February 5, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers' Workshop Graduate Tola Rotimi Abraham will read from her “fresh and fierce debut,” Black Sunday. “...Tola Rotimi Abraham proves that it's an act of indelible resistance every time a young woman tells her story. Through the eyes of a family at its brink, Abraham reveals the truth about violence, tenderness, and the disquiet in between. Black Sunday is a surprising switchblade of a novel." --Amy Jo Burns

    Tola Rotimi Abraham is from Lagos, Nigeria. She lives in Iowa City and is currently pursuing a graduate degree in journalism. A 2017 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she has taught writing at the University of Iowa, and her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Catapult, The Des Moines Register, and The Nigerian Literary Magazine.


    February 2, 2020 - 1:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Ronnie Cummins will read from and talk about Grassroots Rising: A Call to Action on Climate, Farming, Food, and a Green New Deal. This book offers a blueprint for building and supercharging a grassroots Regeneration Movement based on consumer activism, farmer innovation, political change, and regenerative finance. Using regenerative agriculture practices that restore our agricultural and grazing lands, we can sequester massive amounts of carbon in the soil. Coupled with an aggressive transition toward renewables, he argues that we have the power to not only mitigate and slow down climate change, but actually reverse global warming.

    Ronnie Cummins is founder and director of the Organic Consumers Association (OCA), and also serves on the steering committee of Regeneration International and OCA's Mexican affiliate, Vía Orgánica.

    "Regenerative agriculture is going to be a key phrase in the decades ahead--and this book will get you in on the ground floor, so to speak. Not much could be more important!"--Bill McKibben


  • GIUSEPPE CAPUTO in conversation with GARTH GREENWELL

    February 1, 2020 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Giuseppe Caputo will read from his novel, An Orphan World, translated from the Spanish by Juana Adcock & Sophie Hughes. An Orphan World earned Caputo a place as part of the 2017 Hay Festival’s Bogotá 39 list of best Latin American writers under 40.  “There is an unquenchable fury burning at the heart of An Orphan World.  Caputo writes with his pen on fire; furious at the threatening beast of a world that young gay men are thrust into, with the bright and overexposed lights of community on one side and the unknowable, quiet, lonely darkness of isolation on the other.”- Will Heath

    Caputo is a graduate of the Spanish Creative Writing MFA program at the University of Iowa, where he also he specialized in queer and gender studies, and also has an MFA in creative writing from New York University.  Caputo is also the author of several books of poems including Garden of Meat, The Cage Man and Jesus’ Nativities. After serving as Cultural Director of the Bogotá International Book Festival for many years, Caputo is a contributor to Arcadia magazine and El Tiempo newspaper and now teaches creative writing at the Instituto Caro Cuervo in Bogotá.

    Garth Greenwell is the author of What Belongs to You, and Cleanness, and is teaching this semester at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.


    January 31, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Poets Amanda Auerbach and Matt McBride will read from their work.

    Writers’ Workshop MFA in Poetry candidate Amanda Auerbach will read from What Need Have We for Such as We, published by C&R Press.  “Amanda Auerbach is a keener psalmist than any writing now. These poems do not simply transpire; they emerge, both leading and being led towards a more perfect light. We are reproved and then restored. What Need Have We for Such as We resounds with crucial, beautiful virtue.” –Donald Revell

    Amanda Auerbach received her PhD in English literature from Harvard University in 2018. She currently teaches at the University of Iowa.  Her poems have appeared in the Paris Review, Kenyon Review, Fence, Boston Review, Conjunctions, Harvard Review Online, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Poetry Northwest, and Thrush Poetry Journal. 

    Matt McBride will read from City of Incandescent Light.  “McBride takes on technology, militarism, love, nostalgia, divorce, the ubiquity of advertising, the institution of the presidency, and the ever-expanding surveillance state. This is a deeply sad and strangely fun and totally shining book that has given me, among other things, the best slogan I've heard yet for the current moment: 'no flag is small enough.'"—Natalie Shapero 

    Matt McBride's poetry has appeared in Another Chicago Magazine, Cream City Review, Diagram, FENCE, Forklift, The Mississippi Review, Ninth Letter, Typo, and PANK amongst others. He is the recipient of a Devine Poetry Fellowship, an Elliston Poetry Fellowship, and an Ohio Council for the Arts Grant. He holds an MFA from Bowling Green State and a PhD in English and Comparative Lit from the University of Cincinnati. A former lecturer of Rhetoric at the University of Iowa, he is currently an Instructor of English at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.


