Live From Prairie Lights

"Live from Prairie Lights” is an internationally known readings series, which features some of the best up-and-coming and well-established authors & poets from all over the globe. Presented before a live audience and streamed over the world wide web, this long running series brings the spoken word from the bookstore to the masses. Most readings begin @ 7:00 p.m. Arrive early to assure yourself a seat.

The Writing University live streams many of our readings here.
The Live from Prairie Lights audio archive is available here.
Iowa City PATV has a video archive of readings located here.
rss RSS


    September 20, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us with seven contributing authors to this years’ The Best Small Fictions Anthology for short readings from their work! This series, which began in 2015, has featured an international group of both seasoned and emerging authors who work in flash, micro fiction, prose poetry, haibun, and other hybrid forms. Readers will include Audra Kerr Brown, Kathy Fish, Brenda Peynado, Denise Howard Long, Scott Garson, Jolene McIIwain, and Angela Mitchell.


    September 20, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Iowa City Public Library

    When Kurt Vonnegut was teaching in the Writer's Workshop 1965-66, the Vietnam War was getting underway and the student movement against it was just starting. Vonnegut chose this time to work on SlaughterhouseFive, his anti-war novel about the allied destruction of Dresden at the end of WW II. His most personal novel, based on his own WW II experience, to write a funny book at which we are not permitted to laugh, braided with his usual imaginative fantasy. For me it was an unforgettable read and I am looking forward to this reread. Few have read it recently, and I hope many of you will take this opportunity to seen how this anti-war novel holds up today. —Paul

    "Poignant and hilarious, threaded with compassion, and behind everything the cataract of a thundering moral statement." —Boston Globe


    September 21, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Kim Brooks will talk about her new book, Small Animals: Parenthood in an Age of Fear, in conversation with Kevin Clouther. This thought provoking examination of the current culture of competitive, anxious, and judgmental parenting is a mixture of essay, memoir, and social commentary. "A disturbing, ultimately affirming look at why parenting in the contemporary United States is defined by fear." ―Publishers Weekly

    Kim Brooks is the author of the novel The Houseguest, and her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, One Story, The Missouri ReviewSalon, Buzzfeed, New York Magazine, andLennyLetter. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their two children.

    Kevin Clouther is the author of the story collection We Were Flying to Chicago. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has taught creative writing at Stony Brook University and Johns Hopkins.                      


    September 23, 2018 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Join us for the Sunday International Writing Program Prairie Lights Reading Series to hear writers from all over the world read from their work. 

    Gina Cole (fiction writer, poet; New Zealand) is the author of Black Ice Matter, which won Best First Book of Fiction at the 2017 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards, and the winner of the 2014 Auckland Pride Festival’s creative writing competition for the poem “Airport Aubade”; her work is widely anthologized. She was keynote speaker at the 2017 Auckland Writers Festival and the Same Same But Different LGBTQIA+ Writing Festival. A barrister, she specializes in family law. Her participation in the IWP Fall Residency is made possible by Creative New Zealand.

    Tehila Hakimi (poet, fiction writer; Israel) writes poetry, fiction and graphic novels. Her poetry volume [We’ll Work Tomorrow] (2014) received the 2015 Bernstein Prize for Literature, and, alongside her graphic novel [In the Water], the Yehoshua Rabinowitz Foundation Prize for Literature. Hakimi received the 2014 Israeli Ministry of Culture Prize for Emerging Poets. She works as a mechanical engineer. Her participation in the IWP Fall Residency is made possible by the United States-Israel Educational Foundation. 

    Siyanda Mohutsiwa (Botswana) is an internationally recognized satirist and speaker. Her satirical hashtag #IfAfricaWasABar went viral in the summer of 2015, leading to her 2015 TedTalk titled "Is Africa's Future Online?" and another in 2016 titled "How young Africans found a voice on Twitter" in February 2016. Mohutsiwa describes herself as a pan-Africanist. Her work has been featured on BBC and has been published internationally. She is currently an MFA student at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in Fiction.

  • DAVID WYSTAN OWEN in conversation with Garth Greenwell

    September 24, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate David Wystan Owen will read from and discuss his debut story collection Other People’s Love Affairs in conversation with Garth Greenwell. In these ten stories the people of Glass, a picturesque village on the rugged English coast, are haunted by longings and deeply held secrets. “Writing in the tradition of Chekhov, William Trevor, and Alice Munro, Owen's stories remind us that the thrills and the dangers of living oftentimes go hand-in-hand with the everydayness of life.”—Yiyun Li

    David Wystan Owen’s fiction and essays have appeared in A Public SpaceThe American ScholarLiterary Hub, and the Threepenny Review. A dual citizen of the United States and the United Kingdom, he now lives in Northern California.

    Garth Greenwell is the author of What Belongs to You, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and was a finalist for six other awards. He lives in Iowa City.



    September 25, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Courtney Kersten will read from her memoir, Daughter in Retrograde: A Memoir. As a teen, Kersten charted the uncertainty of her midwestern homeland by looking to the stars and planets, plunging deep into the worlds of signs, symbols, and prophecy with her mother. But as her mother lies dying, Kersten must learn to navigate without the person who always lit the way. “A fast-paced, funny, heartbreaking memoir about a midwestern mother-daughter Thelma and Louise, hard partying, wise cracking, and brave. A tragic-comic meditation on love, loss, and what we see in the stars." ―Micah Perks, author of What Becomes Us

    Courtney Kerston’s essays have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Bellingham Review, Brevity, and elsewhere. She was a Fulbright Fellow to Riga, Latvia, and teaches Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is currently at work on a biography about Linda Goodman, the late superstar astrologer of the 1970s.


    September 26, 2018 - 12:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    A special daytime signing from Noon to 1:00pm!

    Social Activist Dorothy Day’s youngest granddaughter, Kate Hennessy, will do a ten minute reading followed by a public signing of her bestselling book Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty. Dorothy Day (1897-1980) was a prominent Catholic, writer, social activist, and co-founder of a movement dedicated to serving the poorest of the poor. Called "a saint for the occupy era" by The New Yorker, Day's story unfolds against a backdrop of New York City from the 1910s to the 1980s and world events spanning from World War I to Vietnam. This thoroughly researched and intimate biography provides a valuable and nuanced portrait of an under-sung and provocative American woman.This special signing is an opportunity to buy a book and meet Kate Hennessey in advance of her 6:30 pm speech at the University of Iowa Catholic Newman Center 104 E. Jefferson Street.


    September 28, 2018 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Mike Lux will read from his recent book How to Democrat in the Age of Trump. Having spent a lifetime fighting in the trenches of the progressive movement and Democratic Party, Lux offers a blueprint for how to start winning again—not just this year, but for generations to come. Lux looks at how the party managed to turn off both base and swing voters in the years following Obama’s historic victory, and lays out a strategy and message for winning a long-term Democratic governing majority.

    Mike Lux is the author of The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be. He served in the Clinton administration and on the Obama-Biden transition team as a liaison to the progressive community. He founded American Family Voices and has been featured on various news outlets, including CNN, MSNBC, and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is a frequent front-page contributor to The Huffington Post.