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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    November 28, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates Lauren Haldeman and Nick Twemlow will read from their new books of poetry, Instead of Dying and Attributed to the Harrow Painter. Haldeman’s Instead of Dying won the 2017 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and Susan Howe wrote: “Lauren Haldeman’s writing opens us toward the work of mourning. Did I say work? Rather call it song.” Twemlow’s Attributed to the Harrow Painter is “an ars poetica as well as a deconstruction of Twemlow’s own awestruck meditations on fatherhood . . . a refreshingly self-aware variation on the innovations of contemporary poetry.” — Publishers Weekly

    Lauren Haldeman is also the author of the poetry collection Calenday and chapbook The Eccentricity Is Zero. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, Fence, The Iowa Review, and The Rumpus. A comic book artist, illustrator, and poet, she has taught in the United States as well as internationally.

    Nick Twemlow’s first book of poems, Palm Trees, won the Norma Farber first book award from the Poetry Society of America. He serves as a senior editor for The Iowa Review and co-editor of Canarium Books, a publisher of contemporary poetry. His films have screened at MCA Chicago, Tribeca, SXSW, Slamdance, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing and film at Coe College.


    November 29, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program faculty Jeff Porter will read from Lost Sound: The Forgotten Art of Radio Storytelling. Concentrating on the 1930s through the 1970s, but also speaking to the rising popularity of today's narrative broadcasts such as This American Life, Radiolab, Serial, and The Organicist, Porter's close readings of key radio programs show how writers adapted literary techniques to an acoustic medium with great effect.

    Porter is the author of Oppenheimer Is Watching Me, and his essays and sound works have appeared in numerous journals such as Antioch Review, Isotope, Seneca Review, and Wilson Quarterly. He is an Associate Professor in English specializing in contemporary literature, creative nonfiction, comparative media, and sound- and film-making.  This event is sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program.



    December 1, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Alessandra Lynch and Michael Tyrell will read from their poetry. Alessandra Lynch will read from Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment. Alessandra Lynch is also the author of Sails the Wind Left Behind and It was a terrible cloud at twilight. Her work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, and other literary journals. Alessandra teaches in Butler University's undergraduate and MFA programs. "Terrible things happen in this book and it's wonderful―such is the redemptive power of poetry this exquisite."―Dean Young         

    Michael Tyrell will read from Phantom Laundry, published by Backlash Press. Tyrell is also the author of The Wanted, and his poems have appeared in Agni, The Best American Poetry 2015, The New England Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Yale Review. With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn. He lives in New York and teaches writing at NYU. “Tyrell appears poised to stake his claim as a serious and original voice that writes from the heart of America’s techno-anxiety. His debut is peppered with lines and poems that are both hair-raising and irreducible.”-– Publishers Weekly


    December 4, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Library of America Little House series editor Caroline Fraser will read from her new biography, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Fraser delivers what Booklist calls the “definitive” biography, drawing from unfinished manuscripts, letters, and diaries.

    Caroline Fraser is the author of God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church and Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution. Formerly on the editorial staff of The New Yorker, she has written for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, Outside Magazine, and The London Review of Books. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    "Engrossing... Exhilarating...Meticulously tracing the Ingalls and Wilder families' experiences through public records and private documents, Fraser discovers failed farm ventures and constant money problems, as well as natural disasters even more terrifying and devastating in real life than in Wilder's writing. She also helpfully puts Wilder's narrow world into larger historical context." —Publishers Weekly

  • CAConrad

    December 5, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special program co-sponsored by The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, poet CAConrad will read from his new book from Wave Press, While Standing in Line for Death. “At its hilt, this book exposes the little tolerance America has for the queer, the abject, and the mystical forces that Conrad and his poetry call home, and not only does it refuse to apologize, this book reclaims loss, all bruised and defiant experiences, and makes them a testament.”—Arkansas International

    CAConrad is the author of 9 books of poetry and essays, and is also the co-editor of Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners. He is a Pew Fellow and has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts, Banff, RADAR, Flying Object and Ucross.



    December 6, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa authors Jim and Rick Autry will read from their new book Everyday Virtues: Classic Tales to Read With Kids. Jim and Rick Autry, a father and grandfather team, have collected stories from all over the world centered around six virtues to invite adults and children to read together. “Hearing the voice of a trusted adult read this collection, a child could not help but engage in a dialogue about the heart and what makes us human.” —Vicki Goldsmith

    Jim Autry is the author of thirteen books of poetry and leadership writing. He was one of the poets featured in Bill Moyers’ PBS series The Power of the Word. Autry serves on the national advisory board of Poets & Writers, Inc., and was a founder of the Des Moines National Poetry Festival. He received a lifetime achievement award for service to the humanities from the Iowa Humanities Board. Autry lives in Des Moines with his wife, former lieutenant governor of Iowa Sally Pederson, and their son.

    Rick Autry is the author of Word Origins for Lawyers, published by the American Bar Association. For seventeen years he was an Iowa assistant attorney general representing the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. He is a frequent speaker on employment law at legal seminars.


    December 7, 2017 - 6:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join Prairie Lights and Director of the Undergraduate Nonfiction Writing Program Bonnie Sunstein in celebrating the semi-annual Writers Gone Public reading.

    The event from 6:30 to 8:30 pm will feature current undergraduate students who study with MFA Nonfiction faculty, reading excerpts from essays they have written this semester.


    December 7, 2017 - 7:00pm



    For tickets call or visit  Prairie Lights Bookstore (319) 337-2681

    Book/Ticket Bundle is $28 plus tax = one book/ 2 tickets. (online tickets are not available) 

    Please join us at the First United Methodist Church for a special ticketed event with #1 New York Times bestselling author Reza Aslan and Iowa Public Radio Host Charity Nebbe, who will talk about the history of humanity’s conception of God throughout time. Aslan’s new book, God: A Human History,  studies the human expression of belief through archaeology, art, myth, and religious histories in a concise and fascinating history of our understanding of God.

    Reza Aslan is an internationally renowned writer, commentator, professor, producer, and scholar of religions. His books, including his #1 New York Times Bestseller, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth have been translated into dozens of languages around the world. He is also he author of No god but God, and Beyond Fundamentalism. Aslan is an Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate, as well as a theology expert with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Santa Clara University, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University, and a PhD in the Sociology of Religions from the UC Santa Barbara. He is also a tv producer of The Leftovers, Of Kings and Prophets, Rough Draft, and host of CNN's Believer. He teaches creative writing at UC Riverside.

    Charity Nebbe is the host of Iowa Public Radio’s Talk of Iowa, heard weekday mornings at 10. She is also the host of Iowa Ingredient on Iowa Public Television. She lives in Iowa City.