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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    July 16, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Two Dollar Radio presents Fairfield native N. J. Campbell, who will read from his debut novel, Found Audio. Steve Erickson says, “Amid the static of contemporary literature can be heard blips of fiction-future in N.J. Campbell’s defiantly bold Found Audio.” And Christian Kiefer calls it “A wild, wonderful creature: part Borges, part VanderMeer, part forgotten ’70s psychedelic action movie.”

    N. J. Campbell has won the Little Tokyo Short Story Contest, received accolades from the California State Legislature, and has been anthologized in the collection American Fiction from New Rivers Press.


    July 17, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    American Book Award winner and National Book Award finalist Sandra Scofield will read from Swim: Stories from the Sixties. These three stories focus on a young woman—we never know her name— who travels light and asks for little. She knows what men want: sex and authority. She is a critical observer and passionate recorder of experience. Living lean, she claims her selfhood by making her life her Story.     

    Sandra Scofield is on the faculty of the Solstice MFA low residency program at Pine Manor College. She has taught at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival since 1993. She is the author of seven novels, a memoir, a book of essays about family, a book of stories, and two craft books for writers. She is a native Texan who has spent the last forty years in Oregon and Montana.


    July 18, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Stephana Colbert and Jean Berry will present Ordinary Extraordinary African American Women: The Elders, an illuminating collection of true and candid narratives celebrating African American women over 70 years of age. Often invisible and certainly undervalued, these women are the backbone of the African American community as mothers, teachers, artists, business women, trailblazers, activists, wives, friends and confidants. These stories share their journeys, reflections, and wisdom gained by a lifetime of challenges, successes, disappointments, and triumphs. This reading will highlight several of these great women, including Coralville artist, Jean Berry.


    July 19, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Summer Writing Festival Instructors Charles Holdefer and Anthony Varallo will read from their new short story collections. 

    Charles Holdefer will read from his darkly humorous collection of short fiction, Dick Cheney in Shorts. These stories comprise an esoteric and entirely fictional account of the imaginary formative years of America’s notorious Vice President.  

    Pushcart Prize-winner Charles Holdefer is the author of novels including Apology for Big Rod, and In The Game. He grew up in Iowa and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the Sorbonne. His short fiction has appeared in the New England Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, Los Angeles Review, The Antioch Review, l’Oeil du Spectateur,  and the New York Journal of Books. He currently teaches at the University of Poitiers, France.

    Anthony Varallo will read from his new story collection, Everyone Was There, winner of the Elixir Press 2016 Fiction Award. Christine Sneed says, “In so many of these stories, Anthony Varallo does something both rare and wonderful: he manages to be both funny and profound. Here you’ll meet the life of the party who’s secretly miserable and reconnect with the popular kids you knew in high school who now find themselves stalled out in melancholy middle age, their children and the world seemingly uninterested in them . . . there is so much here that I admired and enjoyed.”

    Anthony Varallo is the author of This Day in History, Out Loud, and Think of Me and I'll Know. Currently he is an Associate Professor of English at the College of Charleston, where he is the fiction editor of Crazyhorse.


    July 21, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Deborah Kennedy will read from her new novel, Tornado Weather. Charles Baxter says, “Deborah E. Kennedy’s Tornado Weather has a very distinctive energy, and there is real pathos along with subtle humor. The characters are from a social class that is too often overlooked and misrepresented. Kennedy gives them their due, with all their resourcefulness, resilience, and suffering intact.” 

    Deborah E. Kennedy is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Kennedy has worked as both a reporter and editor, and also holds a second Master’s in Fiction Writing and English Literature from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.


    July 27, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Tim Taranto will read from his debut, Ars Botanica.  "Ars Botanicais a gorgeous hybrid: a memoir in letters to a phantom addressee, an introduction to life on this planet, a primer for how to live, a meditation on family. It also winds up being a beautiful and highly personal field guide to the natural world. It’s one of the most wrenching and honest accounts of falling in and out of love, of moving through a season of grief, that I’ve ever read." —Karen Russell

    Tim Taranto is a writer, visual artist, and poet from New York. His work has been featured in Buzzfeed, FSG’s Works in Progress, Harper’s, The Iowa Review, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Paris Review Daily, The Rumpus, and The Saint Ann’s Review. Tim is a graduate of Cornell University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.