• Kate Folk in conversation with Jamel Brinkley

    May 19, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Kate Folk  to celebrate the release of her new book Out There: Stories. She will be joined in conversation by Jamel Brinkley. 

    Chicago Review of Books says of Out There, “Stegner Fellow Kate Folk first caught the CHIRB’s notice, and everyone else’s, when the titular story appeared in The New Yorker a couple years back, which set up some big expectations for her debut collection. Luckily Folk’s ample imagination ably exceeds them with these eerily absurdist tales that offer a perfect encapsulation of our modern madnesses, like an Alice’s looking glass for our social media–obsessed age.”

    Kate Folk is the author of Out There: Stories. She’s the recipient of a Stegner fellowship in fiction from Stanford University, and has written for publications including The New YorkerThe New York Times MagazineGrantaMcSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, and Zyzzyva. Originally from Iowa City, she currently lives in San Francisco.

    Jamel Brinkley  is the author of  A Lucky Man: Stories , a finalist for the National Book Award, the Story Prize, the John Leonard Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; and winner of a PEN Oakland Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. Raised in Brooklyn and the Bronx, he teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. A new short story collection,  Witness , is forthcoming in 2023 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

  • Amanda Moore and Keith Lesmeister

    May 18, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Amanda Moore and Keith Lesmeister. Amanda will be reading from her new book of poetry Requeening and Keith will read from his work of fiction We Could've Been Happy Here

    Amanda Moore’s debut collection of poetry, Requeening (Ecco 2021), was selected for the National Poetry Series by Ocean Vuong. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Best New Poets, ZZYZVA, LitHub, and Mamas and Papas: On the Sublime and Heartbreaking Art of Parenting, and her essays have appeared in Catapult, The Baltimore Review, and Hippocampus Magazine. Poetry Editor for Women's Voices for Change and a reader for VIDA Lit and Bull City Press's INCH, Amanda is currently a high school English teacher in San Francisco, where she lives with her husband and daughter. 

    Keith Lesmeister is the author of the story collection  We Could’ve Been Happy Here . He is a founding editor of EastOver Press and Cutleaf. His fiction has appeared in  American Short Fiction, Gettysburg Review, New Stories from the Midwest, North American Review, Redivider, SLICE,  and many others. His nonfiction has appeared in  The Good Men Project,  River Teeth, Sycamore Review, Tin House Open Bar, Water~Stone Review , and elsewhere.  He lives in Iowa’s Driftless region.

  • Mary Allen in conversation with Patricia Foster

    May 13, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Mary Allen to celebrate the release of her new book The Deep Limitless Air: A Memoir in Pieces. She will be joined in conversation by Patricia Foster.

    Mary Allen is a memoir and fiction writer whose themes are spiritual and psychological healing, love, the nature of life and death, and the ways our states of consciousness intersect with our experience of reality. Her writing — and broad range of writing topics — reflect her belief that the personal and the practical, the painful and the numinous, the spiritual and the ordinary are all blended together in our lives and cannot be separated from one another without at least part of the truth being lost. She has an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has taught in the University of Iowa’s nonfiction writing MFA program, the Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and the Rhetoric Department at the University of Iowa.  She currently makes a living as a writing coach and lives in Iowa City, Iowa.

    Patricia Foster is the author of All the Lost Girls,  Just Beneath My Skin, Girl from Soldier Creek and the editor of four anthologies including Understanding the Essay (co-edited with Jeff Porter). She is the recipient of a Dean’s Scholar Award, a Yaddo Fellowship, a Florida Arts Council Award, an Iowa Arts & Humanities Award, and has published over fifty essays and stories in  Ploughshares, The Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review and other quarterlies.  She is professor emeritus of the MFA Program in Nonfiction at UIowa and has taught in France, Australia, Italy, Czech Republic, and Spain.

  • Jen Silverman in conversation with Julia May Jonas

    May 11, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and Q/A with Jen Silverman to celebrate the paperback release of their new book We Play Ourselves.  They will be joined in conversation by Julia May Jonas.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    We Play Ourselves offers a delightful, satirical glimpse into the entertainment industry and the price of fame. . . . Silverman balances wit with earnestness, the laugh-out-loud moments highlighting the absurdity of writing—whether plays, films or poetry, the genre she skewers most adroitly in a pitch-perfect parody of an overhyped ingénue. Cass’s desperation for a new, simpler life is universal. As she falls again and again, the reader believes she has the heart to pick herself back up.”The New York Times Book Review

    Jen Silverman is a New York-based writer and playwright. Jen is the author of the novel We Play Ourselves and the story collection The Island Dwellers. Jen's poetry chapbook Bath is forthcoming with Driftwood Press, selected by Traci Brimhall. Plays include: Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties; The Moors; The Roommate and Witch. Jen's plays have been produced off-Broadway, across the United States and internationally. Additional fiction, essays and poetry have appeared in Vogue, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Sun, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. Jen is a three-time MacDowell Colony fellow, a member of New Dramatists, and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts (2022), New York Foundation for the Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, as well as the Yale Drama Series Award. Jen also writes for TV and film.

