• REBECCA ROMNEY in conversation with COLLEEN THEISEN

    June 21, 2017 - 12:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us for a special in-conversation lunch-hour event!  Rebecca Romney will read from and talk about her new book, Printer’s Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History, with University of Iowa's Special Collections Librarian Colleen Theisen. Print history, like any history, is full of strange people and goings-on. The road paved by our civilization's best books is a long and noble one, but it is also lined with unexpected potholes and sharp turns into what-the-hell-is-going-on-here territory. Among the many other tales told in Printer's Error are the story of the man who coined the term "atlas"--who was also responsible for generations of Europeans believing that "Little People" inhabited the Arctic; the history of the "bad" versions of Shakespeare's plays, including a Hamlet who sounds more like a drunken pirate than a prince; and the fate of William Tyndale, who made the Holy Bible accessible to countless worshippers--and was also burned at the stake for heresy. "If you think printing history sounds fascinating, you’ll love it. If you think print history sounds dull, you’ll also love it. And no matter how much you think you know about books, you’ll find yourself saying, Are you freaking kidding me? I never knew that!” —Charlie Lovett

    Rebecca Romney is a rare book specialist best known for her appearances on the History Channel's Pawn Stars. With over a decade of experience at the highest levels of the antiquarian book trade, she is part of the team at Honey & Wax Booksellers. Learn more at


    June 20, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Sally J. Scott  will read from and talk about Some of Our Yesterdays,  the recently published Civil War memoir written by her great-great grandfather, Charles Seton Lindsay.  Personable and engaging from the very first page,  “Charles Seton Lindsay unfolds the rich details of his enlistment and coming-of-age in the Union Army with rare candor and a flair for storytelling. Whether he’s relating the escapades of his faithful servant Pip or his own test of survival at the Battle of Fair Oaks, Lindsay’s descriptions crackle with insight, wit, and adventure.”--Delia Ray

    Sally Scott is a community development consultant and adjunct professor at the University of Iowa. She is founder and chair of the Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition, and has taught courses on civil society and community development. University of Iowa graduate and future law student Cormac Broeg, who helped edit the manuscript and write the footnotes, will join her for the reading.


    June 19, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Amy Hassinger will read from her novel, After the Dam. “Forces of nature―big water and big love―come together in this unforgettable literary page-turner. Amy Hassinger has woven a tale out of the very earth where the Ojibwe live. Her protagonist―Rachel―is a lover, mother, and activist, a woman of our time on a hero’s journey toward wholeness.” ―Patricia Henley

    Hassinger is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and is the author of two previous novels. She currently teaches in the University of Nebraska's MFA in Writing Program, and  for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.


    June 13, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    IWP Alum Kei Miller will read from his Jamaican novel, Augustown. “(With) Augustown, Jamaican-born, London-based award winner Miller arrives on these shores with trumpet flourishes. Miller uses simple but evocative diction to unfold the tightly focused story of one woman and her community, the poor and dismal Augustown. The novel opens with blind Ma Taffy sensing trouble when great-nephew Kaia arrives home teary-eyed from school and winds back to the origins of the Rastafari. Read on.”—Library Journal            

    Kei Miller was born in Jamaica in 1978. He has published two novels, several collections of poetry and a book of short stories published by Macmillan Caribbean, The Fear of Stones, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book. In 2014, he won the prestigious Forward Prize for Poetry for his collection, The Cartographer Tries to Map a Way to Zion. He teaches Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.


    June 11, 2017 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Local author/illustrator Jennifer Black Reinhardt will read from, show images of, and talk about her delightful new children’s  book, Blue Ethel. "Ethel is old, she is fat, she is black, and she is white. She is also a cat who is very set in her ways . . . until the day she turns blue! Blue Ethel is an adorable story . . . showing readers that being different can be a good thing.” —Margaret Ferguson Books

    Jennifer Black Reinhardt  received a degree in Illustration from Carnegie Mellon University. She has worked in advertising, and has had her artwork featured on calendars, humor books, needlepoint kits, collector plates, and greeting cards. She is the illustrator of several books for children including The Inventor’s Secret; What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford  by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons by Alice B. McGinty, The Adventures of a South Pole Pig written by Chris Kurtz, and Yaks Yak by Linda Sue Park. She lives in Iowa City with her family and a big, white poodle.


