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.
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    March 3, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Gender nonconforming writer, producer, and performer Jacob Tobia will read from and talk about their memoir, Sissy: A Coming-Of-Gender Story. "When the political reality facing this country seems dark, we need shinier, sparklier thinkers in the public eye. With a signature style matched only by their wit, Jacob fits that bill perfectly." --Alan Cumming

    Jacob Tobia (pronouns: they/them) is a member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and the OUT 100, and Jacob made television history voicing the nonbinary character of Double Trouble in Netflix's She-Ra and The Princess of Power. Their writing and advocacy have been featured by The New York Times, Time, The Guardian, Good Morning America, and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, among others. Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Jacob has worn high heels in the White House twice, and currently resides in Los Angeles.


    March 8, 2020 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights - Special Afternoon Event !

    Former ATF agent Cyntia Beebe will read from her memoir, Boots in the Ashes, about her years spent hunting down violent criminals for the federal government.

    Cynthia Beebe had a groundbreaking career as one of the first women special agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, (ATF). Beebe spent 27 years investigating bombings, arson, murder, illegal firearms, gangs and other crimes. Set primarily in Minneapolis-St. Paul and Chicago, Boots in the Ashes shows how Beebe overcame adversity both inside ATF and on the streets, and learned to thrive in the ultra-masculine world of guns and violent crime.

    Cynthia Beebe is a member of the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators, the International Association of Arson Investigators and Women in Federal Law Enforcement. She lives in the Chicago Suburbs. 


    March 10, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Grant Wood Art Colony at the University of Iowa presents Sue Taylor, who will read from and talk about her book, Grant Wood’s Secrets. Incorporating copious archival research and original close readings of American artist Grant Wood's iconic as well as lesser-known works, Grant Wood's Secrets reveals how his sometimes anguished psychology was shaped by his close relationship with his mother and how he channeled his lifelong oedipal guilt into his art. Presenting Wood's memoir "Return from Bohemia" for the first time ever, Sue Taylor integrates the artist's own recollections into interpretations of his art.  “Grant Wood’s Secrets has the makings of a landmark study. Beyond its far-reaching contributions to Wood scholarship, it also represents a signal achievement in queer studies and studies of masculinity. Wood experts will find a great deal that is new here, and those less familiar with his work will discover an artist whose life and career illuminate the story of American painting in exciting new ways."--R. Tripp Evans 

    A former Midwesterner, museum curator, newspaper critic, college dean, and longtime corresponding editor for Art in America, Sue Taylor is now Professor Emerita of Art History at Portland State University. Taylor is the author of Hans Bellmer: The Anatomy of Anxiety, and her essays and reviews have appeared in American Art, American Craft, Art Journal, Art News, and the New Art Examiner. 



    March 11, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Former Director of the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program Robin Hemley will read from his new book, Borderline Citizen. In Borderline Citizen Hemley wrestles with what it means to be a citizen of the world, taking readers on a singular journey through the hinterlands of national identity.  "Robin Hemley has traveled to more countries than just about anyone I know, and along the way he's collected vital observations on the tragic absurdity of nationalism and the implicit violence of a world crisscrossed with borders. I think of him in the company of Pankaj Mishra, Pico Iyer, Bruce Chatwin, and John Berger--writers whose transnational souls challenge the idea of a single place of origin."--Jess Row Hemley is the author of numerous books, including Invented EdenReply All: StoriesA Field Guide for Immersion Writing; Nola; Turning Life into Fiction; and Do-Over! He has won many awards for his writing, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and three Pushcart Prizes, as well as residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, the Bogliasco Foundation, the Fine Arts Work in Provincetown, the MacDowell Colony, and others.  

    Inara Verzemnieks is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. The author of Among the Living and the Dead, she is also the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, and was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing.