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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    June 14, 2015 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Liz Morrison will read from her romance novel, Soul Mates: When Romance and Reincarnation Collide. Morrison is also the author of The Second Chance, and Flashback. Liz Morrison graduated from the University of Iowa with a BS in Education and a minor in United States History. Morrison uses her knowledge of history to create novels that blend the past and the present while combining mystery, adventure and romance. Liz lives in St. Louis.


    June 14, 2015 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    National Book Award Finalist Emily St. John Mandel will read from her acclaimed novel, Station Eleven. Called one of the Best Books of the Year by numerous publications including The Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, Buzzfeed, and Entertainment Weekly, Station Eleven has been highly praised by authors from Ann Patchett to George R.R. Martin. An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization’s collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity.  

    Emily St. John Mandel is the author of three previous novels — Last Night in Montreal, The Singer’s Gun, and The Lola Quartet. She is a staff writer for The Millions, and her work appeared in The Best American Mystery Stories 2013 and Venice Noir. She lives in New York City with her husband. 

    “Deeply melancholy, but beautifully written, and wonderfully elegiac . . . A book that I will long remember, and return to.” —George R. R. Martin 

    Station Eleven is so compelling, so fearlessly imagined, that I wouldn’t have put it down for anything.” —Ann Patchett 


    June 15, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Michael Dennis Browne will read from his latest collection of poems, The Voices, from Carnegie Mellon University Press. Browne is the author of numerous books, including Things I Can’t Tell You, and What the Poem Wants, essays on poetry. Browne’s poems have been published in many magazines and anthologies, and his awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation. Two of his collections have won the Minnesota Book Award for poetry. As a librettist, he has written many texts for music, working principally with composer Stephen Paulus, and recently with Craig Hella Johnson, Abbie Betinis and Tim Takach. Browne is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Minnesota, where he taught for thirty-nine years.  

    “I trust that other readers will manage, for one reason or another, to find their way into this book and wander there. May they be many! Our species has much yet to learn about compassion, and this is one place where they will be able to hear its many ‛voices.’”—Peter Clothier



    June 16, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Summer Writing Festival Instructors Melanie Braverman and Michael Morse will read from their poetry.

    Melanie Braverman will read from Red, winner of the Perugia Press Prize, the Publishing Triangle Audre Lorde Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. The shape of the book and many of the poems in it mimic the expanding spiral of Cape Cod. This peninsular shoreline setting informs her poetry, poetry that is unselfconsciously about the search for love and security in the face of grief and within a community. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and she was a 2014 Pushcart nominee. Former Writer in Residence at Brandeis University, she currently serves as Cultural Director for the Alzheimer’s Family Support Center of Cape Cod. Melanie is a native of Iowa City.

    Michael Morse will read from Void and Compensation, published by Canarium Press. “In this debut from a grownup poet, heartfelt scenes are filmed by a jittery cameraman, making for a moving read that will appeal to those who don’t take their poetry quite straight, who want to be led, like ‛wayward bees to open windows.’” — Craig Morgan Teicher 

    Morse’s poetry has appeared in A Public Space, The American Poetry Review, Field, The Iowa Review, The Literary Review, and Ploughshares, The Best American Poetry 2012 and Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and teaches at The Ethical Culture Fieldston School.


    June 17, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Jim Heynen will read from his new short story collection, Ordinary Sins. From a bar hosting its nightly Sad Hour to the moonlit sandbox of a retired army general, Heynen’s new collection of micro fiction presents character sketches of strange yet fascinating men and women. Modeled after Theophrastus’ Characters –brief, verbal snapshots of people created by the Greek philosopher – Heynen captures not just the quirks and eccentricities of his characters, but also their humanity. Paired with the wonderfully evocative illustrations of renowned illustrator Tom Pohrt, Ordinary Sins will appeal to story lovers and collectors of beautifully made books alike.

