• Betsy Peterson The Orphans and the Oak Book Signing

    Special Children’s Book Illustrator Signing with Betsy Peterson

    December 15, 2019 - 1:00pm

    Prairie Lights Kids Department

    Stop in to the Prairie Lights Children's Department on Sunday afternoon between 1:00pm and 3:00pm and meet Perry, Iowa artist Betsy Peterson, who will be happy to sign a copy of the new book she illustrated, The Orphans and the Oakby Katie Mable.  The Orphans and the Oak is a whimsical story of an aspiring acorn which presents a common desire, even in the very young, to find triumph despite pain.  Discover happiness through giving, joy while grieving, and the value of being yourself. 

    Betsy Peterson is the owner of the art gallery Betsy Peterson Designs in Perry, Iowa.

  • Writers Gone Public

    December 9, 2019 - 6:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program Undergraduate writing students in creative nonfiction classes will read from their works.

    This reading is sponsored by The Nonfiction Writing Program and is open to the public.





    December 6, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program presents M. Randal O’Wain, who will read from Meander Belt. "A tour de force of white working-class identity married to a writer's imaginative hunger for words. What makes this book remarkable is the narrator's steely tension between his innate desire for unknown worlds and the pullback to the roughed up Wild West of Memphis, where a hardworking but wounded father has planted the seeds of loyalty."--Patricia Foster

    O'Wain earned his MFA from Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. He is the author of the short story collection Hallelujah Station and has been published in Oxford American, Hotel Amerika, Crazyhorse, and Guernica. He teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and serves as a NEA Writing Fellow at the Beckley Federal Correctional Institution. A reception in the cafe sponsored by the NWP will follow.


    December 5, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City native Colin Hamilton will read from his elegantly woven narrative of life and literature,  The Thirteenth Month.  “The Thirteenth Month is a multiverse of mirrors and infinite texts spanning the inevitable labyrinth that exists between a young man’s books and his reality. It belongs in the company of Borges, Pessoa and Schulz, the very writers Hamilton admires, all the while cleverly disguised as an Iowan’s bildungsroman.”  —Elizabeth McKenzie

    Colin Hamilton grew up in Iowa City and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in Poetry. Hamilton published a chapbook as well as poetry and essays in various journals, and then built a career in public affairs, helping to develop the Minneapolis Central Library, the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, and affordable housing projects for low income artists in New York, New Orleans,  and Honolulu. He lives in St. Paul and works for Public Radio International. 

    Please join us after the event for a reception in the cafe, hosted by David Hamilton and Rebecca Clouse.


    November 24, 2019 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Des Moines authors Wini Moranville and Sharelle Byars Moranville will talk about their newly published books, The Little Women Cookbook: Tempting Recipes from the March Sisters and Their Friends and Family, and Surprise Lily, which is written for middle-grade readers and is about growing up as a farm kid, and the relationships between sisters, mother, daughters and secrets. 

    Wini Moranville is a food and wine writer/editor who has worked on numerous cookbooks under the Better Homes and Gardens imprint. Since 1997, she has also written over 500 restaurant reviews for The Des Moines Register. She currently writes a monthly wine column for Relish, is a member of the James Beard Foundation, and has served as a Restaurant Awards panelist there since 2005.

    Sharelle Byars Moranville is the author of the critically acclaimed middle grade novels Over the River and 27 Magic Words, which received starred reviews in School Library Journal and Kirkus Reviews and was a 2017 Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts. She lives in West Des Moines, Iowa.


    November 22, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    “With wit and a straight-forward passion, Robert Leonard writes of the tough and tender daily lives of the Midwestern working class.  He captures the voices and vicissitudes of the barbers and bartenders, farmers and butchers, factory and maintenance workers who are trying to survive and find their balance within their families and communities in today’s rural landscape. A poetry of the people, Deep Midwest rips off the fancy wrapping paper and gives you a glimpse a reality you may know, but never see captured elsewhere in literature.”–Mary Swander

    Native Iowan Bob Leonard is an anthropologist who has conducted field research all over the world and he has published  dozens of scientific books, papers, and newspaper articles, as well as an unusual ethnography of the taxi cab industry in Albuquerque titled Yellow Cab. He has written for Salon and The Hill, and continues to be an occasional contributor to the New York Times, and the Kansas City Star.  He lives in Knoxville, Iowa.


    November 20, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Iowa City Public Library meeting room D

    Please join Paul’s Book Club to discuss the 2017 Man Booker Shortlisted novel, Elmet by Fiona Mozley.  "Part fairy tale, part coming-of-age story, part revenge tragedy with literary connections, Mozley's first novel is a shape-shifting, lyrical, but dark parable of life off the grid in modern Britain. Mozley's instantaneous success . . . is a response to the stylish intensity of her work, which boldly winds multiple genres into a rich spinning top of a tale." ─Kirkus (starred review)

    Everyone is welcome - just read the book and come to the Iowa City Public Library Meeting Room D and join Paul Ingram to talk about this preternaturally accomplished debut novel.


    November 19, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Martha Birkett Bordwell will read from her memoir, Missing Mothers.  “By framing her memoir around missing mothers, author Martha Bordwell raises the ethical dilemmas and emotional consequences trans-national adoption has on families. Missing Mothers addresses a challenging and necessary subject in accessible and intimate prose, inviting readers on a complex parenting journey. Through compelling considerations of race, grief, and privilege, we uncover a deep empathy for people in families acting to transform loss and the unknown into acceptance, understanding and love.” -Patricia Cumbie

    Martha Bordwell shares her experience of losing her own mother when she was six years old and being raised by her stepmother,  and explores her own ways as an adult of mothering an infant son from South Korea and a daughter from Guatemala. Martha Bordwell, PhD, is a retired psychologist whose academic writing has appeared in professional journals such as Teaching Exceptional Children and Ours Magazine. A former Iowan, she currently lives in Minneapolis.


    November 18, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Man Booker International Prize-winnner, University of Iowa MFA in Translation alum, and National Book Award Finalist Jennifer Croft will read from her new memoir, Homesick.

    “This inventive, stellar memoir examines the tensions between siblings and their separate fates in the most unsettling, unexpected ways. Jennifer Croft's keen attention to the nuances and music of language is abundantly present in every sentence of Homesick.” -Idra Novey

    Jennifer Croft is the award-winning translator of Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights. She is founding editor of The Buenos Aires Review and has published her own work and translations in The New York Times, The LARB, Granta, VICE, n+1, Lit Hub, BOMB, Guernica, The New Republic, and The Guardian. She lives in Buenos Aires and Los Angeles, and is currently a visiting professor at University of Iowa.





    November 17, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Join the Iowa Youth Writing Project for their Fall 2019 end-of-semester student reading, featuring brilliant student writers from Johnson and Linn County K–12 schools. Snacks and camaraderie in the café to follow!