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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  • Melissa Febos in conversation with Rachel Yoder

    May 22, 2022 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights Books

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Melissa Febos to celebrate the paperback release of her book Girlhood. She will be joined in conversation by Rachel Yoder.

    The New York Times Book Review says of Girlhood, “Febos's own voice is so irreverent and original. The aim of this book, though, is not simply to tell about her own life, but to listen to the pulses of many others'. In her author's note, Febos writes that she has 'found company in the stories of other women, and the revelation of all our ordinariness has itself been curative.' This solidarity puts Girlhood in a feminist canon that includes Febos's idol, Adrienne Rich, and Maggie Nelson's theory-minded masterpieces: smart, radical company, and not ordinary at all.”

    Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir, Whip Smart (St. Martin’s Press 2010); Abandon Me (Bloomsbury 2017), which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, and an Indie Next Pick; Girlhood (Bloomsbury 2021), a national bestseller and winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism; and the craft book, Body Work (Catapult 2022), which is an Indie Next Pick and a national bestseller. Febos is the recipient of awards and fellowships from LAMBDA Literary, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, MacDowell, Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, Virginia Center for Creative Arts, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Memorial Foundation, The BAU Institute at the Camargo Foundation, Ragdale, Prairie SchoonerThe Sewanee Review, and others. Her essays have recently appeared in Tin House, Granta, The Paris Review, The Sun, McSweeney’s, The New York Times Magazine, and New York Review of BooksShe is an Associate Professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program.

    Rachel Yoder is the author of the novel Nightbitch, soon to be a film starring Amy Adams. A graduate of the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program , she also holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Arizona. She has worked in the Iowa City literary community for many years, for the Mission Creek Festival, Iowa Youth Writing Project, Iowa Summer Writing Festival, Iowa Young Writers' Studio, and UNESCO City of Literature. She is a founding editor of draft: the journal of process.

  • Ada Limón in conversation with Jennifer L. Knox

    May 23, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Ada Limón to celebrate the release of her new book of poems THE HURTING KIND. Limón will be joined in conversation with Jennifer L. Knox. 

    To join this virtual event, register here

    Ada Limón is the author of The Hurting Kind, as well as five other collections of poems. These include, most recently, The Carrying, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was named a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, and Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Award.

    Jennifer L. Knox's most recent book of poems is Crushing It (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Granta, and Poetry, and five times in The Best American Poetry series. She is currently at work on MYCYOWA, a traveling public art installation supported by the Iowa Arts Council and the NEA. She lives in central Iowa and is the proprietor of Saltlickers, a small spice blend company.

  • Alexander Maksik

    May 25, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Alexander Maksik to celebrate the release of his novel The Long Corner. 

    Alexander Maksik is the author of four novels, including:You Deserve Nothing, a New York Times and IndieBound bestseller; A Marker to Measure Drift, which was a New York Times Notable Book, as well as a finalist for the William Saroyan Prize and Le Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger; Shelter in Place, named one of the best books of the year by the Guardian and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize and the Andrew Lytle Prize, as well as fellowships from the Truman Capote Literary Trust and the Corporation of Yaddo.

  • Diana Goetsch in conversation with Amy Margolis

    May 26, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Diana Goetsch to celebrate the release of her memoir This Body I Wore. Diana will be joined in conversation by Amy Margolis.

    Diana Goetsch is an American poet and essayist. Her poems have appeared widely, in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, and in the collections Nameless Boy, In America and others. She also wrote the “Life in Transition” blog at The American Scholar. Her honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and The New School, where she served as the Grace Paley Teaching Fellow. For twenty-one years Goetsch was a New York City public school teacher, at Stuyvesant High School and at Passages Academy in the Bronx, where she ran a creative writing program for incarcerated teens.

    Amy Margolis is the Director of the Iowa Summer Writing Festival at The University of Iowa. She holds an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was a Teaching-Writing Fellow in fiction. She’s taught fiction and nonfiction writing in the Festival, at The University of Iowa, and as a visiting writer nationwide. Her fiction appears in The Iowa Review. She is currently at work on a memoir-in-shards about her life as a dancer in the late seventies, at the onset of the AIDS crisis.

  • Robin Hemley in conversation with Patricia Foster and David Hamilton

    June 7, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Robin Hemley to celebrate the release of his book Oblivion. He will be joined in conversation by Patricia Foster and David Hamilton.

    Connie May Fowler, author of How Clarissa Burden Learned to Fly, says of the book, "A tour de force. Oblivion is a marvel of the imagination and intellect. Hemley has . . .created a book that is a relentless page turner: funny and wise, exuberant and sad, insightful and magical, and-most wonderful of all-deeply, deeply human."

