book launch for Alissa Nutting's new book, Made For Love.  “Total surveillance, the policing of women’s bodies, the uncanny valley of engineered emotion: Alissa Nutting’s Made for Love is so blisteringly smart and feverishly inventive that it’s difficult to decide which element pins most precisely the absurdity of our present or the terror of our future. This is a novel as frightening as it is hilarious, melding pathos, comedy, and delight as only great satire can." —Garth Greenwell 

    Alissa Nutting is the author of the provocative and irreverent Tampa and the story collection Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls. She is an assistant professor of English at Grinnell College. July 5th is the release date for Made for Love and we will have books at the event — If you’re unable to attend and would like us to reserve a signed copy for you, please call Prairie Lights at  (319) 337-2681 to preorder a copy!

    “Oh god I just love every page. It’s fantastic.” —Lynda Barry

  • KARIM ALRAWI, ALISA GANIEVA & MARY HICKMAN

    July 6, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the IWP’s  Between the Lines program, Karim Alrawi, Alisa Ganieva and Mary Hickman will read from their work.

    Karim Alrawi is an Egyptian novelist and playwright. In addition to many plays for stage, radio, and television, he is the author of two children’s books and, more recently, of the novel Book of Sands, which won the HarperCollins/UBC Best New Fiction Prize.

    Alisa Ganieva is a fiction writer and essayist from Dagestan (southern Russia) now based in Moscow. Her controversial first book, Salam Dalgat!, which was published under a male pseudonym, won the 2009 national Debut Prize. She is the author of The Mountain and The Wall, and Bride and Groom, which was shortlisted for the 2015 Russian Booker, and will be released in the US in September of 2017. 

    Mary Hickman is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the author of two books of poetry, This Is the Homeland and Rayfish, and two chapbooks, Ecce Animot and How to Be Healthy and Heal. She teaches for the International Writing Program.

  • KATE KASTEN

    July 9, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Local author Kate Kasten will read from her new mystery novel, Too Happy. Kasten’s latest literary romp features an ESL teacher in her twenty-fourth year of teaching, her diverse group of international students, and two unexpected mysteries she has to solve!

    Kate Kasten is the author of Better Days, The Deconversion of Kit Lamb, Ten Small Beds, and Wildwood: Fairy Tales and Fables Re-imagined. Her short fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, American Literary Review, and Northwest Review. She co-authored, with Sandra de Helen, The Clue in the Old Birdbath, a musical satire of the Nancy Drew mystery genre. Her humorous monologues can be found on her YouTube channel, boomeronachair. Kasten lives and writes in Iowa City, Iowa, where she is retired from twenty-five years of teaching English as a Second Language.

  • MARC NIESON

    July 10, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Marc Nieson will read from Schoolhouse, a memoir about the place  where identity and heart intersect. In this modern-day Walden, Nieson retreats to a one-room schoolhouse in the rural Iowa woodlands to contemplate the end of a love affair.

    “Marc Nieson’s Schoolhouse is a record of wisdom and tenderness, and also a record of spiritual and emotional growth. Intelligent, wary, and observant, the narrator of this chronicle gradually lets us see into his heart and soul.” —Charles Baxter

    Marc Nieson is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and NYU Film School. His prose has earned two Pushcart Prize nominations, and a Raymond Carver Short Story Award. Nieson currently serves on the MFA faculty of Chatham University, where he is fiction editor of The Fourth River. He is an instructor for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

  • SIOBHAN FALLON & BIANCA MARAIS

    July 13, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Siobhan Fallon will read from her novel, Confusion of Languages. “Fallon carefully builds the cloistered world of two Army spouses living in the Middle East during the Arab Spring, a world whose edges and limitations we only start to glimpse as the two women spiral toward tragedy.” –Phil Klay

    Siobhan Fallon is the author of the remarkable story collection about military spouses, You Know When the Men Are Gone, which won the PEN Center USA Literary Award in Fiction. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Military Spouse, The Huffington Post, and NPR’s Morning Edition. She and her family moved to Jordan in 2011, and they currently live in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.         

    Debut novelist Bianca Marais will read from Hum If You Don’t Know the Words. “Bianca Marais’s stunning debut offers an evocative and thought-provoking look at the unlikely relationship between two South Africans. Set against a backdrop of apartheid-era South Africa, Marais illuminates the experiences of both black and white South Africans during one of the bloodiest periods in the country’s history and gives us an emotionally powerful and historically important story about forgiveness, love and redemption.” —Tara Conklin 

    Originally from South Africa, Marais now resides in Toronto with her husband.