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.
rss RSS


    February 9, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Minnesota architect and renowned "cabinologist" Dale Mulfinger will talk about his new book, The Family Cabin: Inspiration for Camps, Cottages, and Cabins. Voted Best Interior Design Book of 2017 by Library Journal, The Family Cabin explores the role that cabins have had and continue to have in family bonding and as a repository for family history, nostalgia, and cherished memories. This collection brings together 37 new and old cabins from across North America as inspiration for anyone who desires a peaceful retreat of their own.   

    Dale Mulfinger has designed cabins all over North America. Principal emeritus of SALA Architects, Dale is a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and the author of five books, including the best-selling The Cabin and Back to the Cabin, both published by The Taunton Press.


    February 11, 2018 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Children’s author Jill Esbaum will read from and talk about her new book, How to Grow a Dinosaur. This delightful picture book is also a practical guide to what a young dinosaur can expect when Mom announces she’s hatching a new baby. From the very  beginning when the hatchling is too young to do anything but eat, sleep, and cry, to the time that he or she can learn how to roar and sit at the dinner table, How to Grow a Dinosaur prepares a young dinosaur for the good news/bad news of having a young sibling. The book is appropriate for 2-5 year olds but appeals to children, adults, and dinosaurs of all ages.

    Jill Esbaum is the award-winning author of I Am Cow, Hear Me Moo!; Stanza, Tom's Tweet; and many others. She lives on a farm in Dixon, Iowa.


    February 13, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Motivational speaker and educator Dr. Eddie Moore will talk about his new book, The Guide for White Woman who Teach Black Boys. "There is no other instructional guide quite like The Guide for White Women who Teach Black Boys. While this book offers practical information and advice directly to the largest demographic of educators teaching one of the most marginalized populations of students, it transcends strategy and becomes a book of Black Critical Cultural Studies . . . Above all is a direct exploration into the ′dos,′ ′don’ts,′ ′why′s′ and ′how’s′ of culturally responsive teaching from expert teachers." —Dale Allender

    Dr. Moore received his Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies at the University of Iowa, and is the founder of The Privilege Institute. He has served as Director of Diversity at Brooklyn Friends School in Brooklyn, NY and The Bush School in Seattle, Washington. He is also a co-editor of a previous book, Everyday White People. This event is co-sponsored by The Black Voices Project.


    February 15, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the Public Policy Center, Carey Gillam will talk about her new book, Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science.  "’Outrage’ is the only word that captures the experience of reading Carey Gillam's Whitewash . . . Her exhaustive examination of the history of glyphosate—the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup—reveals that a herbicide as common as laundry detergent is the health and environmental calamity of modern agriculture . . . This is a story about what happens to public health and the environment when capitalism overthrows the social contract and the fever for profit poisons the heart against all morality."—Sierra Club    

    Carey Gillam is a veteran journalist, researcher, and writer with more than 25 years of experience covering corporate America. A former senior correspondent for Reuters' international news service, Gillam digs deep into the big business of food and agriculture. She lives near Kansas City.



    February 16, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Darcy Maulsby will share images from and talk about her book, A Culinary History of Iowa. From Maid-Rites to the moveable feast known as RAGBRAI, Maulsby tells the remarkable stories behind these Iowa originals. The book features Iowa specialties ranging from classic Iowa ham balls and Steak de Burgo to homemade cinnamon rolls served with chili. Maulsby helps operate a Century Farm in Calhoun County near Lake City and Yetter, where she also runs her own marketing/communications company, Darcy Maulsby & Co. She has covered agriculture and business for nearly 20 years and has worked with a number of leading ag organizations, including Syngenta, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and the National Pork Board.


    February 17, 2018 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Jocelyn Cullity will read from her novel, Amah and the Silk Winged Pigeons. Jocelyn Cullity's English family lived in India for five generations. When she was fourteen, she transcribed her great-great-great aunt's diary about being held hostage for five months during the 1857 "Indian Mutiny" in the city of Lucknow. Based on a true story of colonial events in Lucknow, Cullity's debut novel, Amah and the Silk-Winged Pigeons, illustrates for the first time the lost history of the Afro-Indian, Muslim women who fought against the English hoping to save the city they loved.

