October 14, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Iowa City writer Lori Erickson will read from her memoir, Holy Rover. Over a dozen religious pilgrimages give Erickson the chance to reflect on her Lutheran upbringing, her flirtation with Wicca, and her admiration for Tibetan Buddhism. Along the way, Erickson encounters spiritual leaders who include the chief priest of the Icelandic pagan religion of Asatru, a Trappist monk at Thomas Merton’s Gethsemani Abbey, and a Lakota retreat director at South Dakota’s Bear Butte.

    Lori Erickson grew up on a farm in northeast Iowa and earned a B.A. in English from Luther College and an M.A. in English from the University of Iowa. She has published more than a thousand articles in national and regional publications, including National Geographic Traveler, and Better Homes & Gardens. She’s the mother of two adult sons and lives in Iowa City with her husband.


    October 14, 2017 - 2:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Will Bardenwerper will read from his new book, The Prisoner in His Palace, about the final days of Saddam Hussein’s life. Woven from first-hand accounts provided by many of the American guards, government officials, interrogators, scholars, spies, lawyers, family members, and victims, The Prisoner in His Palace shows two Saddams coexisting in one person: the defiant tyrant who uses torture and murder as tools, and a shrewd but contemplative prisoner who exhibits surprising affection, dignity, and courage in the face of looming death.

    Will Bardenwerper is an American writer specializing in narrative nonfiction. He was an Airborne Ranger qualified infantry officer in the United States Army stationed in Germany and his service included a 13-month deployment to Nineveh and Anbar Provinces, Iraq in 2006-7. Will was awarded a Bronze Star and a Combat Infantryman’s Badge. A graduate of Princeton University, his work has been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Denver Post, Huffington Post, and Task & Purpose.



    October 14, 2017 - 1:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Iowa writer Jon Kerstetter will read from his new memoir, Crossings. In Iraq, as a combat physician and officer, Jon Kerstetter balanced two impossibly conflicting imperatives–to heal and to kill. When he suffered an injury during his third tour, he wound up back home in Iowa, no longer able to be either a doctor or a soldier. Moving from his impoverished upbringing on an Oneida reservation through the madness of Iraq and the struggle afterward to come to terms with a life irrevocably changed, Kerstetter beautifully illuminates war and survival, the fragility of the human body, and the strength of will that lies within.

    Jon Kerstetter received his medical degree from the Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minnesota, and his MFA degree from Ashland University in Ohio. He served as a combat physician and flight surgeon for the U.S. Army and completed three combat tours in Iraq. His writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, River Teeth, and other literary journals.


  • NATHAN ENGLANDER in conversation with CHRIS ADRIAN

    October 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.


    October 14, 2017 - 11:30am

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Donald Ray Pollock will read from his new novel in the gothic tradition of Flannery O’Connor and Cormac McCarthy, The Heavenly Table. It is 1917, in that sliver of border land that divides Georgia from Alabama. Dispossessed farmer Pearl Jewett ekes out a hardscrabble existence with his three young sons. Several hundred miles away in southern Ohio, a farmer by the name of Ellsworth Fiddler lives with his son, Eddie, and his wife, Eula. After Ellsworth is swindled out of his family's entire fortune, his life is put on a surprising, unforgettable, and violent trajectory that will directly lead him to cross paths with the Jewetts. “As much as we’d like to take comfort in the thought that all of this happened far away and a century ago, the fact is that Pollock’s funny, damning novel belongs, more than ever, to the country we live in now.”—New York Times Book Review

    Donald Ray Pollock has lived his entire adult life in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he worked at the Mead Paper Mill as a laborer and truck driver until age 50, when he enrolled in the English program at Ohio State University. While there, Doubleday published his debut short story collection, Knockemstiff, and the New York Times regularly posted his election dispatches from southern Ohio throughout the 2008 campaign. The Devil All the Time, his first novel, was published in 2011. His work has appeared in various literary journals, including Epoch, Sou’wester, Granta, Third Coast, River Styx, The Journal, Boulevard, Tin House, and PEN America.


    October 14, 2017 - 10:00am

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Literary scholar Zachary Turpin, UIowa Professor of English Ed Folsom, and director of the Iowa International Writers’ Program Christopher Merrill, will read from and discuss their work on Walt Whitman. No one laid eyes on it until 2016 when Zachary Turpin followed a paper trail deep into the Library of Congress, where the sole surviving copy of Walt Whitman’s previously unknown novella Jack Engle has lain waiting for generations. Now, after more than 160 years, the University of Iowa Press is honored to reprint this lost work, restoring a missing piece of American literature by one of the world’s greatest authors, written as he verged on immortality.

    Ed Folsom, Whitman Archive co-director, is the Carver Professor of English at The University of Iowa. Since 1983, he has served as Editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review. He co-edited Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essay (2007).

    Christopher Merrill has published six collections of poetry, including Brilliant Water, and Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. His latest book is a collaboration with Ed Folsom about Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself.


