December 6, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa authors Jim and Rick Autry will read from their new book Everyday Virtues: Classic Tales to Read With Kids. Jim and Rick Autry, a father and grandfather team, have collected stories from all over the world centered around six virtues to invite adults and children to read together. “Hearing the voice of a trusted adult read this collection, a child could not help but engage in a dialogue about the heart and what makes us human.” —Vicki Goldsmith

    Jim Autry is the author of thirteen books of poetry and leadership writing. He was one of the poets featured in Bill Moyers’ PBS series The Power of the Word. Autry serves on the national advisory board of Poets & Writers, Inc., and was a founder of the Des Moines National Poetry Festival. He received a lifetime achievement award for service to the humanities from the Iowa Humanities Board. Autry lives in Des Moines with his wife, former lieutenant governor of Iowa Sally Pederson, and their son.

    Rick Autry is the author of Word Origins for Lawyers, published by the American Bar Association. For seventeen years he was an Iowa assistant attorney general representing the Iowa Civil Rights Commission. He is a frequent speaker on employment law at legal seminars.

  • CAConrad

    December 5, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    In a special program co-sponsored by The Iowa Writers’ Workshop, poet CAConrad will read from his new book from Wave Press, While Standing in Line for Death. “At its hilt, this book exposes the little tolerance America has for the queer, the abject, and the mystical forces that Conrad and his poetry call home, and not only does it refuse to apologize, this book reclaims loss, all bruised and defiant experiences, and makes them a testament.”—Arkansas International

    CAConrad is the author of 9 books of poetry and essays, and is also the co-editor of Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners. He is a Pew Fellow and has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts, Banff, RADAR, Flying Object and Ucross.



    December 4, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Library of America Little House series editor Caroline Fraser will read from her new biography, Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Fraser delivers what Booklist calls the “definitive” biography, drawing from unfinished manuscripts, letters, and diaries.

    Caroline Fraser is the author of God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church and Rewilding the World: Dispatches from the Conservation Revolution. Formerly on the editorial staff of The New Yorker, she has written for The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic Monthly, Outside Magazine, and The London Review of Books. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    "Engrossing... Exhilarating...Meticulously tracing the Ingalls and Wilder families' experiences through public records and private documents, Fraser discovers failed farm ventures and constant money problems, as well as natural disasters even more terrifying and devastating in real life than in Wilder's writing. She also helpfully puts Wilder's narrow world into larger historical context." —Publishers Weekly


    December 1, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Alessandra Lynch and Michael Tyrell will read from their poetry. Alessandra Lynch will read from Daylily Called It a Dangerous Moment. Alessandra Lynch is also the author of Sails the Wind Left Behind and It was a terrible cloud at twilight. Her work has appeared in the American Poetry Review, The Massachusetts Review, Ploughshares, and other literary journals. Lynch teaches in Butler University's undergraduate and MFA programs. "Terrible things happen in this book and it's wonderful―such is the redemptive power of poetry this exquisite."―Dean Young         

    Michael Tyrell will read from Phantom Laundry, published by Backlash Press. Tyrell is also the author of The Wanted, and his poems have appeared in Agni, The Best American Poetry 2015, The New England Review, The New Republic, The New York Times, Paris Review, Ploughshares, and The Yale Review. With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn. He lives in New York and teaches writing at NYU. “Tyrell appears poised to stake his claim as a serious and original voice that writes from the heart of America’s techno-anxiety. His debut is peppered with lines and poems that are both hair-raising and irreducible.”-– Publishers Weekly


    November 29, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program faculty Jeff Porter will read from Lost Sound: The Forgotten Art of Radio Storytelling. Concentrating on the 1930s through the 1970s, but also speaking to the rising popularity of today's narrative broadcasts such as This American Life, Radiolab, Serial, and The Organicist, Porter's close readings of key radio programs show how writers adapted literary techniques to an acoustic medium with great effect.

    Porter is the author of Oppenheimer Is Watching Me, and his essays and sound works have appeared in numerous journals such as Antioch Review, Isotope, Seneca Review, and Wilson Quarterly. He is an Associate Professor in English specializing in contemporary literature, creative nonfiction, comparative media, and sound- and film-making.  This event is sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program.