    Robin Hemley has published fifteen books of fiction and nonfiction. His most recent books are the autofiction, Oblivion, An After-Autobiography (Gold Wake, 2022), The Art and Craft of Asian Stories: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology, co-authored with Xu Xi (Bloomsbury, 2021) and Borderline Citizen: Dispatches from the Outskirts of Nationhood (Nebraska, 2020, Penguin SE Asia, 2021).  He has previously published four collections of short stories, and his stories have been widely anthologized.  His widely-used writing text, Turning Life into Fiction, has sold over a hundred thousand copies and has been in print for 25 years. 

    David Hamilton was a member of the English Department at the University of Iowa for thirty-seven years, teaching both literature and writing courses. Through most of those years, too, he edited The Iowa Review. He is the author of A Certain Arc: Essays of Finding My Way,  Deep River: A Memoir of a Missouri Farm, and Ossabaw and The Least Hinge, a volume and chapbook of poems.

    Patricia Foster is the author of All the Lost Girls,  Just Beneath My Skin, Girl from Soldier Creek and the editor of four anthologies including Understanding the Essay (co-edited with Jeff Porter). She is the recipient of a Dean’s Scholar Award, a Yaddo Fellowship, a Florida Arts Council Award, an Iowa Arts & Humanities Award, and has published over fifty essays and stories in  Ploughshares, The Sun, Virginia Quarterly Review and other quarterlies.  She is professor emeritus of the MFA Program in Nonfiction at UIowa and has taught in France, Australia, Italy, Czech Republic, and Spain.

  • Nina Barragan

    June 8, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and book signing with Nina Barragan to celebrate the release of her book Printmaker's Daughter, Painter's Wife. 

    Nina Barragan, pen name of Rocío Lasansky Weinstein, was born in Cordoba, Argentina, raised in Iowa City, Iowa, and received a BA in English from the University of Iowa. Married to artist Alan Weinstein and mother of four grown children, home is Iowa City and Teeswater, Ontario. Since 1967 her work has appeared in quarterlies, journals and anthologies. She has published three books of fiction.

  • Maureen McCue in conversation with Miriam Kashia

    June 16, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Maureen McCue to celebrate the release of her new book Birds in the Morning, Frogs at Night. She will be joined in conversation by Miriam Kashia.  

    Maureen McCue has lived on 14 acres off an Iowa dirt road for 35 yrs. As a physician & professor in global health she has also traveled to work and learn in many distant, disparate settings from India and Bangladesh, to Haiti and Nicaragua, to Russia, Switzerland, Morocco, and others. Over time Maureen came to see the similarities, connections and challenges between lives here in Iowa -- human, and non-human, in plant and animal -- along her rural road and those she encountered around the world. In her case, and in many places around the world as people are themselves nearing the end of the road, McCue considers how to face or extend our lives as we find ourselves yet another endangered species.

    Maureen will be joined in conversation by Miriam Kashia, retired psychotherapist who in 2014 at the age of 71 walked across the U.S. from LA, California to Washington DC with the Great March for Climate Action. During her 3,000 mile, 8-month journey she spoke with thousands of ordinary people and local media about looming climate and environmental concerns. Since the Climate March, Miriam has become an outspoken advocate and activist for the changes required to support our future well-being right here at home in Iowa and globally.

  • Neil Hamilton

    June 23, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Neil Hamilton to celebrate the release of his new book The Land Remains

    The Land Remains blends personal memoir, a history of Midwestern land conservation, and an analysis of contemporary issues of soil health, water quality, public lands, and future challenges to tell the story how land shapes our lives. Written by Prof. Neil Hamilton, a well-known authority on agriculture and land policy who recently retired after 36 years directing the Agricultural Law Center at Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. The Land Remains weaves stories from his career working with food and the land to bring a fresh perspective to a topic most people take for granted. The book is narrated in part by the voice of the Back Forty, a field on his family’s farm in Adams County. Influenced by past conservation leaders like John Lacey and Aldo Leopold, as well as efforts by current farmers and landowners who care for and steward the land. The book also weaves new insights from authors like Eddie Glaude Jr. and Jedidiah Purdy to trace the parallels in our attitudes toward the land to issues of historic racism, economic inequality, and environmental vulnerability rooted in our land history.

  • Dan Campion

    July 14, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Dan Campion to celebrate his new book of poems A Playbill for Sunset

    The poems in A Playbill for Sunset consider elements of drama in the natural world, elements of wild nature in the theater of human affairs, and scenes in which the elements mingle like playgoers in the foyer. The arc of the book traces a year through its seasons. The speakers of its poems have their say, in their various styles, about folktales and found art, sunsets and submarines, afghans and archaeology. Rooted in the American Midwest prairie, where the sunsets are long and often spectacular, the poems range across cultural space and time, seeking to enact a free play of ideas and emotions within the structures of poetic forms.