    Jim Heynen teaches at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. He is the author of six collections of poetry, as well as the novels Being Youngest and Cosmos Coyote. His book of tales, The One-Room Schoolhouse, earned him a wide and loyal audience, including the praise of astronaut George Pinky Nelson, who took Heynen’s stories about the boys into space with him on his last shuttle mission.


    June 18, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In this special Pride Month event, George Hodgman will read from his memoir, Bettyville.

    Bettyville is about what happened when Hodgman, a magazine and book editor of many years, left New York City to care for his 95 year old mother in small town Missouri. “The idea of a cultured gay man leaving New York City to care for his aging mother in Paris, Missouri, is already funny, and George Hodgman reaps that humor with great charm. But then he plunges deep, examining the warm yet fraught relationship between mother and son with profound insight and understanding. This book looks outside, too, offering a moving lament for small-town America. Hodgman tenderly evokes the time before family farms and small businesses were replaced by meth labs and Walmarts . . . Bettyville is a beautiful book about the strange plenitude that comes from finally letting go of everything.” —Alison Bechdel

    George Hodgman is a magazine and book editor who has worked at Simon & Schuster, Vanity Fair, and Talk magazine. His writing has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, Interview, W, and Harper’s Bazaar, among other publications. He lives in New York City and Paris, Missouri.


    June 22, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Grinnell College Writer-in-Residence, Dean Bakopoulos will read from his highly anticipated new novel, Summerlong, a deft and hilarious exploration of the simmering tensions beneath the surface of a contented marriage which explode in the bedrooms and backyards of a small town over the course of a long, hot summer.

    “Dean Bakopoulos is a great talent—everything he writes is full of insight and inspiration and the best kind of divine comedy.”—Lorrie Moore

    Dean Bakopoulos is the author of the New York Times Notable Book Please Dont Come Back from the Moon and My American Unhappiness. He holds an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and is the winner of a Guggenheim fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. He lives in Grinnell, Iowa.


    June 23, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Austin Bunn will read from The Brink, a brilliant, inventive debut story collection in the vein of Kevin Wilson and Wells Tower. Brimming with life and unforgettable voices, the stories in Austin Bunn’s dazzling collection explore the existential question: what happens at the end and what lies beyond it?

    “Hooray for this brazen, poignant debut. Austin Bunn brings us to terrifying places, and also to funny and wondrous ones. He’s got it all — heart, danger, precision and music.”—Sam Lipsyte

    Austin Bunn is a fiction writer, playwright, screenwriter, and former journalist. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Wired, Best American Science and Nature Writing, and elsewhere. He co-wrote the screenplay to Kill Your Darlings starring Daniel Radcliffe, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Currently, he teaches at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.


    June 25, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by The University of Iowa’s International Writing Program, Kiki Petrosino, Alise Ganieva and Karim Alrawi will read from their work. 

    Kiki Petrosino is the author of the poetry collections, Fort Red Border and Hymn For The Black Terrific. She is the co-editor of Transom, an on-line poetry journal. She is a graduate of The Iowa Writer’s Workshop and teaches creative writing at the University of Louisville.

    Alisa Arkadyevna Ganieva is a Russian author, writing short prose and essays. She won the Debut literary prize in 2009 for Salaam, Dalgat! The identity of the author, who published it pseudonymously, was only discovered at the award ceremony. In 2012, Ganieva published her second novel, Holiday Mountain, also set in Dagestan. 

    Karim Alrawi is a noted playwright and children’s book author. He has over 30 professionally produced plays to his credit and has won many national and international awards. Born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt, he now lives in Vancouver BC.


    June 28, 2015 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author Gordon Strayer will present a program with Mark Yuskis on his witty, discerning memoir, Snippets.  The books presents glimpses into a childhood on the Saskatchewan Prairie, time spent in France, Austria and Germany during World War II and a career in public relations at The University of Iowa.

    Mark Yuskis will read and Gordon Strayer will answer a centuries’ worth of questions.