    Cullity’s writing has appeared in The Writer's Chronicle, Blackbird, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Minerva Rising.  She teaches Creative Writing at Truman State University, and lives in Columbia, Missouri. This event is co-sponsored by the UI South Asian Studies Program.


    February 20, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Jeff Biggers will read from The Trials of a Scold: The Incredible True Story of Writer Anne Royall, semi-finalist for the 2018 PEN/Bograd Weld Prize for Biography. "Trials of a Scold is a fascinating account of a woman who defied nineteenth-century societal constraints to attain national prominence and power as a muckraking journalist. But there is much more to her life and to her story, and in Jeff Biggers’ capable hands she is fully realized. Trials of a Scold does what only the best biographies do: blend meticulous research into a narrative that reads like a novel." —Ron Rash

    Jeff Biggers is an American Book Award-winning journalist, cultural historian and playwright. He is the author of numerous books including Reckoning at Eagle Creek, and and his stories have appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and on NPR. He is a regulator contributor to Al Jazeera America, Huffington Post, and Salon. He splits his time between Iowa City and Italy.


    February 21, 2018 - 7:00am

    Prairie Lights

    Colin Winnette will read from his new novel published by Soft Skull Press, The Job of the Wasp.The Job of the Wasp is wonderfully creepy and peculiar. A sort of gothic rendition of Lord of the Flies. Colin Winnette is an enviable, natural talent, and to read him is a pure entertainment.” ―Patrick deWitt

    Winnette is the author of Haints Stay, Coyote, Fondly, Animal Collection, and Revelation. His writing has appeared in The Believer, Los Angeles Review of Books,  Lucky Peach, and Playboy. He lives in San Francisco.

    “A witty and grisly gothic unlike anything I’ve ever read. You should absolutely read this.” —Kelly Link



    February 22, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Tom Miller will read from The Philosopher’s Flight, an epic historical fantasy set in a World-War-I-era America where magic and science have blended into a single extraordinary art. "Miller’s imaginative debut reads like an American cousin to Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, filtering 19th and 20th century U.S. . . . [T]he history of this alternate world and its magic tech are inventively executed."—Publishers Weekly

    Tom Miller has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame and an MD from the University of Pittsburgh. While writing The Philosopher’s Flight, he worked as a travel guide writer, EMT, and college English instructor. He's now an emergency room doctor in Madison, Wisconsin.


    February 23, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Kiki Petrosino and Kaethe Schwehn will read from their new books.

    Kiki Petrosino will read from Witch Wife. The poems of Witch Wife are spells, obsessive incantations to exorcise or celebrate memory, to mourn the beloved dead, to conjure children or keep them at bay, to faithfully inhabit one's given body. Petrosino questions what it means to be a wife or mother who feels ambivalent about motherhood and how these roles are further complicated for women of color in the United States. "Petrosino delights in unsettling the familiar with startling results, whether channeling Anne Sexton or William Blake." —Harryette Mullin

    Petrosino is also the author of Hymn for the Black Terrific and Fort Red Border. She is founder and co-editor of the poetry journal Transom, and she directs the Creative Writing Program at the University of Louisville.

    Kaethe Schwehn will read from The Rending and the Nest, her chilling yet redemptive post-apocalyptic debut that examines community, motherhood, faith, and the importance of telling one's own story.  "Surreal and precise, sharp and moving, this novel joins the ranks of other genius post-apocalyptic works like Oryx and Crake and Station Eleven. Read it and marvel." —Sharma Shields

    Kaethe Schwehn is the author of Tailings: A Memoir, and the chapbook of poems, Tanka & Me. She teaches at St. Olaf College and lives in Northfield, Minnesota.