Archive

  • Gretel Ehrlich in conversation with Christopher Merrill

    March 1, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading to celebrate the release of Unsolaced: Along the Way to All That Is with author Gretel Ehrlich, in conversation with poet and International Writing Prigram director, Christopher Merrill.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    A starred Kirkus Review calls the book "An intimate, engaging memoir . . . In lush, evocative prose, Ehrlich details some breathtakingly perilous journeys . . . A vigorous plea for responsible environmental stewardship and a treat for all fans of nature writing." Publishers Weekly says, "Ehrlich's memories, rendered in rich, lyrical language, make for a moving ode to a changing planet."

    Gretel Ehrlich is the author of Facing the Wave, The Future of Ice, Heart Mountain, The Solace of Open Spaces, This Cold Heaven, and Unsolaced, among other works of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Ehrlich studied at Bennington College and UCLA film school. She divides her time between Montana and Hawaii.

    She will be joined in conversation by Christopher Merrill, who has published six collections of poetry, most recently Boat and Necessities; many edited volumes and translations; and six books of nonfiction, including Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars and Self-Portrait with Dogwood. As director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa since 2000, Merrill has conducted cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries.

  • Caryl Pagel and Lauren Shapiro

    February 26, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with poets Caryl Pagel and Lauren Shapiro, to celebrate the release of their new books, Out of Nowhere Into Nothing and Arena.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Hanif Abdurraqib, author of Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest says of Caryl Pagel's new book: "I appreciate Out Of Nowehere Into Nothing for how gently and generously it cares for the flawed and faulty machine of memory. Pagel is a thoughtful and skilled storyteller, weaving together narratives in a way that centers itself on trust and reliability. Reading this book was like hearing from an old friend, and having all of your favorite recollections painted back in."

    Lauren Shapiro's Arena is an Editor's Choice for the 2019 CSU Poetry Center Open Book Competition. Suzanne Buffam says of the book, “Keen-witted, caustic, and resolutely dry-eyed, these poems register a collective alarm in which private grief and global dread converge ‘at the pace of adrenaline.’”

    Caryl Pagel is the author of two books of poetry and an essay collection, Out of Nowhere Into Nothing (FC2, 2020). She is the co-founder of Rescue Press, a poetry editor at jubilat, and the director of the Cleveland State University Poetry Center. Pagel teaches poetry and nonfiction in the NEOMFA program in northeast Ohio.

    Lauren Shapiro is the author of Arena (CSU Poetry Center, 2020), and Easy Math (Sarabande, 2013), which was the winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and the Debut-litzer Prize for Poetry. With Kevin González, she co-edited The New Census: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (Rescue Press, 2013). She is an associate professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.

     

  • Steve Inskeep in conversation with Charity Nebbe

    February 25, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us to celebrate the paperback release of Steve Inskeep's Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil Warwith a reading and conversation with Iowa Public Radio's Charity Nebbe.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    The New York Times calls Imperfect Union “Revelatory. . . a fresh look that brings 21st-century vision to bear on the 19th-century story. In writing about both Frémont and his wife, Jessie, the aggressive promoter of his career, Inskeep does two important things. He shines an unsparing light on his subjects, and he finds unnerving similarities between the Frémonts’ America and our own. Like Candice Millard’s “Destiny of the Republic,” an improbably thrilling book about the Garfield assassination, “Imperfect Union” finds a big, resonant, star-studded subject that has been hiding in plain sight. . . . If the book’s purpose is to illuminate and chill, mission accomplished.”

    Steve Inskeep is a cohost of NPR’s Morning Edition, the most widely heard radio program in the United States, and of NPR’s Up First, one of the nation’s most popular podcasts. His reporting has taken him across the United States, the Middle East, Latin America, Africa, Pakistan, and China. His search for the full story behind the news has led him to history; he is the author of Instant City: Life and Death in Karachi and Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab, both published by Penguin Press. Since joining Morning Edition in 2004, Inskeep has hosted the program from New Orleans, Detroit, San Francisco, Cairo, and Beijing; investigated Iraqi police in Baghdad; and received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for "The Price of African Oil," on conflict in Nigeria. He has taken listeners on a 2,428-mile journey along the U.S.-Mexico border, and 2,700 miles across North Africa. He is a repeat visitor to Iran and has covered wars in Syria and Yemen.

    Charity Nebbe became the host of Talk of Iowa in 2010. It was a homecoming for her as she moved back to her native state. She began her career in public radio at WOI Radio in Ames, Iowa when she was a student at Iowa State University and has been working in public radio ever since. Early in her career she created Chinwag Theater a nationally syndicated public radio show that she produced and co-hosted with well-known author Daniel Pinkwater. She spent ten years as a host and producer at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor. In addition to her award winning radio work Charity is also the host of Iowa Ingredient on Iowa Public Television and the author of the children's book “Our Walk in the Woods,” published in 2008. Charity is co-founder of Let Me Run Eastern Iowa Corridor, a character development and running program for boys.

