• Julian E. Zelizer in conversation with Amber Tamblyn

    July 10, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for an exciting reading and conversation featuring Julian E. Zelizer, author of Burning Down the House, in conversation with Amber Tamblyn.

    For access to this Zoom event, register here.

    Julian E. Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a CNN Political Analyst. His most recent books are Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974 (co-authored with Kevin Kruse) and The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress, and the Battle for the Great Society, the winner of the D.B. Hardeman Prize for Best Book on Congress. Zelizer has been awarded fellowships from the New York Historical Society, the Russell Sage Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and New America.

    His new book, Burning Down the House, has been called “[A] thoughtful study of [Gingrich’s] politics in action. . . . Sharp, lucid. . . . A masterfully written political road map for anyone wondering how we got to where we are, a bad place indeed.” by Kirkus Reviews.

    He will be joined in conversation by Amber Tamblyn. Amber Tamblyn is an Emmy and Golden globe nominated actress, writer, director, and the author of 6 books, including  the critically acclaimed best seller, “Era of Ignition: coming of age in a time of rage and revolution." She’s a contributing writer for the New York Times and a founding member of the Times Up Organization. 

    To order the book for curbside pickup, free local delivery, or media mail shipping, find it in our online shop or give us a call at 319-337-2681.

  • Ari Braverman in conversation with Brandon Hobson

    July 8, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a virtual reading with Ari Braverman, author of debut novel The Ballad of Big Feeling.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    The Ballad of Big Feeling has been called “An original, compelling, and enigmatic first novel.” by Kirkus Reviews. In the tradition of Rachel Cusk and Sheila Heti, The Ballad of Big Feeling reveals the mind of a woman perched before middle age and confronting the hidden contradictions and intricacies of everyday life.

    Ari Braverman is a fiction writer from Iowa City by way of New Orleans and New York. Her work has appeared in BOMB, Guernica, Smokelong Quarterly, and at Tammy Journal. She was shortlisted for the 2017 White Review Short Story Prize.

    She will be joined in conversation by Dr. Brandon Hobson, author of the forthcoming novel, The Removed, as well as the novel, Where the Dead Sit Talking, which was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award. A recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Ragdale Foundation residency, his fiction has appeared in such places as McSweeney’s, Conjunctions, American Short Fiction, NOON, and elsewhere.

    To order the book for curbside pickup, free local delivery, or media mail shipping, find it in our online shop or give us a call at 319-337-2681.

  • Barry Phipps: Virtual Book Release

    July 7, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a virtual talk and Q&A with Barry Phipps about his new book of photography, Driving a Table Down.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    On September 23, 2018, photographer Barry Phipps drove seven hours south from his home in Iowa to his parents’ house in southern Missouri. There they wrestled a family heirloom into his car—a wooden table for his Aunt Diane—and Barry and his mother drove more than twelve hundred miles to Di­ane’s home on Florida’s Gulf Coast, stayed a few days, then drove back to Missouri. 

    Phipps presents the 104 color photographs in Driving a Table Down—selected from more than 2,000 photo­graphs taken over the twelve-day trip—in sequential order to show, in his words, “what does and does not change as one travels through shifting cultural and geographic regions.” By capturing the present mo­ment while referencing the past with faded signs, al­most obliterated murals, closed businesses in quiet towns, forgotten tourist attractions, and many other layers of historical accumulations, the photographs illustrate the stark fact that the present is never en­tirely present tense. Phipps’s attention to the real-time details of rural regions of the Midwest and the South, juxtaposed with personal photographs of his family, gives us a momentary definition of America in a state of flux, an America that looks to the past in a time of an uncertain future. 

    Barry Phipps is an Iowa City based multimedia artist. In the 90's he was a member of the Chicago indie Rock group The Coctails, appearing on MTV, performing at Lollapalooza and touring across the US and Japan. He was a resident DJ and founder of mobile DJ business Beep Media, Inc. In 2015 he founded The Barry Phipps Apparel Company, a line of denim bags and industrial work aprons. For the past ten years he has worked as a photographer in Chicago and Iowa City. His first published book of photographs is Between Gravity and What Cheer: Iowa Photographs.

