May 19, 2018 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    New York Times Bestselling author Tara Westover will read from and talk about her memoir, Educated, one of The New York Times Book Review’s Must-Know Literary Events of 2018. Born into an off-the grid survivalist family on a mountain in Idaho, Westover grew up stewing herbs, assisting her midwife mother, and working in her father’s metal scrapyard. Her deeply religious (and likely bipolar) father distrusted government brainwashing and the medical establishment, so all  family health problems like gashes and concussions, births, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home by Tara’s mother. After learning reading, writing, and selective bits of history from her parents, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to take the ACT, and she was admitted to Brigham Young University, where she stepped into a classroom for the first time in her life. Westover’s quest for knowledge transformed her, and she pursued learning for a decade. After graduating magna cum laude from Brigham Young University and subsequently winning a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, she earned an MPhil from Trinity College, Cambridge and in 2010 was a visiting fellow at Harvard University. She returned to Cambridge, where she was awarded a PhD in history in 2014. She currently lives in London, and Educated is her first book. This will be an in-conversation event with Prairie Lights Events Coordinator and Host, Kathleen Johnson.

    “Breathtaking, heart-wrenching, inspirational—I’ve never read anything like this. Educated is one of the best books, and Westover one of the most gifted writers, that I’ve read in a very long time.”—Amy Chua

  • ADRIAN TODD ZUNIGA in conversation with BRANDON TAYLOR

    May 17, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Literary Death Match creator and host Adrian Todd Zuniga will read from his new book Collision Theory. Collision Theory is a hard book to categorize―part ghost story, part slacker comedy, part grief chronicle―but an easy one to enjoy. Adrian Todd Zuniga’s first novel is creepy, funny, and full of dark surprises.” ―Tom Perrotta

    Adrian Todd Zuniga hosts LDM Book Report on YouTube, and is the co-writer of Madden NFL 18’s interactive movie Longshot. An award-winning journalist, he now focuses on fiction and screenwriting. He lives between London and Los Angeles.

    Brandon Taylor is the associate editor of Electric Literature's Recommended Reading and a staff writer at Literary Hub. His writing has received fellowships from Lambda Literary, Kimbilio Fiction, and the Tin House Summer Writers’ workshop. He currently lives in Iowa City, where he is a student at the Iowa Writers' Workshop in fiction. His debut novel is forthcoming from Riverhead Books. 


    May 16, 2018 - 7:00pm

    IC Public Library, Rm. E

    Our May book club title will be Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. 

    "The Maltese Falcon is probably the BEST DETECTIVE story we have ever read, it is an exceedingly well written novel." —Times Literary Supplement


    May 15, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Lucy Jane Bledsoe will read from her new novel, The Evolution of Love. "Lucy Jane Bledsoe’s The Evolution of Love offers a terrifyingly detailed and believable vision of life in the Bay Area after a devastating earthquake . . . The Evolution of Love is the book we all need these days: a post-disaster page-turner that’s also a blueprint for how we might live right now." ―Naomi J. Williams

    Lucy Jane Bledsoe is the author of five previous novels, including A Thin Bright Line. Her fiction has won a Pushcart nomination, a Yaddo Fellowship, two National Science Foundation Artists & Writers Fellowships, and she’s been a six-time Lambda Literary Award finalist. She lives in California.


    May 10, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author Scott Samuelson will read from his new book from University of Chicago Press, Seven Ways of Looking at Pointless Suffering: What Philosophy Can Tell Us about the Hardest Mystery of All.  "You can keep your gratitude journals, but make no mistake about it: this world is a vale of tears, a world of seemingly senseless suffering. How we understand and relate ourselves to this suffering will shape our lives both morally and otherwise...Rife with engaging personal stories, Samuelson's meditation is both intellectually substantive and uplifting."—Gordon Marino

    Scott Samuelson lives in Iowa City, where he teaches philosophy at Kirkwood Community College. In 2015, after publishing his first book The Deepest Human Life, he won the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, “an annual award aimed at identifying candidates who are in the early stages of careers devoted to the humanities and whose work shows extraordinary promise and has a significant public component related to contemporary culture.”  Samuelson also writes movie reviews for Little Village and hosts Ethical Perspectives on the News, a Sunday-morning talk show on KCRG, the local ABC affiliate.


    May 7, 2018 - 6:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Prairie Lights and Director of the Undergraduate Nonfiction Writing Program Bonnie Sunstein will celebrate the work of undergraduate students who have studied with MFA Nonfiction faculty. The undergraduate writers will read excerpts from essays they have written this semester.



    May 5, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Prairie Lights and the Frank N. Magid Center for Undergraduate Writing are pleased to present a reading to celebrate the launch of INK LIT MAG No. 14! Created by and for students, INK LIT MAG is an undergraduate literary review at the University of Iowa, dedicated to showcasing the work of first-year students and alumni of the Iowa Writer's Living Learning Community. Daniel Khalastchi, Director of the Magid Center, will introduce the event—please join us to hear the first public reading from the next generation of stunning young writers. A celebratory reception will be held in the Prairie Lights café immediately following the reading.


    May 4, 2018 - 5:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Lectura de escritores Iberoamericanos de IWP en colaboración con el MFA de Español.

    Please join us for a reading in Spanish by students in the Spanish Creative Writing MFA Program at the University of Iowa. This event will be entirely in Spanish, followed by a reception in the café. 


    May 3, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Nonfiction Workshop graduate Lucas Mann will read from his new book Captive Audience: On Love & Reality TV. “Running like a passionate ribbon through all of his ferocious questioning—about authenticity, presence, self-awareness and self-possession—is an unapologetic love story, full of the daily performances and unexpected grace of reality itself.” —Leslie Jamison

    Lucas Mann is also the author of Lord Fear: A Memoir and Class A: Baseball in the Middle of Everywhere. His essays have appeared in Guernica, BuzzFeed, Slate, Barrelhouse, TriQuarterly, and The Kenyon Review, among others. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and teaches creative writing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.


    May 3, 2018 - 5:30pm


    Join Iowa City based photographer Barry Phipps at Film Scene Theater for a lecture and slideshow of his new book of Iowa photographs, Between Gravity and What Cheer. When Phipps relocated to Iowa City from Chicago, he knew nothing of Iowa. In these photographs Phipps documents rural communities as they are now, without condescending or overemphasizing the decline of small town America. In addition to their startling attention to color and geometry, Phipps’s photos delight because they suggest an author who isn’t on intimate terms with his subject matter, but very much wants to be.

    Barry Phipps is an Iowa City-based multimedia artist and professional photographer. He is the founder of an apparel company, a recording studio, and a record label. His latest album The Town was released on his own Tight Ship Records label.