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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  • Jamel Brinkley: Writers @ Grinnell

    September 24, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Join award-winning writer Jamel Brinkley during his week working with the Writers @ Grinnell program, for a reading and discussion.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    Jamel Brinkley is the author of A Lucky Man: Stories (2018), a finalist for the National Book Award, the Story Prize, the John Leonard Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; and winner of a PEN Oakland Award and the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in A Public Space, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Gulf Coast, The Threepenny Review, Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, The Believer, and Tin House, and has been anthologized twice in The Best American Short Stories. His work has received support from Kimbilio Fiction, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Summer Workshop, the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, and the Lannan Foundation. He was the 2016-2017 Carol Houck Smith Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing and a 2018-2020 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Raised in Brooklyn and the Bronx, he now teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

  • Craig Johnson: Reading and Discussion with Longmire Cast Members

    September 26, 2020 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for an exciting reading  and discussion with with Craig Johnson and Longmire castmembers Bailey Chase and Louanne Stephens.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    New York Times bestselling author Craig Johnson is back with his sixteenth Sheriff Walt Longmire murder mystery novel, Next to Last Stand, a story that centers around Custer’s Last Fight, one of the most viewed paintings in American history. Custer's Last Fight was copied and distributed by Anheuser-Busch at a rate of over two million copies a year and destroyed in a fire at the 7th Cavalry Headquarters in Fort Bliss, Texas, in 1946 . . . Or was it?

    Library Journal's Starred Review says of the book, “After Depth of Winter and Land of Wolves, Johnson lightens the atmosphere in this complex, thought-provoking mystery that highlights art and Western history, emphasizing the contrast between Native accounts and white history. The author’s poetic turns of phrase, witty dialog, and one of the funniest, most memorable chase scenes in a novel combine to make this a winner.”

    Craig Johnson is the New York Times bestselling author of the Longmire mysteries, the basis for the hit Netflix original series Longmire. He is the recipient of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for fiction, the Mountain; Plains Independent Booksellers Association's Reading the West Book Award for fiction, the Nouvel Observateur Prix du Roman Noir, and the Prix SNCF du Polar. His novella Spirit of Steamboat was the first One Book Wyoming selection. He lives in Ucross, Wyoming, population 25.

  • Jenny Zhang: Writers @ Grinnell

    September 29, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Join writer and poet Jenny Zhang during her week working with the Writers @ Grinnell program, for a reading and discussion.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    Jenny Zhang's debut short story collection Sour Heart, published by Lenny/Random House in 2017, has received both the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and the L.A. Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction. In addition to her fiction and poetry, Zhang’s essays have been published by The New York Times, Poetry Magazine, Rookie, and BuzzFeed. Her newest book is a poetry collection, My Baby First Birthday, just published by Tin House Books.

  • Ross Gay & Aimee Nezhukumatathil: Writers @ Grinnell

    October 8, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Join poets Ross Gay & Aimee Nezhukumatathil during their week working with the Writers @ Grinnell program, for a reading and discussion.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His new poem, Be Holding, will be released from the University of Pittsburgh Press in September of 2020. His collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019. Ross is also the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook "Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens," in addition to being co-author, with Rosechard Wehrenberg, of the chapbook, "River."  He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin', in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press.  Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He also works on The Tenderness Project with Shayla Lawson and Essence London. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.

    Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the author of four books of poetry: Oceanic; Lucky Fish, winner of the Hoffer Grand Prize for Prose and Independent Books; At the Drive-In Volcano; and Miracle Fruit. With Ross Gay, she co-authored Lace & Pyrite, a chapbook of nature poems (Organic Weapon Arts). Her most recent publication is the highly anticipated World of Wonders, her first book of essays. The former poetry editor of Orion magazine, her poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry series, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Poetry, Ploughshares,and Tin House. Awards for her writing include an NEA Fellowship in poetry and a 2020 Guggenheim Fellowship. She is professor of English and creative writing in the MFA program of the University of Mississippi.