    To order Driving a Table Down book for curbside pickup, free local delivery, or media mail shipping, find it in our online shop or give us a call at 319-337-2681.

  • Alyson McGregor, M.D. and Melody Moezzi

    June 30, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a dialogue on medicine and gender, featuring Dr. Alyson J McGregor, author of Sex Matters, and Melody Moezzi, author of The Rumi Prescription.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    Alyson J. McGregor, M.D. is a women's health pioneer who has brought the concept of sex and gender differences in the delivery of acute medical care to the national scale. She is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and the Co-Founder and Director for the Division of Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine at Brown University's Department of Emergency Medicine. Dr. McGregor is also a Co-Founder for the national organization Sex and Gender Women's Health Collaborative. She has written or co-written over sixty peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals on the topic of sex and gender, and she is the lead editor for the medical textbook, Sex and Gender in Acute Care Medicine. Her new book, Sex Matters: How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women's Health and What We Can Do About It, is an informative and prescriptive guide for women to learn about their unique bodies, the challenges they face in our male-centric medical system, and the steps they can take right now to begin to reduce their personal risk factors and make grass-roots changes in their local medical communities

    Melody Moezzi, an activist, attorney, professor, and award-winning author. Her new book The Rumi Prescription: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed My Modern Manic Life has been called “a heartening narrative of family, transformation, and courage” that “could shatter a variety of prejudices and stereotypes.” by Kirkus Reviews. Her other books include the critically acclaimed memoir Haldol and the Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life and War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims, which earned her a Georgia Author of the Year Award. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NBC News, The Guardian, HuffPost, The Daily Beast, Al Arabiya, and The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, among others. She has appeared on CNN, BBC, NPR, HLN, PBS, CSPAN, PRI, Air America and many other radio and television programs, providing commentary on issues ranging from mental health to Iran to feminism to Islam in America and beyond. She is a visiting professor of creative nonfiction at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and an experienced keynote speaker on a variety of issues—most notably mental health, wellness, inclusion, writing, and activism, especially surrounding Islamophobia, Iranian-American relations, and disability rights.

    To order their books for curbside pickup, free local delivery, or media mail shipping, find them in our online shop (McGregor) (Moezzi) or give us a call at 319-337-2681.

  • Celia Stahr

    June 29, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a virtual reading, presentation, and Q&A with Celia Stahr, author of Frida in America.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    Frida in America was named one of the 7 Books to Read in March by Fortune, and one of the 5 books to look forward to in 2020 by Jaime Herndon at The Woolfer. Celia Stahr is a professor at the University of San Francisco, where she specializes in modern American and contemporary art with an emphasis on feminist art and gender studies, as well as African and multicultural art. She holds a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Iowa and lives in the Bay Area.

    To order the book for curbside pickup, free local delivery, or media mail shipping, find it in our online shop or give us a call at 319-337-2681.

  • Between the Lines: Identity and Belonging

    June 28, 2020 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    To access this virtual event, please register here.

    The International Writing Program presents prize-winning authors Poupeh Missaghi and José Olivarez, current faculty for Between the Lines: Identity and Belonging, a youth writing and cultural exchange session sponsored by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art's Building Bridges Program. Join IWP's BTL participants and Prairie Lights for a reading of their work!

    José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal, was a finalist for the PEN/ Jean Stein Award and a winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize. It was named a top book of 2018 by The Adroit Journal, NPR, and the New York Public Library. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he is a co-editor of the anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT. He is the co-host of the poetry podcast, The Poetry Gods. In 2018, he was awarded the first annual Author and Artist in Justice Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association and named a Debut Poet of 2018 by Poets & Writers. In 2019, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere.

    photo of José Olivarez by Mercedes Zapata

    Poupeh Missaghi is a writer, a translator both into and out of Persian, Asymptote’s Iran editor-at-large, and an educator. She holds a PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Denver, an MA in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University, and an MA in translation studies from Azad University of Tehran, Iran. Her nonfiction, fiction, and translations have appeared in numerous journals, and she has several books of translation published in Iran. Her debut novel, trans(re)lating house one, was published by Coffee House Press in February 2020. She is currently a visiting assistant professor at the Department of Writing at the Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.

