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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    October 28, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Chuck Collins will read from Born on Third Base: A One Percenter Makes the Case for Tackling Inequality, Bringing Wealth Home, and Committing to the Common Good. Born into the one percent, Collins gave away his inheritance at 26 and spent the next three decades mobilizing against inequality. He uses his perspective from both sides of the divide to deliver a new narrative. Collins calls for a ceasefire and invites the wealthy to come back home, investing themselves and their wealth in struggling communities. And he asks the non-wealthy to build alliances with the one percent and others at the top of the wealth ladder.

    Chuck Collins is a researcher, campaigner, storyteller, and writer based at the Institute for Policy Studies where he co-edits He has written extensively on wealth inequality in previous books like 99 to 1, Wealth and Our Commonwealth (with Bill Gates Sr.), and Economic Apartheid in America as well as in The Nation, The American Prospect, and numerous other magazines and news outlets. He lives near Boston.

    Born on Third Base offers a clear and compelling case for why the privileged and powerful must act to reverse widening inequality of income, wealth, and political power in America.” —Robert B. Reich, former US Secretary of Labor; author of Saving Capitalism


    October 29, 2016 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa native Dan Kellams will read from Mistaken for a King: Sketches of a Small-Town Boyhood. This collection of essays distills the essence of childhood when kids roamed free as sparrows. In Marion, Iowa, during the 1940s, untouched by television, they created their own amusement wherever they found it, in backyards, side streets, alleys, and pastures. In Mistaken for a King, Kellam patrols his old haunts; the movie theater, the town park, and the root beer drive-in, and the muddy Wapsipinicon River. It tells the tribulations of being a newspaper delivery boy, and the joys of learning sports in backyards and vacant lots. He also writes about things like gun ownership at a time during World War II when every boy expected to grow up and fight for his country.

    Kellams is the author of A Coach's Life: Les Hipple and the Marion Indians. He is a graduate of Cornell College in Mount Vernon and holds an MS in journalism from Columbia University in New York City. He was an information specialist at West Point, an editor for Radio Free Europe in Munich, and a public relations executive in New York. Kellams and his wife, Elaine, currently live in Arizona.

    "Rich and beautiful. Don't miss this book." --Paul Ingram

  • GREIL MARCUS at The Englert Theatre

    November 1, 2016 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    In a special event sponsored by the UI Nonfiction Writing Program, celebrated music critic Greil Marcus will read from his acclaimed writing on November 1, 2016 at 7 p.m. at The Englert Theatre, in an event that is free and open to the public.

    Enormously influential, intensely prolific, and ardently engaged, Marcus served as Rolling Stone’s original reviews editor and has since written and edited more than fifteen books on music and American culture. Marcus is the author of the seminal work Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, called “the best and funniest book ever written about America or its music” by Rolling Stone, “the book that launched a thousand rock critics” by the New Yorker, and “perhaps the finest book ever written about pop music” by the New York Times Book Review.   

    Among Marcus’s other books are Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads, The Shape of Things To Come: Prophecy and the American Voice, In the Fascist Bathroom: Punk in Pop Music, 1977–1992, The Doors: A Life of Listening to Five Mean Years, and The History of Rock ‘N’ Roll in Ten Songs. A contributor to the New York Times, Esquire, Creem, the Village Voice, Artforum, Salon, the Believer, Pitchfork, and others, Marcus has written his long-running column, “Real Life Rock Top Ten,” for the past three decades. At once timely and timeless, sly and surprising, breathless and wild in its reach, Marcus’s virtuosic prose continues to energize critics, writers, musicians, and lovers of American culture.

    Greil Marcus’s visit is sponsored by the Nonfiction Writing Program, the Department of English, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Provost’s Office, The Englert Theatre and Prairie Lights Books.


  • COLSON WHITEHEAD at The Englert Theatre

    November 2, 2016 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    Prairie Lights presents Colson Whitehead at The Englert Theatre. Please join us for this FREE event with New York Times Bestselling author Colson Whitehead. He will read from and talk about his new novel, The Underground Railroad which has been selected for Oprah’s Book Club and was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award. The novel manages to feel historical yet contemporary as a young slave, 15-year-old Cora, flees the antebellum South. Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day.

    Colson Whitehead is the recipient of a Whiting Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He is the author of The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, Sag Harbor, Zone One, The Colossus of New York, and The Noble Hustle. Prairie Lights encourages everyone to come to this momentous reading with one of the great writers of our time. Books will be available for purchase, and Colson Whitehead will be happy to sign books purchased at the event or from Prairie Lights. Every book purchase helps Prairie Lights bring great authors to Iowa City!