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 12, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Drawn & Quarterly author artist Sarah Glidden will talk about her graphic novel, Rolling Blackouts — Dispatches from Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. Graphic artist Sarah Glidden accompanied two friends; founders of a journalism non-profit, through Turkey, Iraq, and Syria, as they researched potential stories on the effects of the Iraq War in the Middle East and, specifically, the war’s refugees. They were joined by a childhood friend and former Marine whose past service in Iraq added an unexpected and sometimes unwelcome viewpoint. Depicted here are wide-ranging stories collected from—among others— an Iranian blogger, a United Nations refugee administrator, a taxi driver, and an Iraqi refugee deported from the US.

    Painted in her trademark muted watercolors and written with a self-effacing humor, Rolling Blackouts cements Glidden’s place as one of today’s most original nonfiction voices.

    Sarah Glidden is the author of How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, which won an Ignatz Award. A graduate of Boston University, she lives in Seattle.



    October 13, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Former IWP resident Lidija Dimkovska will read from her new novel, A Spare Life. A Spare Life is a chronicle of 12-year-old conjoined twin girls who are among the first generation to come of age under democracy in Eastern Europe. “A Spare Life uses the boldest of metaphors – the life of conjoined twins – to embody the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. This novel brings to mind Elena Ferrante and Magda Szabó in the acuity of its social observation and the depth of its mordant humor.” — Katie Kitamura

    Written in luminous  prose by an author who is also a master poet, it is a saga about families, sisterhood, immigration, and the occult influences that shape a life.

    Lidija Dimkovska is the recipient of the 2013 European Union Prize for Literature for A Spare Life. She is also the author of the poetry collection pH Neutral History  from Copper Canyon Press, which was a finalist for the 2013 Best Translated Book Award, and Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers from Ugly Duckling Presse. She lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


    October 15, 2016 - 1:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Local children’s author Michelle Edwards will read from and talk about her new book, A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story about Knitting and Love, illustrated by G. Brian Karas. This picture book, written for children ages 4-8, will appeal to anyone who has struggled with a pair a knitting needles as they read about little Sophia who wants to make a hat for a friend who makes hats for everyone but herself. "It’s a supremely lovely story, a tribute to the rewards of grit and selflessness; Edwards’s unadorned, emotionally genuine text is as winning as the pictures." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

    Michelle Edwards is the author of numerous picture books, including Chicken Man, winner of the National Jewish Book Award; Max Makes a Cake, illustrated by Charles Santoso; and Room for the Baby, illustrated by Jana Christy. A lifelong knitter, Michelle has also written an adult title, A Knitter’s Home Companion. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa, where she and her husband share a house full of books and yarn. This special event will be moderated by Sarah Prineas, author of The Magic Thief.


    October 16, 2016 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Featuring Iracema Drew (USA), Vladimir Poleganov (Bulgaria), and Hao Guang Tse (Singapore) 

    Vladimir Poleganov (fiction writer, screenwriter, translator; Bulgaria) translates between Bulgarian and English. He also teaches a course on fantastic fiction at Sofia University, where he is working towards a Ph.D in Bulgarian literature. His most recent novel, [The Other Dream], will come out in 2016. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

    Hao Guang Tse (poet; Singapore) is the author of hyperlinkage (2013) and Deeds of Light (2015); the latter was shortlisted for the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize. He co-edits the literary journal OF ZOOS, is the essays editor of, and is co-editing UnFree Verse, an anthology of Singaporean poetry. He participates courtesy of the Singapore National Arts Council.


    October 18, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Legendary poets Marvin Bell and Christopher Merrill will read from their new book, After the Fact: Scripts & Postscripts. Marvin Bell, writing from Iowa City and Port Townsend, and Christopher Merrill, writing from around the world, give us an intimate look into collaboration at its best.

    "The best conversationalists intuit and respond to unspoken questions and interstitial meanings, sidelong concerns and secret subjects. They also know how to listen to another's story and hear the line or inflection that calls forth their own tale in a way that enlarges, well, everything. Marvin Bell and Christopher Merrill's stunning epistolary paragraphs illustrate the inner workings of just such an intimate, agile, and sustained conversation. This collaborative, high wire act offers up profound truths in exactly the way the most exciting poems take shape—by leaps of imagination and complete trust in the power of association to bring up riches, songs, and wisdom from the depths."—Lia Purpura

    Marvin Bell was Iowa's first poet laureate. One of America's leading poets, he has published more than 20 books of poetry and has received numerous honors, including the Lamont Award from the Academy of American Poets, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and Senior Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia. He taught for 40 years at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he is emeritus professor.

    Christopher Merrill is the Director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. He has published six collections of poetry, several edited volumes, and five books of nonfiction. He serves on the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and has conducted cultural diplomacy missions in over thirty countries for the U.S. State Department. In April 2012 President Obama appointed Merrill to the National Council on the Humanities.


    October 19, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    New York Times Bestselling author of Mary Coin Marisa Silver will read from her new novel, Little Nothing. This stunning, provocative new novel is the story of a girl in an unnamed country at the beginning of the last century, scorned for her physical deformity, whose passion and salvation lie in her otherworldly ability to transform herself and the world around her. Part allegory about the shifting nature of being, part subversive fairy tale of love in all its uncanny guises, Little Nothing spans the beginning of a new century, the disintegration of ancient superstitions, and the adoption of industry and invention. “Little Nothing is a magnificent, inventive, unexpected story that seamlessly blends fable and folklore into the lives of characters who remain heart-wrenchingly real. ”—Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

    Marisa Silver is the author of The God of War, No Direction Home; and two story collections, Alone with You and Babe in Paradise (a New York Times Notable Book and Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year). Silver’s fiction has been included in The Best American Short Stories and The O. Henry Prize Stories. She lives in Los Angeles.


    October 21, 2016 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author Sarah Prineas will present her fantastic new book, Rose & Thorn. This beauty isn’t sleeping! Discover the true story of Sleeping Beauty in this bold YA fairy-tale retelling filled with thrilling adventure and romance, perfect for fans of the Lunar Chronicles and the Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy. The old props are in place: a spindle, a beautiful girl, a century-long slumber. But Prineas makes it fresh and gives it zest in this great, empowering adventure.

    Sarah Prineas is the author of the immensely popular Magic Thief series, and is also the author of Winterling, Summerkin, Moonkind, and Ash & Bramble. 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 just outside of Iowa City in the midst of the corn, where she wrangles dogs, cats, chickens, and goats, goes on lots of hikes, and finds time to write. She is married to a physics professor and has two kids.