    November 28, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduates Lauren Haldeman and Nick Twemlow will read from their new books of poetry, Instead of Dying and Attributed to the Harrow Painter. Haldeman’s Instead of Dying won the 2017 Colorado Prize for Poetry, and Susan Howe wrote: “Lauren Haldeman’s writing opens us toward the work of mourning. Did I say work? Rather call it song.” Twemlow’s Attributed to the Harrow Painter is “an ars poetica as well as a deconstruction of Twemlow’s own awestruck meditations on fatherhood . . . a refreshingly self-aware variation on the innovations of contemporary poetry.” — Publishers Weekly

    Lauren Haldeman is also the author of the poetry collection Calenday and chapbook The Eccentricity Is Zero. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, Fence, The Iowa Review, and The Rumpus. A comic book artist, illustrator, and poet, she has taught in the United States as well as internationally.

    Nick Twemlow’s first book of poems, Palm Trees, won the Norma Farber first book award from the Poetry Society of America. He serves as a senior editor for The Iowa Review and co-editor of Canarium Books, a publisher of contemporary poetry. His films have screened at MCA Chicago, Tribeca, SXSW, Slamdance, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing and film at Coe College.


    November 16, 2017 - 6:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Join us for our annual reading in support of The Iowa Youth Writing Project.
    10% of today's sales will go to support the IYWP. Treat yourself to an exceptional literary experience while helping to bring the gift of writing to K-12 kids throughout the state.

    See what all the brilliant IYWP kids from Johnson & Linn Counties have been up to this semester, and enjoy snacks and camaraderie in the cafe after the reading provided by The Iowa Youth Writing Project!


    November 15, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Ice Cube Press presents local author Ethel Barker, who will read from her new book of historical fiction, The Andersens of Eden. When World War II comes to the Andersens’ idyllic farm, their family life is forever changed as young men leave to fight and the rest stay behind to serve on the home front. A coming-of-age tale about the ways love, faith, and family combine to overcome the many tragedies of war.

    Ethel Barker is the author of For the Love of Pete: An Orphan Train Story, also from Ice Cube Press. She is a retired reading educator and lives in Iowa City.


    November 15, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Iowa City Public LIbrary, Rm D

    Our book this month is Dakota: A Spiritual Geography by Kathleen Norris, one of the great non-fiction works of the Midwest.

    "This rare and splendid book tells us much about the history and character of the Great Plains and their inhabitants, and much also about how dwelling in small towns, and in vast, remote places, may challenge and inform the spirit. The author makes it seem inevitable that, returning to her ancestral Dakota, she should develop a taste for simple, concrete language, should be drawn to the wisdom of the desert fathers, and should learn, among other lessons, that to embrace deprivation is to be free. Her writing has a firm, unstrained honesty, a love of the truth."—Richard Wilbur


    November 14, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Therapist Resmaa Menakem will read from his new book My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. "Resmaa Menakem masterfully lays out the missing piece in the puzzle of why, despite so many good intentions, we have not achieved racial justice. Yes, we need to understand white supremacy, but as Menakem so skillfully explains, white supremacy is not rational and we won't end it with our intellect alone. White supremacy is internalized deep into our bodies. We must begin to understand it as white body supremacy and go to the depth of where it is stored, within our collective bones and muscles. To this end, My Grandmother's Hands is an intimate guidebook toward racial healing, one that achieves that rare combination for its readers; it is deeply intellectually stimulating while also providing practical ways to engage in the process of repair, even as we read. I believe this book will change the direction of the movement for racial justice."--Robin DiAngelo

    Resmaa Menakem, MSW, LICSW, SEP, has served as director of counseling services for the Tubman Family Alliance; as behavioral health director for African American Family Services in Minneapolis; as a domestic violence counselor for Wilder Foundation; as a certified Military and Family Life Consultant for the U.S. Armed Forces; as a trauma consultant for the Minneapolis Public Schools; and as a Cultural Somatics consultant for the Minneapolis Police Department. As a Community Care Counselor, he managed the wellness and counseling services for civilians on fifty-three US military bases in Afghanistan. Menakem studied and trained at Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute, as well as with Dr. David Schnarch (author of the bestselling Passionate Marriage) and Bessel van der Kolk, MD (author of the bestselling The Body Keeps the Score). He currently teaches workshops on Cultural Somatics for audiences of African Americans, European Americans, and police officers. He is also a therapist in private practice. He has appeared on both The Oprah Winfrey Show and Dr. Phil as an expert on conflict and violence.


    "Offers a well needed paradigm shift on how we think, dream, and strategize against white supremacy in our bodies, cultures, and institutions. A must-have for anyone interested in advancing Racial Justice and healing."--Chaka A. Mkali