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 hereSince live in store events are currenly on hiatus, there are no live audio streams at this time. They will resume when live in store events do.

An archive of some virtual events is here.

The Live from Prairie Lights audio archive is available here.
Iowa City PATV has a video archive of readings located here.
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  • Elizabeth Weiss in conversation with Yaa Gyasi

    December 1, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Elizabeth Weiss to celebrate the release of her new book The Sisters Sweet. She will be joined in conversation with author Yaa Gyasi.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less, writes, “The Sisters Sweet will charm you into another world. Weiss has conjured a lost America with wit, sorrow, and beauty—a book like a favorite old movie.”

    Elizabeth Weiss earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Her nonfiction has been published in The New Yorker online. She has taught for the University of Iowa, the Iowa Young Writers' Studio, and the Sackett Street Writers' Workshop, and is a mentor for the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. She lives in Minneapolis with her spouse, daughter, and dog.

    Yaa Gyasi was born in Ghana and raised in Huntsville, Alabama. Her debut novel, Homegoing, won her the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Award for best first book, the PEN/Hemingway Award for a first book of fiction, the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35” honors for 2016, and the American Book Award. She lives in Brooklyn and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop.


  • Beth Hoffman in conversation with Chuck Offenburger

    December 3, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Beth Hoffman to celebrate the release of her new book Bet The Farm: The Dollars and Cents of Growing Food in America. She will be joined in conversation by Chuck Offenburger.

    To join this virtual event, register here. 

    John Piotti, President of the American Farmland Trust says of the book, "Honest and authentic, Beth Hoffman accomplishes what few authors who write about farms ever achieve: conveying amid the hard work and simple pleasures, the realities of running a tough business. Readers seldom get to view farming so accurately."

    Beth Hoffman has been reporting on food and agriculture for over twenty years, airing on NPR, The World, Latino USA, Living on Earth, and others. She blogged for Forbes as the Hungry Hack and studied the food system in depth as a student, fellow and co-lecturer at UC Berkeley’s School of Journalism. She has completed several documentary projects including a year cooking with immigrant women in their homes and telling their stories. She was an Associate Professor in Media Studies at the University of San Francisco for six years. Two years ago, in her late 40s, she and her husband left San Francisco and moved to rural Iowa to take over his family’s farm. Bet the Farm looks at the economics of American agriculture, told through Hoffman’s personal story of becoming a farmer.

    Chuck Offenburger is a mostly-retired Iowa writer who had a 26-year career covering Iowa and its people for the Des Moines Register. His "Iowa Boy" column in the Register took him all over the state, across the nation and around the world. He now lives and writes at his "Simple Serenity Farm" outside the tiny town of Cooper (pop. 30, maybe) in west central Iowa, "surrounded by some of the most interesting farming operations you could find anywhere."  His writing -- on a wide range of topics -- now appears first on his website, which is one of the oldest news and opinion sites in Iowa.


  • NO TIME LIKE THE FUTURE: Michael J. Fox In-conversation with Willie Geist

    December 7, 2021 - 6:00pm

    Virtual - Zoom

    Flatiron Books is honored to launch the paperback release of Michael J. Fox’s New York Times bestselling memoir NO TIME LIKE THE FUTURE. To celebrate the new edition, Michael will be in conversation with journalist Willie Geist, anchor of NBC’s Sunday TODAY and co-anchor of MSNBC’s Morning Joe. The only paperback event for NO TIME LIKE THE FUTURE, the pre-recorded conversation will air on December 7th at 6PM CST via Zoom Webinar.

    You can register for this virtual event here.

    Michael J. Fox gained fame playing Alex P. Keaton on the sitcom Family Ties. His blockbuster movies include Back to the Future , The Secret of My Success , Doc Hollywood , Casualties of War and The American President. He returned to television in his award-winning lead role on Spin City, followed by guest appearances in series like Rescue Me, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Good Wife. His many awards include five Emmys, four Golden Globes, one Grammy, two Screen Actors Guild awards, the People’s Choice award, and GQ Man of the Year. In 2000, he launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which is now the leading Parkinson’s organization in the world. He is the author of three previous New York Times bestselling books: Lucky Man , Always Looking Up, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future. Michael lives with his family in New York City.

    Willie Geist is the host of NBC News’ Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist. He is also a co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe and a regular host and contributor to TODAY. Geist also contributes to the NBC Sports Group, where he hosted coverage of several Olympic Games. Geist is the author of three books, including the New York Times bestsellers Good Talk, Dad and American Freak Show. He lives in New York with his wife and their two children.


    Ticket options:

    Purchase a ticket that includes a copy of NO TIME LIKE THE FUTURE. You can receive your copy either in-store at Prairie Lights or by Media Mail Shipping after the event.