  • Eric Cervini in conversation with Prairie Lights

    June 25, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a special Pride Month event featuring Eric Cervini, author of The Deviant's War.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    Eric Cervini is an award-winning historian of LGBTQ+ culture and politics. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard College and received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Cambridge, where he was a Gates Scholar. His first book, The Deviant’s War, is a New York Times Best Seller and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. US Senator Tammy Baldwin says of the debut, "The Deviant’s War is a compelling work that should be on the reading list for everyone who cares about the quest for full civil rights for all Americans."

    He will be joined in conversation by Prairie Lights bookseller, Tim Budd.

    To order the book for curbside pickup, free local delivery, or media mail shipping, find it in our online shop or give us a call at 319-337-2681.

  • Tom Rastrelli in conversation with Amanda Fletcher and MG Lord

    June 22, 2020 - 8:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a special Pride Month event featuring Tom Rastrelli, author of Confessions of a Gay Priest.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    In the event tonight's reading reaches its capacity, you can watch it streaming on Facebook Live!

    Tom Rastrelli is a survivor of clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse who then became a priest in the early days of the Catholic Church’s ongoing scandals. Confessions of a Gay Priest divulges the clandes­tine inner workings of the seminary, providing an intimate and unapologetic look into the psychosexual and spiritual dynamics of celibacy and lays bare the “formation” system that perpetuates the cycle of abuse and cover-up that continues today. 

    He will be joined in conversation by Amanda Fletcher, the Emerging Voices Fellowship manager at PEN America Los Angeles, and M.G. Lord, a cultural critic and investigative journalist who worked closely with Tom Rastrelli as he worked on Confessions of a Gay Priest.

    To order the book for curbside pickup, free local delivery, or media mail shipping, find it in our online shop or give us a call at 319-337-2681.

  • John Grisham: Interview with Prairie Lights

    May 27, 2020 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    We are excited to host best-selling author John Grisham in conversation with Prairie Lights on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 27. 

    Grisham is the author of thirty-four novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and seven novels for young readers. His new novel, Camino Winds is the second book in the Camino Series. There are currently over 300 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 40 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films, as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man

    You can register for this event on Zoom here.

    The event will also be streaming live on Facebook! To watch there, follow our page, Prairie Lights Bookstore, on Facebook and head there at 3pm.

  • Carol Tyx, Remaking Achilles: Slicing into Angola's History - Book Launch

    May 13, 2020 - 7:00pm


    You're invited to a Zoom Book Launch for Remaking Achilles: Slicing into Angola's History by Carol Tyx

    You can register for the reading here

    After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the event.


    Remaking Achilles: Slicing into Angola's History tells the story of a painful historical event in 1951, when 37 inmates of Angola Prison in Lousiana slashed their own Achilles tendons in order to make public the brutal conditions at the prison. At its heart, Remaking Achilles is about resisting injustice and how inmates, with the support of a larger community, pushed for prison reform.

    During the Zoom Book Launch event, Tyx will read from the book and take questions from participants. Writer Andy Douglas will be hosting the event.

    Tyx's involvement with prisons emerges from a book club she co-founded at the Anamosa State Penitentiary ten years ago. Getting to know the men in the book club challenged her stereotypes about people who are incarcerated and whetted her desire for criminal justice reforms. Tyx is part of a state-wide coalition, spear-headed by the ACLU, to restore voting rights to felons in Iowa. Remaking Achilles received the Willow Run Poetry Book Award from Hidden River Pess. Currently, Tyx is the artist-in-residence at Prairiewoods eco-spirituality center in Hiawatha.

    To order Remaking Achilles: Signed copies are available at Prairie Lights. To order a copy for local delivery to the Iowa City/Coralville area, or shipping in the continental US, give us a call. You can also order the book directly from the author at Two dollars from every sale will be donated to Inside Out Reentry, a local returning citizens support organization.