• NATHAN ENGLANDER in conversation with CHRIS ADRIAN

    September 14, 2017 - 1:00pm

    Iowa City Public Library

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Nathan Englander will read from and discuss his latest novel, Dinner at the Center of the Earth, and will be joined in conversation by fellow Workshop graduate and novelist Chris Adrian. Of Dinner at the Center of the Earth, Booklist wrote: “Equal parts political thriller and tender lamentation, the latest from Englander explores, in swirling, nonlinear fashion, Israeli-Palestinian tensions and moral conflicts . . . Ultimately, Englander suggests that shared humanity and fleeting moments of kindness between jailer and prisoner, spy and counterspy, hold the potential for hope, even peace.”

    Nathan Englander is the author of the story collections What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank and For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, as well as the novel The Ministry of Special Cases. He was the 2012 recipient of the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award and a finalist for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for What We Talk About. In 2012, Englander's play The Twenty-Seventh Man premiered at The Public Theater, and his translation New American Haggadah (edited by Jonathan Safran Foer) was published by Little Brown. He also co-translated Etgar Keret's Suddenly A Knock at the Door published by FSG. He lives in Brooklyn, New York and Madison, Wisconsin.

    Chris Adrian was born in Washington, D.C. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he received his MD from East Virginia Medical School. He is the author of the novels The New World with Eli Horowitz, The Great Night, and The Children’s Hospital. His fiction has also appeared in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and Ploughshares.


    September 13, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author Lori Erickson will talk about her new book, Holy Rover: Journeys in Search of Mystery, Miracles, and God. "With grace and wit, Lori Erickson takes us on a pilgrimage to sacred sites around the world. In each location, Erickson reveals a bit more of her own spiritual journey, of her own exploration of the deeper mystical meanings that underlie all faiths. Through her own quest, she becomes a healer and a wise woman, and she invites us to follow her visionary path." —Mary Swander

    Travel writer, Episcopal deacon, and blogger, Erickson is one of the country's top travel writers specializing in spiritual journeys. She has published more than one thousand articles in publications including National Geographic Traveler, Woman's Day, Family Circle, Better Homes & Gardens, and House Beautiful.

    A reception will be held in the café following the event.


    September 12, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author Susan Futrell will talk about her new book from U of I Press, Good Apples: Behind Every Bite.  

    "Join Susan Futrell's journey from New England to Iowa to Washington to meet the growers working to produce perfect apples with exactly the crunch and flavor people want. This is a story of the uncertainties of a changing climate, a dance of managing pests and weather and second-guessing a global, unforgiving apple market to make a living and hold onto the land. Susan Futrell issues a gentle call to action to embrace the dazzling complexity of farming with all of our compassion and intelligence." —Glenda Yoder, Farm Aid

    Susan Futrell has worked in marketing and food distribution for over thirty-five years. She currently works for the nonprofit Red Tomato.


    September 10, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Kristian Sendon Cordero (poet, fiction writer, essayist, translator, filmmaker; Philippines) writes in Filipino, Bikol and Rinconada, and has translated Borges, Kafka, Wilde and Rilke to these languages. Two of his most recent poetry collections received the 2014 National Book Awards; his debut collection of poetry in his three respective languages won the Madrigal-Gonzales Best First Book Award in 2006. He is the deputy director of the Ateneo de Naga University Press. His participation is courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

    Julienne van Loon (novelist, essayist; Australia) is a research fellow at non/fictionLab of RMIT University in Melbourne. She won the Australian/Vogel’s Award and in 2005 was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize First Book Award for Road Story. Her work, including the recent novel Harmless, has strong creative and cultural connection to Asia, particularly China. Her forthcoming collection The Thinking Woman includes interviews with leading women from across the globe. Her participation is made possible by the Paul and Hualing Engle Fund. 

    Cynthia Smart (Buenos Aires, Argentina) writes short fiction, poetry and plays. She is an MFA candidate in the Spanish Creative Writing program at the University of Iowa.



    September 9, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special event sponsored by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights, Daniel Karpowitz will talk about his book, College in Prison: Reading in an Age of Mass Incarceration. This book tells the story of the Bard Prison Initiative—a unique example of academic excellence achieved inside high-security prisons across New York State. The rigor of how students learn, and the careers they go on to pursue once released, force us to rethink our beliefs about who is in prison, reimagine the way forward out of mass incarceration, and renew our faith in the relevance of liberal learning.