  • Michele Morano in conversation with John T. Price

    February 19, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us with the Nonfiction Writing Program for a virtual event with Michele Morano, who will read from her latest essay collection, Like Love. She will be joined in conversation by fellow NWP alum John T. Price. This reading is part of The Krause Series in Contemporary Nonfiction.

    To join this event, register here.

    Like Love was longlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. Booklist calls the book, “Haunting....Every piece reads like a conversation between close friends, sharing their greatest moments of vulnerability and their brightest memories of softness.... Morano’s work is proof that a life spent in love is monumental, worth entire books, worth everything.”

    Michele Morano is the author of the travel memoir Grammar Lessons: Translating a Life in Spain. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best American Essays, Fourth Genre, Ninth Letter, and Waveform: Twenty-First-Century Essays by Women. She lives in Chicago, where she chairs the English Department at DePaul University.

    She will be joined in conversation by John T. Price, the award-winning author of three memoirs, including Man Killed by Pheasant and Other Kinships and Daddy Long Legs: The Natural Education of a Father, and is the editor of the Tallgrass Prairie Reader. He is the Regents/Foundation Distinguished Professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he directs the English Department’s Creative Nonfiction Writing Program. 

  • The State Historical Society of Iowa Presents: Iowa Stories: The Rock Island Railroad Takes Shape: The Iowa Main Line Experience with H. Roger Grant

    February 18, 2021 - 12:00pm

    The State Historical Society of Iowa - Zoom

    The State Historical Society of Iowa is honored to host one of the nation's leading historians on railroads and transportation, especially since he will focus on  “The Rock Island Railroad Takes Shape: The Iowa Main Line Experience.” 

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    In the 1850s and 1860s Iowans became infected with “railroad fever,” a condition that sparked several trans-state projects. The Mississippi & Missouri Railroad seemed the most promising. It did succeed, but only after rival Chicago & North Western reached the Omaha Gateway. The M&M, which served Davenport, Iowa City, and Des Moines, soon became part of the rapidly expanding Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific system, and remains today as the Iowa Interstate Railroad.

    H. Roger Grant, Kathryn and Calhoun Lemon Professor of History at Clemson University and Albia, Iowa, native, is the author of 36 academic books, most of which cover railroads and transportation. His latest work, A Mighty Fine Road: A History of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Company, appeared last October from Indiana University Press.

  • Felicia Rose Chavez, The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom

    February 12, 2021 - 6:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Please join us with the Nonfiction Writing Program for a reading and conversation with Felicia Rose Chavez to celebrate the release of The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom. NWP MFA first-year Georgie Fehringer will provide the introduction, and Inara Verzemnieks will moderate the discussion.

    In a book that’s part memoir and part teaching guide, Felicia Rose Chavez exposes the invisible politics of power and privilege that have silenced writers of color for far too long. An MFA graduate of the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program, Chavez addresses the climate of the creative writing classroom and the need for pedagogical and philosophical transformations to create authentically inclusive communities. Publishers Weekly notes that “the mindfulness and generosity that guide her teaching principles will resonate with other scholars and students who have been working to diversify creative writing and English literature programs.” Chavez is an award-winning writer and teacher whose work has appeared in Kenyon ReviewBlack Warrior Review, and Brevity, among other publications. She is the co-editor of The BreakBeat Poets Volume 4: LatiNEXT and the founder of GirlSpeak, a feminist webzine for high school students. For more information about The Anti-Racist Writing Workshop, and to access a multi-genre compilation of contemporary writers of color and progressive online publishing platforms, please visit www.antiracistworkshop.com

  • Anna North in conversation with Tony Tulathimutte

    February 9, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us to celebrate the release of Anna North's latest novel, Outlawed, with a reading and conversation with Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Publishers Weekly, starred review says of Outlawed: “North’s knockout latest chronicles the travails of a midwife’s daughter who joins a group of female and nonbinary outlaws near the end of the 19th century…The characters’ struggles for gender nonconformity and LGBTQ rights are tenderly and beautifully conveyed. This feminist western parable is impossible to put down.” Outlawed has been selected as a Reese’s Book Club pick and a Belletrist Book Club pick.

    Anna North is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the author of two previous novels, America Pacifica and The Life and Death of Sophie Stark, which received a Lambda Literary Award in 2016. She has been a writer and editor at JezebelBuzzFeedSalon, and the New York Times, and she is now a senior reporter at Vox. She grew up in Los Angeles and lives in Brooklyn.

    Tony Tulathimutte is the author of Private Citizens, a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and is five foot four.

  • Kevin Barry in conversation with Susan Orlean

    February 8, 2021 - 6:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Kevin Barry to celebrate the release of his new story collection, That Old Country Musicwith New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Kirkus starred review says of That Old Country Music, “Barry has the right stuff for short stories. He brings characters to life quickly and then blesses them with his uncanny ear for dialogue and prose rhythms, his compassion and wry wit…Exceptional writing and a thoroughly entertaining collection.”

    Kevin Barry is the author of the highly acclaimed novels Night Boat to Tangier, City of Bohane, and Beatlebone and the short-story collections, Dark Lies the Island and There Are Little Kingdoms. Night Boat to Tangier was longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize, and was on many best of the year lists. Barry was awarded the Rooney Prize in 2007 and won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award in 2012. For City of Bohane, he was short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award and the Irish Book Award, and won the Author’s Club Best First Novel Prize, the European Union Prize for Literature, and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere. He lives in County Sligo in Ireland.

    Susan Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992. She is the author of seven books, including Library BookRin Tin TinSaturday Night, and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award–winning film Adaptation. She splits her time between Los Angeles and the Hudson Valley of New York with her family and her animals.

  • Kathleen Williams Renk in conversation with Mary Helen Stefaniak

    February 5, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading from Vindicated: A Novel of Mary Shelley with author Kathleen Williams Renk in conversation with Mary Helen Stefaniak.

    To access this virtual event, register here.

    Historical Novels Review says of the book: "The language ... dances between poetic, philosophical, and occasionally frightening. ... a beautifully written, engaging novel that will stay with the reader for a long time." Amy Newman, author of On This Day in Poetry History says, “Kathleen Renk has written an engrossing narrative studded with historic detail and the passionate experiences of a woman’s extraordinary life.”

    Kathleen Williams Renk taught British and Women's literature for nearly three decades in the U.S. and abroad. Her scholarly books include Caribbean Shadows and Victorian Ghosts: Women’s Writing and Decolonization (Univ. Press of Virginia,1999), Magic, Science, and Empire in Postcolonial Literature: The Alchemical Literary Imagination (Routledge, 2012), and Women Writing the Neo-Victorian Novel: Erotic "Victorians" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). While earning her Ph.D. at the University of Iowa, Williams Renk studied fiction writing with James Alan MacPherson. Her short fiction and creative nonfiction have appeared in Iowa City MagazineLiterary YardPage and Spine, and CC & D MagazineVindicated is her first novel. Her second novel, In an Artist’s Studio, about the Victorian artists/poets Christina Rossetti and Lizzie Siddal, is currently under consideration with a press in the U.K.

    She will be joined in conversation by Mary Helen Stefaniak, the prize-winning author of The Turk and My Mother, Self Storage and Other Stories, and The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, which won the 2011 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and professor emerita of creative writing at Creighton University, Mary Helen teaches fiction writing in the M.F.A. Program at Pacific University and in the International Summer School at Renmin University in Beijing. Her third novel, The World of Pondside, is forthcoming from Blackstone Publishing. Mary Helen and her husband John have been Iowa City residents since 1982.

  • Fiona Sze-Lorrain in conversation with Christopher Merrill

    February 4, 2021 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Join us at 4:00 in the afternoon! IWP alum Fiona Sze-Lorrain will read from her new book of poems Rain in Plural, published by Princeton University Press.  She will be joined in conversation by IWP Director and poet, Christopher Merrill.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    "Rain in Plural is a cause for celebration. In recent years, when the world has become too wearying for me, I’ve looked to the poetry of Fiona Sze-Lorrain for her inventive lyricism and her radiant intelligence. There is an exquisite music in this work that is unlike anything else in contemporary poetry. ..Rain in Plural is a collection of glorious and absolute brilliance." David St. John. Fiona Sze-Lorrain has also written the piece, "How Each Line Appears | some loose leaves" in Princeton University Press.

    Fiona Sze-Lorrain is the author of three previous poetry collections, including The Ruined Elegance, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. She has translated more than a dozen books of contemporary Chinese, French, and American poetry and is an accomplished musician, considered a major zheng harpist of her generation.  She lives in Paris.

    Christopher Merrill has published six collections of poetry, most recently Boat and Necessities; many edited volumes and translations; and six books of nonfiction, including Only the Nails Remain: Scenes from the Balkan Wars and Self-Portrait with Dogwood. As director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa since 2000, Merrill has conducted cultural diplomacy missions to more than fifty countries.