    January 30, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program’s Bedell Distinguished Visiting Professor for Spring Semester Hanif Abdurraqib will read from and talk about his work. Abdurraqib is a multi-genre author whose most recent books include his acclaimed essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, his New York Times bestselling biography of A Tribe Called Quest Go Ahead in the Rain, and his second poetry collection, A Fortune For Your Disaster. “When an author’s unmitigated brilliance shows up on every page, it’s tempting to skip a description and just say, Read this! Such is the case with this breathlessly powerful, deceptively breezy book of poetry.” —Booklist, Starred Review

    Abdurraqib’s first poetry collection, The Crown Ain't Worth Much, was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us was named a best book of 2017 by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, and Pitchfork, among others. Abdurraqib lives in Columbus, Ohio. This special event has been sponsored by the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program.



    January 28, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event co-sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Society’s Secular Humanist Group  and the Secular Students at Iowa, Andrew Seidel will read from and talk about The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism is Un-American. 

    In today’s contentious political climate, understanding religion’s role in American government is more important than ever. Christian nationalists assert that the United States was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, and advocate an agenda based on this popular historical claim. But is this belief true? The Founding Myth answers the question once and for all. Seidel builds his case point by point, comparing the Ten Commandments to the Constitution and contrasting biblical doctrine with America’s founding philosophy, showing that the Bible contradicts the Declaration of Independence’s central tenets. Religion, law, and history collide in this provocative conversation. 

    Seidel works as a constitutional attorney at the Freedom from Religion Foundation (, litigating cases involving religion and the Constitution. He has appeared on Fox and Friends, MSNBC, and The O'Reilly Factor; numerous radio shows; and has been profiled on BBC News, BuzzFeed, International Business Times. He lives in Madison, WI.



    January 27, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Garth Greenwell will read from and discuss his second book of fiction, Cleanness, which is a January Indie Next Selection and has been named a most anticipated book of 2020 by the New York Times, Esquire, the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and Oprah Magazine, among others. His first novel, What Belongs to You, was longlisted for the National Book Award and was a finalist for six other awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the LA Times Book Prize. A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice, it was named a best book of 2016 by over fifty publications in nine countries, and has been translated into a dozen languages. Greenwell lives in Iowa City, and is currently teaching at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

    Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is the author of House of Stone.  Winner of the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize, she is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is a fiction editor at the Bare Life Review, a journal of refugee and immigrant literature based in San Francisco. She is currently teaching at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

    In 2020, FSG invites you to celebrate the power of the imagination and the writers who give us reasons to read: for solace, for protection, for instruction, for survival, for music. Dare to Imagine events bring together writers and readers to share the transformative possibilities of literature. Cleanness was selected as part of this campaign, and a reception sponsored by FSG will follow the event.

    "I don't know how Garth Greenwell writes such delicate, profane fiction. These stories are grace and salt, tenderness and shadow. Reading this book made me want to sit with my emotions and desires; it made me want to be a better writer." --Carmen Maria Machado

    "This could only be the work of a master." --Alexander Chee


    January 26, 2020 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Native Iowan Chris Liddell-Westefeld will read from his new book, They Said This Day Would Never Come: Chasing the Dream on Obama's Improbable Campaign.  Liddell-Westefeld joined the Obama for America campaign in 2007 and went on to spend five years on the Obama White House staff. Since 2014, Liddell-Westefeld has documented the story of the Obama presidency through oral history interviews. He remains active in political campaigns and currently works as an oral historian in Washington D.C.

    "The Obama campaign of 2007-2008 in Iowa was a wondrous story, authored by a corps of young activists and people hungry for change. In They Said This Day Would Never Come, Chris Liddell-Westefeld brilliantly captures the spirit of that effort."-- David Axelrod


    January 24, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Kiley Reid will read from and talk about her new novel, Such a Fun Age.  This debut novel dives head first into matters of race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both. Generating extraordinary pre-publication excitement, film and TV rights have already been acquired, and the book has received praise from writers such as Chloe Benjamin and Paul Harding. 

    Such a Fun Age was selected as Reese Witherspoon’s book club pick for January!  Kiley Reid’s short stories have been featured and are forthcoming in Ploughshares, December, New South, and Lumina, where her short story was the first-place winner in the 2017 Flash Prose Contest.   She lives in Philadelphia.


    January 23, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Washington Iowa native Steven Moore will read from The Longer We Were There: A Memoir of a Part-Time Soldier.  Winner of the 2018 AWP Prize for Creative Nonfiction, The Longer We Were There tells the story of the author’s seven years of service as an infantryman in the Iowa Army National Guard, from enlisting at seventeen, to training during college, to deploying on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.  Steven Moore earned a BA in English from the University of Iowa and an MFA in creative nonfiction from Oregon State University. His nonfiction has appeared in Kenyon Review online; The Georgia Review, Ninth Letter, and North American Review. He is a contributing editor at Moss: A Journal of the Pacific Northwest and currently resides in Corvallis, Oregon.