• JONATHAN BLUM in conversation with DANIEL KHALASTCHI

    November 13, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Jonathan Blum will read from his highly anticipated short story collection, The Usual Uncertainties, published by Rescue Press. In precise, elegant prose, these stories follow characters and communities often consigned to the edge of the frame: a community college dropout, a geriatric care manager, a square dance bar mitzvah, a Scrabble club, an entrepreneurial Thai immigrant, and a South Florida country club.

    Blum is  the author  of the novel Last  Word, and his  stories have  appeared in Gulf Coast,  New York Stories, Other  Voices, and Playboy. He lives in Los Angeles.

    "I've long been an admirer of the strange, intense, and yet incredibly intimate work of Jonathan Blum."--Peter Orner

    Blum will be joined in conversation by Daniel Khalastchi, Director of the University of Iowa’s Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing and co-founder and managing editor of Rescue Press.


    November 12, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The MFA in Spanish Creative Writing Program presents a reading of the anthology Ellas cuentan. Antología de Crime Fiction por latinoamericanas en EEUU. Two current Spanish MFA students, Melanie Márquez Adams and Oriette D’Angelo, will be joined by Gizella Meneses and Jennifer Thorndike to read from the book, introduced by Spanish MFA fiction faculty Horacio Castellanos Moya and Professor Ariana Ruiz.

    The event will be conducted in Spanish.


    November 10, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Soukaina HABIBALLAH (poetry, fiction, screenwriting; Morocco) has four poetry collections and one novel [The Barracks] (2016), with a second novel forthcoming in 2019. Habiballah has received many awards including, in 2015, the Buland Al Haidari Prize for Arabic poetry, and the 2019 Nadine Shames Prize for Arab Screenwriters for her short film [Who Left the Door Open?]. Her poetry has been translated into seven languages (including English). Ms. Habiballah participates courtesy the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

    CHAN Ping-chiu (drama; Hong Kong) is the founder the experimental theater group Sand & Bricks for young artists, the artistic director of the On & On Theatre Workshop, an educator, and a widely awarded veteran stage director and playwright. In 2013, he was selected by the Hong Kong Arts Development Council as the Year’s Best Artist (Drama). He participates courtesy of the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation.

    Cristiane Sobral 


    November 9, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Carmen Maria Machado will read from In the Dream House, published by Graywolf Press. Author Garth Greenwell will join her to talk about the book.   “Wrought with alarming premonition, propulsive rhythm, and a trove of folkloric archetypes, Machado’s genre-crushing memoir is a meditation on the eclipse of knowledge and intuition by the narcotic light of a destructive bond that feels like love.”—Melissa Broder

    Carmen Maria Machado is the author of Her Body and Other Parties, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize. She lives in Philadelphia with her wife.  Garth Greenwell is also a Writers’ Workshop Graduate, and the author of What Belongs to You and the forthcoming Cleanness.


    November 8, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Benjamin Percy will read from Suicide Woods, published by Graywolf Press.  "An addictive mix of gritty crime fiction and otherworldly horror. . . . Percy's prose is exacting, finely tuning the atmospherics that give the collection such an eerie overall feeling. . . . Suicide Woods is a testament to Percy's skill as a writer. He takes no shortcuts in eliciting thrills. The collection is by turns provocative and terrifying."--Shelf Awareness

    Benjamin Percy is the author of the werewolf novel Red Moon, the post-apocalyptic Lewis-and-Clark saga The Dead Lands, the paranormal/internet thriller The Dark Net, the Green Arrow, Teen Titans, and James Bond comic book series, and a book on writing, Thrill Me. He lives in Minnesota.


    November 7, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City native and bestselling author of Descent, Tim Johnston will read from The Current,  which has been a New York Times, USA Today, and Indie national bestseller.   "I would have taken a break long before 2:00 a.m. last night were it not for Johnston's masterly ability to rummage inside the heads of his various characters, revealing the frayed fabric of small-town life in the process and showing us the stand-up grit of a handful of women and men . . . We need a little hyperbole if we're going to adequately describe how much we love a Tim Johnston novel." — Bill Ott, Booklist

    Tim Johnston is the author of the New York Times bestseller Descent, which has now been optioned for film. He has also published the prize-winning story collection Irish Girl and a young adult novel, Never So Green. He lives in Chicago. 