  • jessica Care moore: Writers @ Grinnell

    October 13, 2020 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Join internationally renowned poet and performance artist jessica Care moore, artist-in-residence with the Writers @ Grinnell program, for a reading and discussion with Professor Lakesia Johnson.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    jessica Care moore is the Executive Producer and Founder of the 16-year old rock & roll concert and empowerment weekend, Black WOMEN Rock! moore is a strong believer in institution building. and created Moore Black Press Publishing in 1997. moore began publishing her literary peers, including Saul Williams, asha bandele, Danny Simmons, and Newark Mayor and poet, Ras Baraka.

    She is an educator and strong advocate for youth and women's voices.  She has been called by many, "The voice of Detroit."  She penned and voiced the award winning Detroit anthem, "Move Here, Move The World,"  NEIdeas, and voiced digital campaigns for The Skillman Foundation, The Henry Ford Museum, Strategic Community Partners, and many more. 

    moore is the author of The Words Don’t Fit in My MouthThe Alphabet Verses The Ghetto, God is Not an American, Sunlight Through Bullet Holes. (Moore Black Press) Her fifth book, We Want Our Bodies Back was published by Harper Collins in March. Her full scale theatrical work, Salt City, (An Afrofuturistic Techno Choreopoem) premiered in Detroit in 2019. She is the 2018 Joyce Award Winner, 2019 and 2017 Knight Arts Recipient, 2016 Kresge Art Fellow, The 2013 Alain Locke Awardee and the 2015 NAACP Great Expectation Award. 

    Your favorite's emcee's favorite poet, she has recorded her poetry with Nas, Jeezy, Talib Kweli, 9th Wonder, Karriem Riggins, Wordsworth, Elzhi, Valid, The Last Poets, Ursula Rucker, Jose James, Roy Ayers and more. She's read her work and leant her powerful voice to many causes all over the world, including, United Nations World Aids Day, Shanghai's Iron Mic Music Festival, Berlin International Poetry Festival, Flupp International Literary Festival in Brazil., and was honored to perform at the first Afrochella Festival in Ghana during the year of the return. Her work has graced the stages of The Apollo Theater, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the London Institute of Contemporary Arts. Her critically acclaimed jazz soul album, Black Tea - The Legend of Jessi James was released by  emcee, Talib Kweli's Javotti Media Label.   

    Moore recently joined forces with techno legends Jeff Mills and Eddie Fowlkes to form "The Beneficiaries." The Crystal City is Alive collaborative music project  is available now. The poet captivated a national television audience in the 90's when she won the legendary “It’s Showtime at the Apollo” competition a record breaking five times in a row -- with a poem. moore's poetry and voice is prominently featured on the 4th floor of the Smithsonian's New National Museum of African American History. She is a proud Detroiter and lives in the city where she raises her 13-year old son King. 

  • Susan Aizenberg in conversation with Denise Brady and Guy Duncan

    October 18, 2020 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Join poet Susan Aizenberg for a virtual poetry reading and book talk to celebrate Gibraltar Editions' publication of Susan Aizenberg's letterpress poetry book, First Light, featuring a conversation with publishers Guy Duncan and Denise Brady.

    For the link to access the event, register here.

    Susan Aizenberg is the author of three poetry collections: Quiet City (BkMk Press 2015); Muse (Crab Orchard Poetry Series 2002); and Peru in Take Three: 2/AGNI New Poets Series (Graywolf Press 1997) and co-editor with Erin Belieu of The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women (Columbia University Press 2001). Her awards include a Crab Orchard Poetry Series Award, the Levis Reading Prize, a Distinguished Artist Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council, the Nebraska Book Award, and the Mari Sandoz Award from the Nebraska Library Association. Aizenberg is professor emerita of creative writing and English at Creighton University.

    Guy Duncan grew up with letterpress poetry and pursued a career involved in cutting-edge technology initiatives. He has always been passionate about new ways to use technology for the betterment of society and finding methods of merging technology with traditional craft.

    Denise Brady has been making editions of poetry in Omaha since 1989, first under her imprint Bradypress and since 2015, in partnership with Guy Duncan, as Gibraltar Editions. Denise hand sets the texts and prints on a Vandercook proof press. She binds most of the editions using a non-adhesive sewing.

    To order this special letterpress poetry book, please call Prairie Lights at (319) 337-2681. We're answering calls Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm.