September 2, 2017 - 6:30pm

    Prairie Lights

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

    Please join us for a reading in Spanish by IWP writers Enza García Arreaza, Santiago Giralt, Kirmen Uribe, and Xavier Villanova, to be introduced by students in the Spanish Creative Writing MFA at the University of Iowa. 6:30-8:00pm. Reception to follow.


    August 31, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Hancher Auditorium

    Prairie Lights is proud to present Senator Bernie Sanders, in a special ticketed event at Hancher Auditorium. In his new book, Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution, Sanders continues his fight against the imbalances in the nation’s status quo, and shows people, young and old, how to make a difference to effect the changes the country and the world need to create a better tomorrow. For ticket info, contact Hancher Box Office (319) 335-1160.



    August 30, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Pulitzer prize nominated journalist Inara Verzemnieks will read from her new memoir, Among the Living and the Dead: A Tale of Exile and Homecoming on the War Roads of Europe. This special event is sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. Among the Living and the Dead is “An exquisite book for the ages as it unfolds from its first mysterious sentence into a masterpiece about war, survival, memory, and, most movingly of all, human need.” —David Finkel

    Inara Verzemnieks is a graduate of the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program, and has taught writing at Oregon State and the University of Iowa. She is a Pushcart Prize and Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award Winner and her journalism has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, the Atlantic, and The Oregonian. She lives in Iowa City.



    August 29, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Whiting Award winner Benjamin Percy will read from his new novel, The Dark Net. Set in present-day Portland, "Benjamin Percy's The Dark Net channels the spirit of your favorite sprawling and epic, 1980's horror/thriller novels into a tightly paced, nasty, unrelenting 21st century nightmare. An addictive and frightening read." — Paul Tremblay

    Percy has won a Plimpton Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, and a grant from the NEA. He is the author of the novels The Dead Lands, Red Moon, and The Wilding, two story collections, and an essay collection, Thrill Me. He also writes the Green Arrow and Teen Titans series for DC Comics. He lives in Minnesota.

  • Z.P. DALA

    August 28, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    IWP alum ZP Dala will read from her new novel, The Architecture of Loss. Exploring topics as wide-ranging as apartheid and South African history to women’s rights at home and abroad;  “The Architecture of Loss vividly reconstructs the secret soul of South Africa’s anti-apartheid movement, revealing the costs―physical and emotional―of devoting one's life to an ideal.” —Christopher Merrill

    Z.P. Dala is the author of What About Meera, which was longlisted for both the Etisalat Prize for Fiction (the most prestigious literary prize for African fiction) and the Sunday Times Barry Ronge Fiction Prize (South Africa's largest literary award). Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Marie Claire, and Elle. She has lived and worked in Dublin and now lives in Durban,
    South Africa.



    August 27, 2017 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us for the first Fall 2017 reading with this year’s residents at the UI’s International Writing Program (IWP). The IWP is the oldest and largest multinational writing residency in the world, and annually brings outstanding authors from every continent to the University of Iowa. The IWP celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. The IWP provides authors a one-of-a-kind inter-cultural opportunity and the time and space to write, read, translate, study, conduct research, travel, give readings, stage work, and become part of the vibrant literary and academic community at the university and in Iowa City, the only American city designated as a UNESCO City of Literature, in part because of the IWP’s presence. 

    Prairie Lights hosts events that feature two of the visiting international writers and one writer from the UI’s Fiction, Poetry or Non-Fiction workshops most Sundays at 4pm. Come to hear and meet writers from all over the world!

    Yvonne Adhiambo Owuor (fiction writer; Kenya) is an author, lecturer, and arts curator. Her first novel, Dust, was published by Knopf in 2014, and received the 2015 TBC Jomo Kenyatta Literature Award. In 2003, she won the Caine Prize for African Writing for her story “Weight of Whispers,”  also the title of a 2003 volume. Owuor was an IWP Fall Resident in 2005, and returns as the Residency’s first Grinnell Fellow. She participates courtesy of Grinnell College.

    Kristen Steenbeeke is an MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received the Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellowship. She was the winner of the 2017 Indiana Review Poetry Prize, judged by Ross Gay, and her fiction and poetry have been published in Pleiades, Tin House blog, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Poetry Northwest, and other places. She was recently a finalist in Mid-American Review’s Fineline Competition and Third Coast’s Poetry Prize.

    Kirmen Uribe (novelist, poet, essayist; Spain) His first novel Bilbao–New York–Bilbao earned him Spain’s 2008 National Fiction Prize, and has been translated into fifteen languages; his poems have appeared in The New Yorker and elsewhere. Elkarrekin esnatzeko ordua [The Hour of Waking Together] was published in 2017. He participates courtesy of the Etxepare Basque Institute.


    August 23, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Salon editor-in-chief David Daley will read from Ratf**ked, Why Your Vote Doesn't Count.

    Lauded as a “compelling” (The New Yorker) and “eye-opening tour of a process that many Americans never see” (Washington Post), David Daley’s Ratf**ked documents the effort of Republican legislators and political operatives to hack American democracy through an audacious redistricting plan called REDMAP. Since the revolutionary election of Barack Obama, a group of GOP strategists has devised a way to flood state races with a gold rush of dark money, made possible by Citizens United, in order to completely reshape Congress―and our democracy itself.

    “Sobering and convincing” (New York Review of Books), Ratf**ked shows how this program has radically altered America’s electoral map and created a firewall in the House, insulating the Republican party and its wealthy donors from popular democracy. David Daley is the Digital Media Fellow for the Wilson Center for Humanities and the Arts and the Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


    August 18, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City author and musician Joseph Brisben will read from his new book, Skip Day.  Set in 1959, American Grafitti meets Animal House in this outrageous semi-autobiographic novel.

    Joseph Brisben is the author of a previous work of fiction, Marvin’s Garden.  He has worked as an investment counselor and in college public relations. He has also worked as a reporter and copyreader. In college he studied English and American literature at the University of Chicago and at Drake University. He has been writing fiction off and on for more than four decades, and in recent years has taken classes with the Iowa Summer Writing Program. In addition to writing, Brisben sings, plays trombone and a number of folk instruments. He has four children and four grandchildren, and lives in Iowa City.


    August 16, 2017 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    An old man lies dying. Confined to bed in his living room, he sees the walls around him begin to collapse, the windows come loose from their sashes, and the ceiling plaster fall off in great chunks, showering him with a lifetime of debris: newspaper clippings, old photographs, wool jackets, rusty tools, and the mangled brass works of antique clocks. Soon, the clouds from the sky above plummet down on top of him, followed by the stars, till the black night covers him like a shroud. He is hallucinating, in death throes from cancer and kidney failure. A methodical repairer of clocks, he is now finally released from the usual constraints of time and memory to rejoin his father, an epileptic, itinerant peddler, whom he had lost seven decades before. In his return to the wonder and pain of his impoverished childhood in the backwoods of Maine, he recovers a natural world that is at once indifferent to man and inseparable from him, menacing and awe inspiring. 

    Tinkers is about the legacy of consciousness and the porousness of identity from one generation to the next. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, it is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature.  

    Paul Harding wrote Tinkers while he was an MFA student at the Writer's Workshop. Published by a tiny press, Bellevue Literary Press, Tinkers walked away with a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize. For months Harding and his book were all we could talk about at Prairie Lights. It's a book of amazing subtlety and deep thought.



    August 5, 2017 - 11:00am

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us for this special Soul Festival Black Author Panel  with moderator Michael Hill,  and authors Lena Hill, Glenance Green, and Deborah Whaley. 

    Glenance Green is a Chicago-based scholar, activist, playwright, and filmmaker. She is the founder and director of A g Thing!, a creative agency in Chicago that brings unsung voices and their narratives to the broader community. Ms. Green is the creator of Melanin Voices, a performance collective series of poetry, short stories, vignettes, fiction, and non-fiction by Chicago artists, woven together to create a beautiful narrative.  She is the author of the book Shades of Green, an anthological series of thoughts from the mind of one black woman giving voice to many. Illustratively, she uses seven forms of Greek love to weave together a powerful narrative through poetry, prose, and short stories.

    Lena and Michael Hill are associate professors in the Department of English and the African American Studies Program, both part of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. They are both coauthors of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: A Reference Guide. Dr Lena Hill is the author of Visualizing Blackness and the Creation of African American Literary Tradition. Dr. Michael D. Hill is the author of The Ethics of Swagger: Prizewinning African American Novels, 1977–1993. The Hills are most recently the authors of Invisible Hawkeyes: African Americans at the University of Iowa During the Long Civil Rights Era.

    Deborah Whaley is associate professor of American studies and African American studies at the University of Iowa. Dr. Whaley is the author of Disciplining Women: Alpha Kappa Alpha, Black Counterpublics, and the Cultural Politics of Black Sororities, and most recently Black Women in Sequence: Re-inking Comics, Graphic Novels, and Anime.