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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  • HILTON ALS * * * CANCELLED * * *

    September 15, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, Hilton Als will talk about his book of essays, White Girls. White Girls weaves together Als’ brilliant analyses of literature, art, and music with fearless insights on race, gender, and history. The result is an extraordinary, complex portrait of "white girls," as Als dubs them—an expansive but precise category that encompasses figures as diverse as Truman Capote and Louise Brooks, Michael Jackson and Flannery O'Connor.

    Als is a staff writer for the New Yorker, and has also written for The Village Voice and The Nation, and was an editor-at-large at Vibe. He collaborated on film scripts for Swoon and Looking for Langston. The winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award and writing awards from the New York Association of Black Journalists and the Guggenheim Foundation, he lives in New York City.


    September 16, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the Ida Beam Foundation, Tanya Luhrmann will talk about her book, When God Talks Back. A New York Times Notable Book, When God Talks Back is a bold approach to understanding the American evangelical experience from an anthropological and psychological perspective by one of the country's most prominent anthropologists. Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist at Stanford University. She received her education from Harvard and Cambridge universities, and was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. In 2007, she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

    “Tanya Luhrmann is a very sensitive participant-observer and a beautiful writer . . . When God Talks Back is one of the most provocative and enlightening books I have read this year.”—Oliver Sacks


    September 17, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson


    September 18, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us for this special event for Iowa City author Sarah Prineas, who will read from and talk about her new book, Ash & Bramble. Prineas is best known for her Magic Thief series, and now with Ash & Bramble she brings an all new, bold fairy-tale retelling of the Cinderella story. Prineas creates a dark and captivating world where swords are more fitting than slippers, young shoemakers are just as striking as princes, and a heroine is more than ready to rescue herself before the clock strikes midnight.

    Sarah Prineas is also the author of Winterling, Summerkin, and Moonkind. She holds a PhD in English literature and has taught honors seminars on fantasy and science fiction literature at the University of Iowa. She lives in Iowa City with her husband and children, and we are delighted she has recently joined the staff in our children’s department here at Prairie Lights.


    September 20, 2015 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    IWP Sunday Reading Series.

    Reception for Tom Langdon IWP Photo exhibit at 5 pm in the café.


    September 21, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop visiting faculty Rebecca Makkai will read from her new short story collection, Music for Wartime. Ranging from comedy to tragedy to the surreal, from the world of academia to war zones, these fifteen stories ask the question of what it means to be an artist in a brutal and sometimes ugly world. Makkai is the author of the novels The Hundred-Year House, and The Borrower. The recipient of a 2014 NEA fellowship, she currently splits her time between Iowa City and Chicago.

    “I have been waiting for this collection since 2008, when I read “The Worst You Ever Feel” and it basically took the top of my head off. Deeply intelligent, stylistically playful, full of razor wit.”—Pam Houston


    September 22, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain will read from his long-awaited novel in which a boy trying to save his parents’ marriage uncovers a vast legacy of family secrets. A Sudden Light is an atmospheric coming of age story that takes place in a family mansion full of  hidden stairways, forgotten rooms, secrets, and ghosts.

    Garth Stein is the author of three novels and a play. He has also worked as a documentary filmmaker, and he lives in Seattle with his family.

    "Wow! I devoured A Sudden Light, a grand, gorgeous, multi-generational epic of the Pacific Northwest. Garth Stein has given us another singular, soulful, and wise narrator for the ages, who tells us a story full of mystery and yearning. I adored this book."—Maria Semple


    September 22, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Iowa City Public Library

    Bestselling linguist and cognitive scientist Steven Pinker will talk about his latest book, The Sense of Style, at the Iowa City Public Library in a special event co-sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. The Sense of Style addresses the questions: Why is so much writing so bad, and how can we make it better? Is the English language being corrupted by texting and social media? Do the kids today even care about good writing? Why should any of us care?

    Two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist Steven Pinker is the Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, and the winner of many awards for his research, teaching, and books, he has been named one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World Today and Foreign Policy's 100 Global Thinkers.

    "Forget Strunk and White's rules—cognitive science is a surer basis for clear and cogent writing, according to this iconoclastic guide from bestselling Harvard psycholinguist Pinker... Every writer can profit from—and every writer can enjoy—Pinker's analysis of the ways in which skillfully chosen words engage the mind." —Publishers Weekly


    September 23, 2015 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    New York Times bestselling author Jami Attenberg will talk about her historical novel, Saint Mazie. Book Riot says: Attenberg gives us the story of Mazie Phillips, the bawdy, brassy broad who runs a New York theater from the Jazz Age through Prohibition and into the Great Depression. The frame and structure Attenberg gives her story are as interesting as the story itself, and the whole experience is a delight.”

    Jami Attenberg is the author of the story collection Instant Love and several novels, including The Middlesteins. She lives in Brooklyn.


    September 24, 2015 - 5:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, Wendy S. Walters will talk about her new book, Multiply/Divide: On the American Real and Surreal.  Recently published by Sarabande Books, these literary essays explore psyches of American cities, race, and the shrinking space between safety and danger.  Walters is the author of two books of poems,Troy, Michigan and Longer I Wait, More You Love Me. She is Associate Professor of creative writing at The New School University in New York.

    ”This is a wondrous and uncanny book.” —Margo Jefferson