    November 6, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Marvin Bell, who taught poetry for over forty years at The University of Iowa’s Writers' Workshop and was Iowa's first poet laureate, will read from Incarnate: The Collected Dead Man Poems. "Marvin Bell's Dead Man poems should close out any anthology of the twentieth century and open any anthology of this new century's work. They change the game. They insist that we pay a new and different kind of attention." --The Georgia Review

    Marvin Bell was born in New York City 1937, and raised in rural Long Island. He attended Alfred University and the University of Chicago. He has influenced generations of poets and during his long teaching career at Iowa was the Flannery O'Connor Professor of Letters. Bell has published twenty-one volumes of poetry. He lives in Iowa City, Iowa and Port Townsend, Washington.


    November 5, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Pushcart Prizewinner Jaquira Diaz will read from her compelling new book, Ordinary Girls.  "A powerful memoir, heart-wrenching, inspiring, thoroughly engrossing, reminiscent of Mary Karr's The Liar's Club, Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and more recently Tara Westover's Educated. Through one family's story, we learn about challenges of poverty, migration, uprootedness, addiction, sexism, racism --but also about the triumphant, spirited storyteller who survives to tell the tale...there is more life packed on each page of Ordinary Girls than some lives hold in a lifetime."--Julia Alvarez

    Diaz’s work has been included in The Best American Essays, Rolling Stone, the Guardian, and the Fader.  She is a visiting assistant professor in the MFA program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 


    November 4, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and award-winning playwright Regina Porter will read from her debut novel, The Travelers.  "In The Travelers, generations of two families--one black and one white--journey across time, race, geography, and the wounds of history with sweeping breadth and disarming intimacy. Porter's debut signals the arrival of a fully formed, singular talent." --Ayana Mathis

    Regina Porter was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of a 2017-2018 Rae Armour West Postgraduate Scholarship. She was also a 2017 Tin House Summer Workshop Scholar. Porter has worked with Playwrights Horizons, the Joseph Papp Theater, New York Stage and Film, the Women’s Project, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, and Horizon Theatre Company. Her writing has appeared in the Harvard Review, Plays from Woolly Mammoth by Broadway Play Services and Heinemann’s Scenes for Women by Women. Porter was born in Savannah, Georgia, and lives in Brooklyn.  A reception will be held at the Historic Phillips House following the event  (721 N. Linn St.   RSVP: 319-400-7325) .


  • IWP Reading

    November 3, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Join us for the Sunday International Writing Program Prairie Lights Reading Series to hear some of this years’ IWP residents read from their work.  Playwright Nick Rongjun Yu (drama; People’s Republic of China), artistic director of the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Center, the Shanghai International Comedy Festival, and co-director of the Shanghai Performing Arts Group, has had over 60 plays produced in China and abroad. He also works in film, TV, and radio. His writing has won him the Cao Yu Script Award and an Outstanding Social Achievement Award at the Cairo International Experimental Theater Festival. His participation is courtesy of the Paul and Hualing Engle Foundation.  Chigama Easther Batsirai (poetry, fiction; Zimbabwe) has been a teacher of performance and creative writing workshops for over two decades. Her first poetry collection, Gather the Children, won the 2019 Outstanding First Creative Published Work from the National Arts Merits Awards in Zimbabwe. She participates courtesy of the State Department.  Julia Conrad is a writer and violin player from Brooklyn, New York. She is a dual MFA candidate in Nonfiction and in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa, where she was an Iowa Arts Fellow. She has received fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and Wesleyan University, and her work has been published in The Massachusetts Review, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Nexos, and the forthcoming Haymarket Books anthology Choice Words: Writers on Abortion.