    June 8, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf will read from her chilling new page-turner, Not a Sound. "Heather Gudenkauf is one of my favorite new authors, and Not a Sound explains why. You won't be able to put down this breathless story of a young nurse who has lost everything after a tragic accident — her nursing career, her husband, her stepdaughter, and even her hearing . . . Not a Sound is not only a riveting thriller, but it's a moving portrait of a woman who is stronger than she ever believed possible, against all odds."—Lisa Scottoline

    Heather Gudenkauf is an Edgar Award nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. Her books include Missing Pieces, Little Mercies, One Breath Away, Little Lies, These Things Hidden, and The Weight of Silence. She lives in Dubuque.


    June 7, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Amy Thielen will read from Give a Girl a Knife. This foodie memoir traces her journey from Park Rapids, Minnesota, to cooking professionally under some of New York City's finest chefs—including David Bouley, Daniel Boulud, and Jean-Georges Vongerichten—and then back home again. In a rustic Minnesota cabin, Amy takes the skills she learned cooking professionally and uses them to uncover true Midwestern cooking, which begins simply, with humble ingredients such as potatoes and onions. Amy Thielen is the author of the James Beard Award-winning cookbook, The New Midwestern Table, the host of Heartland Table on Food Network, and a contributing editor to Saveur. She lives with her husband, son, dog, and chickens, in rural Park Rapids, Minnesota.


    June 6, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Former wilderness guide and summer park ranger Mark Neuzil will talk about and give a slideshow about his book, Canoes: A Natural History in North America. Co-written with Norman Sims with an introduction by John McPhee, this gorgeous coffee table book is described by The Star Tribune as, “Deep history . . . from the crudest dugouts through the most elegant cedar strips to featherweight polymers of today, with hundreds of color photos and a score of profiles of the people who made and paddled them."
    Mark Neuzil is a professor of communication and journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of seven books and a frequent writer and speaker on environmental themes. Neuzil is an avid outdoorsman who began canoeing in the 1960s with his family, many of whom live in Iowa City. He is a past board member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Friends of the Mississippi River.


    May 25, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Environmental writer and poet Taylor Brorby will read from Coming Alive: Action and Civil Disobedience, and his new book of poetry, Crude, published by Ice Cube Press.  

    In Coming Alive, Taylor Brorby reveals a way to hope during uncertain times. “Taylor Brorby has been as tireless as anyone I know in his fight to protect the planet... This account of his visits to the Bakken oil fields and to Standing Rock, his acts of resistance and subsequent arrest, is a powerful call to action, a primal scream of anguish and love for the original mother we must now link arms to protect.”—Pam Houston

    Taylor Brorby is a fellow at the Black Earth Institute, and travels around the country regularly to speak about hydraulic fracking. He is co-editor of the anthology Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America, and is Reviews Editor at Orion Magazine. His work has appeared in Orion, High Country News, The Huffington Post, and Hawk & Handsaw.

    “In Crude, a stunning poetic debut, Taylor Brorby fights for the environmental landscape of his home in the North Dakota Bakken fields ‘like a pike with a hook in its mouth.’ With a passionate voice, profound courage, and deft imagistic skills, he brings an ‘unrelenting and fierce’ energy to the page in hopes of protecting for all of us a ‘world filled with the necessity of beauty.’”—Mary Swander    


    May 24, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Terry McDermott will talk about Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception.Off Speed is baseball magic. As soon as Terry McDermott set down thirteen deft definitions of pitches, with which I happily began to quibble, then gave me Willie Stargell likening the attempt to hit Sandy Koufax to trying to drink coffee with a fork, I fell into a flow state that held to the last chapter.”—David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K

    Terry McDermott is a former national reporter for the Los Angeles Times and the author of The Hunt for KSM: Inside the Pursuit and Takedown of the Real 9/11 Mastermind, 101 Theory Drive: The Discovery of Memory; and Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers. A native of small town Iowa, McDermott now lives in Southern California.   

    “A lovely memoir of the game as it is played from Iowa sandlots to the Kingdome, along with a fascinating and absorbing history of pitching. A terrific book for both beginners and longtime fans.” —Kevin Baker, author of America the Ingenious