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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  • JAMES MAGRUDER

    July 29, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    James Magruder will read from his collection of linked stories, Let Me See It. 

    Let Me See It  follows two gay cousins, Tom and Elliott, from adolescence in the 1970s to adulthood in the early '90s. With a rueful blend of comedy and tenderness, Magruder depicts their attempts to navigate the closet and the office and the lessons they learn about libidinous coworkers, resume boosting, Italian suffixes, and frozen condoms. As Tom and Elliot search for trusting relationships while the AIDS crisis deepens, their paths diverge, leading Tom to a new sense of what matters most.

    James Magruder is a fiction writer, playwright, and award-winning translator. He is the author of the novel, Sugarless, and his work has been anthologized in Boy Crazy and New Stories from the Midwest. He has published stories in Bloom, New England Review, Subtropics, and The Gettysburg Review. He teaches at Swarthmore College and lives     in Baltimore.

    "Magruder is a writer of immense gifts, with a voice–smart, playful, lyrical, subtle, unsparing–utterly unlike anyone else's." —Tony Kushner

  • GARY PAUL NABHAN

    July 30, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Gary Paul Nabhan will read from and talk about his new book, Cumin, Camels, and Caravans: A Spice Odyssey. Nabhan is an internationally celebrated author, food and farming activist, and proponent of conserving the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity. Cumin, Camels, and Caravans is a personal, ethno-botanical, historical, and cultural tour of major spice trade routes — the Silk Road, the Frankincense Trail, the Spice Route, and the Camino Real.

    Nabhan is the author of Food, Genes, and Culture, Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, and Chasing Chilies: Hot Spots along the Pepper Trail.

    “Gary Nabhan is one of the most important food writers we have in this country. In this eloquent and fascinating book, he shows us how our food and culture are so deeply rooted in our land and agriculture.” – Alice Waters

  • HEATHER GUDENKAUF

    July 31, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    New York Times Bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf will read from her latest ripped-from-the-headlines tour de force, Little Mercies. The protagonist of Little Mercies, social worker Ellen Moore, has seen the worst side of humanity—the vilest acts one person can commit against another. She is a fiercely dedicated children's advocate and a devoted mother and wife. But one summer day, a simple moment of distraction with her own child will have repercussions that Ellen could never have imagined, threatening to shatter everything she holds dear, and trapping her between the gears of the system she works for. 

    Heather Gudenkauf is the Edgar Award nominated author of the bestselling novels The Weight of Silence, These Things Hidden, and One Breath Away. She has a degree in education from University of Iowa, and works in education as a Title I Reading Coordinator. She lives in Dubuque with her husband and three children.

    "Beautifully written, compassionately told, and relentlessly suspenseful." —Diane Chamberlain

  • KURT ULLRICH

    August 2, 2014 - 1:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Book Signing 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.

    Kurt Ullrich will sign copies of his new photo book, The Iowa State Fair, which features photos currently on display in the Old Capitol Museum. The beautiful black and white images capture the energy, the competition, the camaraderie, the bright lights, and the unmistakable charm of Iowa’s State Fair.

    Kurt Ullrich's essays have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Quad-City Times, and elsewhere. His photographs have appeared in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and the Des Moines Register. He lives in rural Jackson County, Iowa, with his wife, Bobbi Alpers.

  • DEE WILLIAMS

    August 7, 2014 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Dee Williams will read from her new book The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir, and show slides of her work.

    When Williams was only forty-one she was diagnosed with a heart condition that changed her life and made her rethink her priorities. After reading a magazine article about Jay Shafer’s tiny house, Tumbleweed, Williams flew from her home in the Pacific Northwest to Iowa City to learn more about the art of tiny home-building. She built her own eighty-four-square-foot house and downsized her life to a mere 305 possessions. This book is the result of her journey.

    Dee Williams is a teacher and sustainability advocate. She is the co-owner of Portland Alternative Dwellings (www.padtinyhouses.com), where she leads workshops focused on tiny houses, green building, and community design.  She lives in Olympia, Washington.

  • MIKE MORSCH

    August 9, 2014 - 1:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Michael Morsch will read from and talk about his new book, The Vinyl Dialogues: Stories behind memorable albums of the 1970s as told by the artistsWhich artist considers himself a “mad scientist” and added “a monster creation” song to fill out an album? What Hollywood A-lister’s driving was so bad that it inspired a hit song on a comedy album? What song started as a joke and ended up anchoring an album that got its songwriters called “subversives to American youth” by the U.S. government?  It’s all the new book, The Vinyl Dialogues: Stories behind memorable albums of the 1970s as told by the artists.

    Written by longtime Philadelphia newspaper reporter and editor Mike Morsch, The Vinyl Dialogues features interviews with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Daryl Hall, John Oates and Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band. Michael Morsch graduated from the University of Iowa in 1982 with a BS in journalism and was a two-year letterman for the baseball team. While at the UI, Morsch was a sports-writer for the Press-Citizen; and he later was the editor of the Times-Republican in Corydon, south-central Iowa. His daughter is currently a student at Iowa. He lives in Philadelphia.