July 19, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author Caite Dolan-Leach will read from her new novel, We Went to the Woods.  “I adored so many things about We Went to the Woods--the brilliant premise, the narration, the writing, the suspense, the sly flashes of humor, the eco-Gothicism, the sexual longing, the way you're never quite sure if things are falling apart or turning into a love story. But most of all, it's incredibly compelling: The Secret History meets The Beach, with a generous dash of The Great Gatsby. Dark, gothic, and hauntingly beautiful, this is addictive storytelling at its best." —JP Delaney

    Caite Dolan-Leach is the author of Dead Letters and is also a literary translator. She was born in the Finger Lakes region and is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the American University in Paris.


    July 18, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    IWP Youth Program presents visiting instructors Asli Perker, Dora Malech, Armen of Armenia, and Yuriy Serebryansky, who will read from their work.  

    Asli Perker is one of the most prominent writers of Turkey. She's written six novels, some of which have been translated into as many as 24 languages. Perker contributes to art magazines and has a weekly book review column. She is one of four members of the peace committee of PEN and currently lives in Istanbul.

    Dora Malech grew up in Maryland and earned a BA in Fine Arts from Yale University and an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.  She is the author of Shore Ordered Ocean, Say So, and Stet, and her poems have appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry magazine,  and Poetry London.  She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at Johns Hopkins University.

    Armen of Armenia (Armen Ohanyan) is the author of the story collection The Return of Kikos , and the novel Mommyland: The Flag. His writing is significantly influenced by his political activism. He is the President of PEN Armenia Center since 2017. In 2015 he has participated at IWP Fall Residency.

    Yuriy Serebryansky, a fiction writer and  journalist from Kazakhstan, is the editor of the Polish diaspora magazine Ałmatyński Kurier Polonijny, and the author of five volumes of prose and poetry. His novel Destination Road Pastoral won the Russkaya Premia for best short prose in 2010; the novel Citizens of Prague won the same award in 2014. His Kazakhstani Fairy Tales won an award at the 2017 Silk Roads Book Fair. A member of Kazakh Pen Center, he has served as editor-in-chief of Esquire Kazakhstan.


    July 17, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Long before George Orwell was predicting a nightmarish future for 20th Century, he was working for the British Empire as a journalist and clerk, observing it in a "fly on the wall" circumstance. He observed the English military and government treating the locals in India, Burma, Pakistan like a different species from the modern arrogant English. In his first novel, Burmese Days (1934), he goes after the colonial English with a vengeance, in the sharp, observant prose which won him the reputation as one of the truly excellent English writers of the 20th century, of fiction, of journalism, and of the literary essay. 

    "This is a superior novel, not less so because it tells an absorbing story. Orwell has made his people and his background vividly real. And he knows of what he writes."—New York Times

    "Based on his experience in India, the country of his birth, George Orwell's caustic, fast-paced novel can take an honorable place beside E. M. Forster's A Passage to India and Paul Scott's The Jewel in the Crown.

  • KRISTEN ARNETT in conversation with Lyz Lenz

    July 16, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Queer fiction and essay writer Kristen Arnett will read from Mostly Dead Things, named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 at Esquire, The Week, BuzzFeed, NYLON, Bustle, HuffPost, and The Boston Globe. “Mostly Dead Things is one of the strangest and funniest and most surprising first novels I've ever read. A love letter to Florida and to family, to half-lit swamps and the 7/11, and to the beasts that only pretend to hold their poses inside us.”—Karen Russell

    Kristen Arnett has garnered a remarkable following through her column on libraries for Literary Hub, the recurring series of literary pet cartoons she created with Mary Laura Philpott, and her perennially-funny Twitter hijinks. She won the 2017 Coil Book Award for her debut short fiction collection, Felt in the Jaw, and was awarded Ninth Letter's 2015 Literary Award in Fiction. She's a columnist for Literary Hub and her work has either appeared or is upcoming at North American Review, The Normal School, Gulf Coast, TriQuarterly, Guernica, Electric Literature, Volume 1 Brooklyn, Bennington Review, Tin House Flash Fridays/The Guardian, Salon, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She will be joined in conversation by Lyz Lenz, writer for The Rumpus and author of the forthcoming book, God Land.


    July 15, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In Celebration of the release this month of James Tate’s posthumous collection of poems, The Government Lake, Iowa City poets and poetry-lovers will read from his work.

    James Tate was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1943. He attended The Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the 1960’s where he wrote his highly acclaimed first collection of poems, The Lost Pilot, which won the prestigious Yale Younger Poetry Award when Tate was only 22 years old. He went on to publish seventeen books of poetry, including Worshipful Company of Fletchers, which won the National Book Award in 1994 and Selected Poems , which won the Pulitzer Prize and the William Carlos Williams Award in 1991. He taught for many years at The University of Massachusetts in Amherst, although he returned to teach at The Writers’ Workshop for three semesters in the late 1980’s. 