    Julia May Jonas's first novel  Vladimir was named an Indie Next Pick, a New York Times Editor's Choice, and People Magazine's Book of the Week. She is a playwright, founder and artistic director of the theater company Nellie Tinder, and teaches theater at Skidmore College. 

  • Geoff Dyer in conversation with Lucas Mann

    May 9, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with author Geoff Dyer and translator Lucas Mann to celebrate the release of Dyer's new book The Last Days of Roger Federer 

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Geoff Dyer is the author of Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi and three previous novels, as well as nine non-fiction books. He currently lives in Los Angeles where he is Writer in Residence at the University of Southern California.

    Lucas Mann was born in New York City and received his MFA from the University of Iowa, where he was the Provost’s Visiting Writer in Nonfiction. He is the author of Class A, Lord Fear, and Captive Audience. He teaches creative writing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

  • Michelle Herman in conversation with Joshua Jay

    May 6, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation wtih Michelle Herman to celebrate the release of her book Close-UpShe will be joined in conversation by author and magician Joshua Jay.

    "In her captivating new novel Close-Up, Michelle Herman unfolds a complex family history in which abandonment has caused painful estrangements and unexpected alliances. With subtle wit and unshakeable confidence, Herman demonstrates the alternating forms a family can take: a refuge, a prison, a solace, one at a time or all at once, and right before your eyes. Close-Up is a magic act of a novel, and not just because its main character is a magician."
    ––Valerie Martin, author of Property and I Give It To You

    MICHELLE HERMAN is the author of the novels Missing, Dog, and Devotion and the collection of novellas A New and Glorious Life, as well as three essay collections--The Middle of Everything, Stories We Tell Ourselves, and Like A Song--and a book for children, A Girl's Guide to Life. She writes a popular parenting column for Slate and has taught creative writing for many years at Ohio State. She lives in Columbus, Ohio.

    JOSHUA JAY has performed on stages in more than 100 countries. He is a headliner at Hollywood's Magic Castle and a former World Champion in Sleight-of-Hand. He is the author of MAGIC: The Complete Course and, for children, Big Magic for Little Hands. He consulted on illusions for Game of Thrones and helped the US Postal Service with their "Art of Magic" postage stamps. Joshua has performed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with James Corden, and he fooled Penn & Teller on their hit show, Fool Us, and he starred in his own off-Broadway magic show, Six Impossible Things.

  • Sanjena Sathian in conversation with Susan Golomb

    May 4, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Sanjena Sathian to celebrate the paperback release of her novel Gold Diggers. She will be joined in conversation by her agent Susan Golomb.

    Anita Felicelli, The Los Angeles Review of Books, says of Gold Diggers, "Sathian’s satire is pitch perfect . . . savagely funny. The comedic grotesque register gives way, at times, to an authentic and heartrending melancholia . . . [M]agnificent—canny and moving and just plain fun . . . Sathian’s movement toward fantasy in the story’s second half is a wise, satisfying turn. Her prose lifts off: there’s a delight she takes in writing humorously about magic that shows off the scope of her immense talent . . . [a] firm critique of secondhand striving and cutthroat ambition.”

    Sanjena Sathian is the author of GOLD DIGGERS, which was named a Top 10 Best Book of 2021 by the Washington Post, a Best Book of 2021 by NPR and Amazon, and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. It was longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and has been nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award. She is working on the TV adaptation with Mindy Kaling’s production company, Kaling International. Her short fiction appears or is forthcoming in The AtlanticConjunctionsBoulevardThe Southern Humanities ReviewSalt Hill Journal, and more, and will be anthologized in The Best American Short Stories 2022. She’s also written nonfiction for The New YorkerThe New York TimesThe Drift, Lithub, and more. She’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Beginning this fall, she will be a Fiction Fellow at Emory University.

