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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  • OLIVIA CLARE & JAMES HAN MATTSON

    January 19, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Olivia Clare and James Han Mattson will read from their new fiction. Olivia Clare will read from Disasters in the First World. “Olivia Clare’s debut collection will surprise you with its poetic weirdness, its’ dark confidence. The ‘disasters’ in these stories are tragically indefinite, fissures in the lives of the characters, whom Clare brings to life with humor, wisdom, and brutal honesty.” —Vu Tran.  Clare is also the author of a book of poems, The 26-Hour Day, and teaches creative writing at Sam Houston State University.

    James Han Mattson will read from his novel, The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves.  Kirkus Reviews says, “Mattson expertly teases out the relationships between our real lives and our social media feeds, the faces we show to the world and the ones we must confront in the mirror. A moving debut about the intersections of rural queerness, the internet, and forgiveness.”  James Han Mattson has taught writing at the University of Iowa, UC Berkeley, University of Maryland, University of Cape Town, and George Washington University.

  • THE WAPSIPINICON ALMANAC

    January 26, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us for the annual Wapsipinicon Almanac reading to celebrate the publication of the 24th edition! Tim Fay will host the event, joined by some of this years’ contributors, including Jim Walters, Jane Purcell, Dean Rathje, Dena Miller and Lynda Leidiger. Fay, proprietor of the Route 3 Press in rural Anamosa, has edited and published The Wapsipinicon Almanac – roughly annually – using antique letterpress technology, since 1988. Each issue is a mix of fiction, reviews, essays, poetry, art and practical information, packaged in the format and feel of an old-time almanac. “Part New Yorker, part Farmers’ Almanac, this magazine should silence anyone who thinks Iowa doesn’t have a literary culture.”
    —Joshua Kucera

  • THISBE NISSEN & JAY BARON NICORVO

    January 29, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Thisbe Nissen and Jay Baron Nicorvo will read from their new books. Nissen will read from her new novel, set in Iowa. "Thisbe Nissen's Our Lady of the Prairie is a Midwestern fever dream, a bold and ambitious look into the roiling emotions of a woman caught between should and could, between I must and I want. I found it funny, angry, hopeful, heartfelt, and above all, honest: about marriage, family, and that old-fashioned, endlessly fascinating thing called desire.”
    —Joshua Ferris

    Jay Baron Nicorvo will read from The Standard Grand. “Nicorvo brings readers to a defunct and decaying Catskills resort where a ghost platoon of vets are surviving among dangers both natural and human-made. Insanely funny, by turns tragic and, ultimately, redemptive… a desperate masterpiece of a debut." —Bonnie Jo Campbell

    Nissen and Nicorvo live on an old farm outside Battle Creek, Michigan, with their son and chickens. Nissen’s books include Out of the Girls’ Room and into the Night, The Good People of New York and Osprey Island. Nicorvo is the author of the poetry collection Deadbeat, and he has served as an editor at Ploughshares and at PEN America. He is an advisor on the journal Third Coast. They teach at Western Michigan University.

     

  • PETER HELLER

    January 31, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate and best-selling author of The Painter and The Dog Stars, Peter Heller will read from Celine.  "In this gorgeously wrought story—equal parts character study and mystery—a young woman asks Celine, a badass Brooklyn private eye, to investigate the death of her father, a nature photographer who may or may not have been mauled and eaten by bears in Yellowstone . . . Captivating." —Entertainment Weekly. In addition to his novels, Peter Heller has published several works of nonfiction and he is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men's Journal, and National Geographic Adventure.  He is a longtime contributor to NPR. He lives in Denver, Colorado.

  • TOM HUNT

    February 1, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Native Tom Hunt will read his fast-paced thriller, Killer Choice. "Tom Hunt's debut speeds along like the best of Lee Child, and takes dark turns that would make Dean Koontz proud. Killer Choice is a harrowing ride into desperation, and Tom Hunt is a writer to watch." —Jonathan Moore

    Tom Hunt is an award-winning advertising copywriter, and a University of Iowa graduate. He has worked for some of the nation's largest and best-known agencies, including J. Walter Thompson and Saatchi & Saatchi. Hunt is a native of Washington, Iowa, and currently lives in New York City.

     

  • The Englert Theatre presents Magician Nate Staniforth

    February 3, 2018 - 8:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    Iowa City Magician Nate Staniforth will perform at The Englert Theatre! For tickets please contact The Englert Theatre. Prairie Lights will have copies of Staniforth’s new memoir Here is Real Magic available for purchase at the event.

  • GINA VILD

    February 4, 2018 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Two Most Important Days, by Sanjiv Chopra and Gina Vild, delivers the welcome news that happiness . . . is truly within our grasp. The book soars high with inspiring philosophy and poetry and at the same time is grounded in fascinating studies, neuroscience, psychology, and surprising facts. It also offers exercises to help readers discover their life's purpose, feel gratitude, and achieve sustained happiness."
    —Meta Wagner 

    Gina Vild will read from and talk about the book in this special Sunday afternoon event. Vild is the associate dean and chief communications officer for the Office of Communications and External Relations at Harvard Medical School. She lives in Boston.

  • JAMIE QUATRO in conversation with GARTH GREENWELL

    February 5, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Acclaimed short story writer and debut novelist Jamie Quatro will read from and discuss her new novel, Fire Sermon, with author Garth Greenwell. Greenwell has championed Quatro’s book, saying, It would be difficult to overstate the wonder I felt while reading this novel. It’s among the most beautiful books I’ve ever read about longing―for beauty, for sex, for God, for a coherent life.”

    Jamie Quatro’s short story collection, I Want To Show You More, was published in 2013. She is a visiting professor in the Sewanee School of Letters MFA program, a contributing editor at Oxford American, and lives in Lookout Mountain, Georgia. Garth Greenwell is the author of What Belongs to You and he is a frequently published literary critic and writer. He lives in Iowa City.

  • CARRIE LA SEUR

    February 6, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Carrie La Seur, author of critically acclaimed The Home Place, will read from her new novel, Weight of an Infinite Sky. This evocative and atmospheric novel of family, home, love, and responsibility was inspired by William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. “ Few writers can capture the poetry of the West like Carrie La Seur and with a nod to Shakespeare she probes the west using its most mercurial element—the interior topography of its people.”—Craig Johnson

    Carrie La Seur is an energy and environmental lawyer, and founder of the legal nonprofit Plains Justice. She lives in Billings, Montana.

     

  • JOSEPH CASSARA

    February 7, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Joseph Cassara will read from his novel, House of Impossible Beauties. This gritty and gorgeous debut follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene of the 1980s and ’90s, inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza made famous by the documentary Paris Is Burning. “Exceptional . . . The writing is erotically luscious, lyrically intense, forthrightly in your face, and pitch-perfect in the dialog, and the suspense comes from wondering what’s going to happen to these people…” —Library Journal

    A former fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cassara currently lives in Iowa City.