  • RAFAEL CAMPO at the Old Capitol Senate Chambers

    October 13, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Old Capitol

    Iowa City Book Festival Event 

    Poet and physician Rafael Campo will read from and discuss his work, including his most recent poetry collection Alternative Medicine, as part of the University of Iowa’s The Examined Life Conference. Of his work, Booklist wrote: “In a style both precise and emotional, playful and earnest, Campo delivers a most extraordinary message: that in writing, in seeing, in remembering, and in being, we embody, simultaneously, the ache as well as the cure.”

    A graduate of Amherst College and Harvard Medical School, Rafael Campo currently teaches and practices general internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, where his medical practice serves mostly Latinos, gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender people, and people with HIV infection. He is also on the faculty of the Lesley University Creative Writing MFA program. He is the author of Alternative Medicine, The Other Man Was Me, which won the 1993 National Poetry Series Award, What the Body Told, which won a Lambda Literary Award for Poetry, and The Desire to Heal, a collection of essays which also won a Lambda Literary Award. His work has appeared on NPR and in many major anthologies.

  • ALEXANDER CHEE in conversation with GARTH GREENWELL

    October 12, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Coralville Public Library

    Iowa City Book Festival

    Alexander Chee will receive the Paul Engle Prize, presented by the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature organization, during a special ceremony which will include remarks by Chee and a conversation between Chee and Iowa City novelist Garth Greenwell. The prize, established in 2011, honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing, or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts.

    Alexander Chee is the author of the novels Edinburgh and The Queen of the Night. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic, and an editor at large at VQR. His essays and stories have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Tin House, Slate, Guernica, NPR and Out, among others. He is winner of a 2003 Whiting Award, a 2004 NEA Fellowship in prose and a 2010 MCCA Fellowship, and residency fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the VCCA, Civitella Ranieri and Amtrak. He has taught writing at Wesleyan University, Amherst College, the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Columbia University, Sarah Lawrence College and the University of Texas – Austin. He lives in New York City, where he curates the Dear Reader series at Ace Hotel New York.

    Garth Greenwell is the author of What Belongs to You, which won the British Book Award for Debut of the Year, was longlisted for the National Book Award, and was a finalist for six other awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Los Angeles 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 is being translated into a dozen languages. His short fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, A Public Space, and VICE, and he has written criticism for The New Yorker, the London Review of Books, and the New York Times Book Review, among others. He lives in Iowa City.

  • wellRED: From Dixie With Love

    October 11, 2017 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Tickets available through The Englert Theater. 
    Englert Theater Box Office

    Stand-up comedy and writing partners Trae Crowder (The Liberal Redneck), Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester, will talk about their best-selling book, Liberal Redneck Manifesto: Draggin’ Dixie Outta the Dark. This year’s tour, “wellRED: From Dixie With Love​,” is about celebrating everything great about the South and telling stories from a place of love. It’s about dancing to country music at a gay wedding. It’s about loving your neighbor whether you have the same religion, skin color, or sexual preference, as long as they cheer for the same college football team (Go Vols!).  It is about leaving behind bigotry, but remembering the fried okra.

    Trae Crowder grew up in rural Tennessee and has been writing and performing comedy for six years while also working for the federal government. He was the first person in his family to graduate from college and earn an MBA. After his “Liberal Redneck” videos went viral, he appeared on a number of television and radio shows. He lives in East Tennessee with his wife and two young sons.

    Corey Ryan Forrester has been writing and performing stand-up comedy since he was sixteen and hails from North Georgia. He helped his mother and sister run their family bakery in his hometown of Chickamauga while hawking jokes at night in dingy bars and has an affinity for Southern wit and storytelling.

    Drew Morgan is a stand-up comedian, writer, and husband from rural East Tennessee. He draws on his experiences as a small-town son of a preacher man and former public defender to weave together stories with jokes and observations on culture, religion, and identity. He splits time between New York City and Knoxville, Tennessee, with his wife Andi and dog Mick Jagger Pup. 

    Prairie Lights will have books for sale at the event. 



  • Holy Cow! Press Anniversary Reading

    October 11, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City Book Festival Event

    Celebrating 40 years of the Duluth-by-way-of-Iowa City independent press, featuring founder and publisher Jim Perlman, and authors Dan Campion, Crystal Spring Gibbins, and Gary Boelhower. 

    Dan Campion is the author of Peter De Vries and Surrealism (Bucknell University Press), coeditor of Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song (Holy Cow! Press), and a contributor of poetry to many magazines, including Light, Measure, The Midwest Quarterly, The North American Review, Poetry, Rolling Stone, and Shenandoah.

    Crystal Spring Gibbins grew up on Lake of the Woods, Minnesota/Ontario. She is the editor of Split Rock Review and the recipient of fellowships from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She lives on the south shore of Lake Superior.

    Gary Boelhower is the author of Marrow, Muscle, Flight: Poems, which won the Midwest Book Award for poetry.