    Daniel Karpowitz is the director of policy and academics for the Bard Prison Initiative and lecturer in law and the humanities at Bard College and is the co-founder of the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison. He is in Iowa City as part of The Role of Transformative Education in Successful Reentry Conference. His guidance is helping to shape the UI's efforts in providing access to higher education in Iowa's prisons. More information about the conference can be found here (all events are free and open to the public):

    He will participate in an event prior to this one, on September 7th in the Voxman Music Building Recital Hall: Screening of Shakespeare Behind Bars Documentary Film with Q&A talkback with Curt Tofteland, founder of SBB.


    September 8, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Frank Meeink, in a special event introduced by Paul Ingram, will read from a new updated edition of Autobiography of a Recovering Skinhead, a raw telling of his descent into America’s Nazi underground and his ultimate triumph over drugs and hatred. A violent childhood in South Philadelphia primed him to hate. By age 16 he had become one of the most notorious skinhead gang leaders on the East Coast and by 18 was doing hard time. The story of Meeink’s downfall and redemption has the power to open hearts and change lives. The new edition, updated following the 2016 election, includes a preface by the author, nine new additional chapters, and a comprehensive resource guide. 

    "Frank Meeink’s book is a candid and captivating story of upbeat transformation of a raw racist into a courageous citizen which has much to teach all of us. Don’t miss it!" —Cornel West


    September 7, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City native Camille Dungy will read from and talk about her two latest books, Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History, and Trophic Cascade, which is a collection of her poems about birth, death, and ecosystems of nature and power.   

    As a working mother whose livelihood as a poet-lecturer depended on travel, Dungy crisscrossed America with her infant, then toddler, intensely aware of how they are seen, not just as mother and child, but as black women. Across the nation, she finds fear and trauma, and also mercy, kindness, and community.

    Dungy is the award winning author of numerous books and is currently a Professor in the English Department at Colorado State University.     

    “Calm, lucid, and sturdy, Dungy's account stares down the effects and unevenly distributed burdens of our shared past and present with clear eyes, full heart, and the kind of dedication to fact, feeling, and history that we truly need now, as ever.” —Maggie Nelson



    September 6, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Robert Madrygin will read from his gripping new novel, The Solace of Trees. This harrowing tale is of an eleven year old Muslim boy in Bosnia who witnesses his family’s murder during their civil war and flees alone through the Bosnian forest. After eventually finding safety at a UN camp, he emigrates to America. The Solace of Trees is his coming of age story as he finds a new family and makes a life in America, until September 11th, 2001. . . 

    "If this book doesn't dispel the myth of American exceptionalism, nothing will." — L. E. Randolph

    Robert Madrygin had a multicultural childhood. His father’s law career with the military brought the family to US-occupied Japan, both coasts of the United States, Morocco, Franco-ruled Spain, and Paris. He had a difficult life and was on his own at a young age. He worked in Spain as a laborer, in Italy as a deckhand on a ship, and in Alaska on a railroad and as a crew member on a fishing boat. He has since lived in the US, Ecuador, and Spain and traveled widely. He currently lives in Vermont.



    September 5, 2017 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    Ticketed Event -- SOLD OUT 

    Prairie Lights presents  Bruce Campbell at the Englert Theatre for his Hail To The Chin book tour. Bruce Campbell will read from and talk about his new book, Hail to the Chin: Further Confessions of a B Movie Actor. The reading will be followed by a Q&A and signing. Ticket holders will receive a copy of Hail to the Chin at the event, and will have the opportunity to have it signed by Campbell. He is willing to sign one additional item of memorabilia per person.


    September 3, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Maung Day (poet, artist, translator; Myanmar) has published six poetry books in Burmese and one in English. His poetry has appeared in International Poetry Review, Guernica, The Wolf, The Awl and elsewhere. He translates widely between English and Burmese; his visual work and poetry are exhibited and curated internationally. He participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.

    Panashe Chigumadzi (novelist, essayist; South Africa/Zimbabwe) is the author of the novel Sweet Medicine, which won the 2016 K. Sello Duiker Literary Award; a short story, “Small Deaths,” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Literary Prize. She is the founding editor of Vanguard Magazine, a platform for black women in post-apartheid South Africa. In 2016, she curated Soweto’s Abantu Book Festival for black readers and writers in the country’s largest township. She participates courtesy of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. 9-3:

    Derick Mattern is an MFA candidate in Literary Translation at the University of Iowa, where he is an Iowa Arts Fellow. His translations of Turkish poet Haydar Ergülen have appeared in Asymptote, Copper Nickel, Gulf Coast, Modern Poetry in Translation, and elsewhere.