    James Tate's work, filled with unexpected turns and deadpan exaggeration, "fanciful and grave, mundane and transcendent" (New York Times), has been among the most defining and significant of our time. In his last collection, written before his death in 2015, Tate's dark humor, his emotional acuity, and his keen ear are on full display in prose poems that are finely constructed, lyrical, and provocative.

    With The Government Lake, James Tate reminds us why he is one of the great poets of our age and a true master.


    July 14, 2019 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Former UI Director of the Center for New Performing Arts Martha Ann Letterman will read from Scarlet Cinders. The novel explores the 1950s and 60s in Washington, DC and Atlantic City, from the point of view of a young girl at a pivotal time of American cultural change. An historic family tourist house is torn down to make way for a modern apartment building, a family beach resort is transformed into a gambling playground, and her parents go from a life of social involvement and high fashion to one of isolation. Scarlet Cinders, originally developed as a series of vignettes for performance, is a novel the three acts filled with joy, sadness and humor.

    Letterman was the stage director of the UI Opera Theatre and the Center for New Performing Arts from 1973-1978. She received a MFA degree in Acting and Directing from the U of Iowa and subsequently was appointed as stage director of the UI Opera Theatre and Director of The Center for New Performing Arts from 1973 -1978.

    Martha Letterman has worked with artists from the Broadway Stage, the Metropolitan and City Operas, and has directed on stages across the US.  She now lives in Cumberland, Maryland, and travels to Washington, DC, her hometown, and to New York City where she continues her work as a consultant.



    July 11, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City native Daniel Blue Tyx will read from and talk about Angry Tias: Cruelty and Compassion on the U.S.-Mexico Border. Danie Blue Tyx grew up in Iowa City. For the last ten years he has been living on the U.S.-Mexico border, where he works as a freelance writer. His new book gives readers an inside view of the child separation policy, and how "an eclectic group of fed-up border women and under-resourced lawyers transformed their initial shock and anger at the horrors taking place in their communities into a grassroots movement for democracy and accountability."  

    Hearing first-hand the stories of those seeking asylum in the U.S. and how ordinary people advocate for them remains part of our wrestling with border issues. And as an Iowan, Daniel Blue Tyx links us to an area that can seem far removed from the Midwest.


    July 10, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    UI International Writing Program presents its author/mentors in an inaugural event for the Summer Institute! The Summer Institute is a new immersive two-week creative writing and cultural exchange program through the IWP, for participants age 18-22 from Pakistan, India, and the U.S.

    Rochelle Potkar, a fiction writer and poet from India is the author of The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories, Four Degrees of Separation, and Paper Asylum. Widely published online and in print, Rochelle is the co-editor of Neesah magazine, and an active member of Poetry Couture, which hosts poetry readings at cafes across India.

    Anjali Sachdeva, a Writers’ Workshop graduate in Fiction who currently teaches at the University of Pittsburgh, is the author of the short story collection All the Names They Used for God. Her fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, Gulf Coast, Yale Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Literary Review, and Best American Nonrequired Reading.

    Harris Khalique, a poet and nonfiction writer from Pakistan is the author of eight poetry collections, including Between You and Your Love. The 2013 winner of the UBL Literary Excellence Award for Urdu poetry, his poems have been anthologized internationally. He campaigns for workers’, women’s, and minority rights in Pakistan and abroad, and contributes regularly to national and international news publications.


    July 9, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Claire Lombardo will read from The Most Fun We Ever Had, a multi-generational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple match wits, harbor grudges, and recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they've built. "Everything about this brilliant debut cuts deep: the humor, the wisdom, the pathos. Claire Lombardo writes like she's been doing it for a hundred years, and like she's been alive for a thousand." —Rebecca Makkai 

    Claire Lombardo was born and raised in Oak Park, Illinois. A former social worker, she now teaches fiction writing and is at work on a second novel. She lives in Iowa City.


    July 2, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    University of Iowa school of journalism alum and former soldier Alicia Dill will read from her thriller, Squared Away.  One phone call in the middle of the night changes the life of a former soldier, Joelle McCoy. Her best friend and battle buddy, Concepcion Chapa, is dead and McCoy isn't taking the alleged car accident at face value. Determined to discover the truth, McCoy sets out on a mission to find her best friend and bring her home.

    Alicia Dill spent six years as an Army soldier and globally published print journalist. She remains involved with many service members who continue to put their lives in harm’s way throughout the world. It’s because of that bond, Dill wrote her debut novel centered around the relationship of two sisters in uniform. She joined the Army National Guard at the age of 17 and received her degree in journalism and international studies at the University of Iowa. After her service, she was published by several weekly newspapers in Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois, with over 75,000 readers. She lives in Iowa City.