    Susan Golomb has been an agent of literary fiction and non-fiction for over 30 years. She founded the Susan Golomb Literary Agency in 1988 with Jonathan Franzen as her first client and joined Writers House in 2015. Her other authors include award winners and bestsellers such as William T. Vollmann, Rachel Kushner, Imbolo Mbue, Noah Hawley, Nell Zink, Glen David Gold, Janelle Brown, Thomas Mullen, Charles Graeber, Harry Dent, Yvon Chouinard, as well as Stephen Markley, Wayetu Moore, Lexi Freiman, Mira T. Lee, Angie Kim and more.

  • MFA in Spanish Creative Writing Departmental Reading

    May 2, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    The University of Iowa's MFA in Spanish Creative Writing presents: MFA Departmental Reading

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Byron Sandoval Marroquín, Mariana Tejeda, and Guadalupe Zavaleta Vega, three graduating students who will share work from their theses in Spanish as well as English translations of their texts. 

    Byron Sandoval Marroquín. Salvadoran writer. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His focus is in the encounter of culture with technology. His fiction work highlights the conversion of the Salvadoran vernacular with the cosmopolitan view of the city.

    Mariana Tejeda. Mexican stage manager born in Ciudad de México. Mariana started her writer career at seventeen at the Writer's School in Mexico City, where she got some of her short stories published in compilations and magazines. Then she chickened out and exiled herself in the Theater. After over a decade hidden backstage, Mariana is finally putting down the headset to come out as a writer (again), and Iowa seems like the perfect location to do so.

    Guadalupe Zavaleta Vega. Mexican writer.  During 2019, she was part of the International Writing Program's Women's Creative Mentorship Project, with Karen Villeda as her mentor for a fiction project. Her work has been published in Mexican magazines such as Este país and Tierra adentro. Her short stories are  inspired by her hometown: Oaxaca.  

  • Mieko Kawakami in conversation with Nadja Spiegelman

    April 30, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Virtual - Zoom

    Prairie Lights along with Left Bank Books (St. Louis, MO), Raven Bookstore (Lawrence, KS), A Room of One's Own (Madison, WI), and Moon Palace Books (Minneapolis, MN) with Europa Editions welcomes Mieko Kawakami for an Independent Bookstore Day virtual event to celebrate the release of All the Lovers in the Night. She will be joined in conversation by editor-in-chief of Astra Magazine, Nadja Spiegelmen.

    You can get tickets for this virtual event, here.

    Katie Kitamura of Entertainment Weekly says of the book,"In the skilled hands of Bett and Boyd, Kawakami's prose is instantly recognizable--immediate, incisive, and unfailingly honest."

    Mieko Kawakami is the author of the internationally best-selling novel Breasts and Eggs, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and one of TIME's Best 10 Books of 2020; and the highly-acclaimed Heaven, her second novel to be translated and published in English, which Oprah Daily described as written "with jagged, visceral beauty." Born in Osaka, Japan, Kawakami made her literary debut as a poet in 2006, and in 2007 published her first novella, My Ego, My Teeth, and the World. Known for their poetic qualities, their insights into the female body, and their preoccupation with ethics and modern society, her books have been translated into over twenty languages. Kawakami's literary awards include the Akutagawa Prize, the Tanizaki Prize, and the Murasaki Shikibu Prize. She lives in Tokyo, Japan.

    Nadja Spiegelman is the Editor-in-Chief of Astra Magazine,the new international magazine of literature. Formerly an editor at The Paris Review, she is also the author of the memoir I'm Supposed to Protect You From All This, as well as three children's books, including Lost in NYC. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Review of Books, and more.

  • Michelle Huneven in conversation with Lan Samantha Chang

    April 28, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and Q/A with Michelle Huneven to celebrate the release of her new novel SearchShe will be joined in conversation by Lan Samantha Chang. 

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Kirkus Reviews says of the book, “Huneven shows her range with a folksy, funny fifth novel on the unlikely subject of how bad decisions happen to good committees . . . engaging and thought-provoking. The voting, the vetting, the drama, the discord, the anti-oppression training—it's all here . . . tender, salty, and worthy of note.”

    Michelle Huneven is the author of four novels: Round RockJameslandBlame, and Off Course. Her books have been New York Times Notable Books and finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is the recipient of a Whiting Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a James Beard Award for feature writing with recipes, and received her master’s in fine arts from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She teaches writing at University of California, Los Angeles.

    Lan Samantha Chang is the award-winning author of the collection Hunger and the novels The Family ChaoInheritance and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. A recent Berlin Prize Fellow, she also has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Chang is the first Asian American and the first female director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Iowa City.