    Donation only (no book) any amount - $5 suggested

  • Asha Bhandary in conversation with Lina Murillo

    December 8, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Asha Bhandary to celebrate the publication of his book Freedom to Care: Liberalism, Dependency Care, and Culture. She will be joined in conversation with Lina Murillo.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Anthony Simon Laden of The Philosophical Quarterly says of the book "Freedom to Care shows the sort of attention and responsiveness to complex details and competing value demands that make not only for good care work but good political philosophy. Bhandary insists that to think well about the requirements of justice with regard to care work, we need to think of it as work, and thus distinguish it as much as possible from the relations of affection and love in which it is often carried out. This helps her pay attention not only to the gendered aspects of who cares for whom but the racial ones as well: all the ways that care work is not only unfairly distributed within families but in the expectation that some people will care for other people’s children and elderly parents."

    Asha Leena Bhandary is a political philosopher, feminist ethicist, and Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Iowa and Obermann Fellow in Residence whose published work develops a new form of liberalism to remedies the invisibility of caregiving practices in western liberal social forms. In her first book, the monograph Freedom to Care: Liberalism, Dependency Care, and Culture (Routledge, 2020), she identifies how liberalism – a theory that prioritizes the freedom and autonomy of the individual - must change when caregivers, and those who society expects to care for others, are no longer silenced. She has published articles on this subject in numerous philosophy journals, and, with Amy R. Baehr, co-edited the volume Caring for Liberalism (2021). She is also the co-author of a video game called Surviving the “Indifferents”. A second-generation American with parents from the disparate cultures of central Finland and a matrilineal community in South India’s western coast, her work is cross-culturally informed, but the liberal theory of justice she advances is firmly rooted in the U.S. She is currently writing her next book, Being at Home: Liberal Autonomy for an Unjust World, which weaves together personal narrative and philosophical analysis for an account of autonomy informed by perspectival insights as a woman of color.

    Lina-Maria Murillo received her doctorate in Borderlands History at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 2016. She received her M.A. in 2011 from UTEP and her B.A. in History and Raza Studies from San Francisco State University in 2007. She is completing her manuscript titled Fighting for Control: Race and Reproductive Rights Activism in the U.S-Mexico Borderlands. Describing the clinics, organizations, and institutions that helped to foster access to reproductive care along the border in the twentieth century, this history reveals the tensions between advocates for population control and those committed to greater reproductive rights for the majority Mexican-origin women in the region. The study focuses on the history of Planned Parenthood along the line and shines a light on the unknown history of abortion, population control, and Chicana activism that comprised the movement in the borderlands.

  • Kia Corthron in conversation with Lisa Schlesinger

    December 9, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Kia Corthron to celebrate the publication of her new novel Moon and the Mars . She will be joined in conversation with Lisa Schlesinger.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    The Chicago Review of Books says of Moon and the Mars, "Corthron’s new historical epic spins an absorbing and linguistically nimble tale that proves she’s one of our most dynamic and risk-taking  writers."

    Kia Corthron's debut fiction, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, was the winner of the 2016 Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. She was the 2017 Bread Loaf Shane Stevens Fellow in the Novel. She is also a nationally and internationally produced playwright. For her body of work for the stage, she has garnered the Windham Campbell Prize for Drama, the Horton Foote Prize, the United States Artists Jane Addams Fellowship, the Flora Roberts Award, and others. She was born and raised in Cumberland, Maryland, and lives in Harlem, New York City.

    LLisa Schlesinger’s plays include Iphigenia Point Blank, Rock Ends Ahead, and Twenty-One Positions (with Naomi Wallace and Abdelfattah AbuSrour).She is currently writing Ruinous Gods, an opera, with composer Layale Chaker. She has received awards from the BBC, the NEA/TCG among others. Her work is published in American Theatre, the New York Times and elsewhere. Lisa is co-director of the Iowa Playwrights Workshop at the University of Iowa.

  • Mark Prins in conversation with Margot Livesey

    January 27, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Mark Prins to celebrate the release of her new book The Latinist. He will be joined in conversation with author Margot Livesey.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest and Good Company, says of the book "Within the first few pages of this book, I knew I was in the hands of a masterful storyteller. The Latinist is imaginative, propulsive, and wildly intelligent. What a joy to encounter a thrilling and singular new voice in fiction."

    Mark Prins is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of fellowships from the Truman Capote Literary Trust, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

    Margot Livesey is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Flight of Gemma HardyThe House on Fortune StreetBanishing VeronaEva Moves the FurnitureThe Missing WorldCriminals, and Homework. Her work has appeared in the New YorkerVogue, and the Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. The House on Fortune Street won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Born in Scotland, Livesey currently lives in the Boston area and is a professor of fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.