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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    February 19, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    MacArthur award-winning “father of the local food movement” Gary Paul Nabhan will read from and talk about Food from the Radical Center: Healing Our Land and Communities. In this book, Nabhan shares inspiring stories about food and land restoration projects that bring communities together across the political divide. Nabhan is personally engaged as an orchard-keeper, wild foods forager, and pollinator habitat restorationist working from his small farm in Patagonia, Arizona near the Mexican border. He has helped forge "the radical center" for collaborative conservation among farmers, ranchers, indigenous peoples and environmentalists in the West. Nabhan is the author of books including Coming Home to Eat, Cumin Camels & Caravans, Desert Smells Like Rain, and the recent Mesquite: An Arboreal Love Affair.

    He is a research scientist and the W.K. Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at the University of Arizona Southwest Center, where he works to build a more just, nutritious, sustainable, and climate-resilient foodshed spanning the U.S./Mexico border.


    February 20, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    2018 Oregon Literary Arts’ Writer of Color Fellow, author, speaker, and teacher Reema Zaman will read from and talk about I Am Yours: A Shared Memoir. Beginning in Bangladesh, moving into Thailand, then New York, and finally, Oregon, I Am Yours is an iconic, definitive book on the female/ human condition. Zaman's personal narrative acts as a backdrop to ask and answer the most pressing universal questions: Why do we wound each other and ourselves? Where does pain begin and live, in the same spot as love? Why do we oppress and overpower when, beneath pigment, all flesh are the same color? And, in this rapidly changing world, what is authentic equality, integrity, and kindness, and how do we put it into practice, amidst genders, family, and one another? “From the first word to the last, this story is phenomenal triumph of one woman's body and voice rising up and through a culture that would quiet her.” —Lidia Yuknavitch

    Zaman’s work has been featured in The Guardian, Narratively, The Rumpus, B*tch, VIDA, SHAPE, and The Huffington Post. She was selected as the and serves as serve as Ambassador and Mentor for Girls Inc., Pacific Northwest. Born in Bangladesh, raised in Thailand, and presently residing in Portland, Oregon, she holds a double B.A. in gender studies and theater from Skidmore College.


    February 20, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Iowa City Public Library

    Our February Book Club will be Valeria Luiselli's The Story of my Teeth.
    Valeria Luiselli is one of the most thrilling new voices to come out of Mexico. 

    The Story of my Teeth is her first novel. It's from Coffee House Press. The protagonist announces himself thus—  "I am the best auctioneer in the world. But no one knows it because I am a discreet sort of man."

    "Luiselli crafts beautiful sentences while gleefully thumbing her nose at novelistic conventions. All that makes her an exciting and essential voice on the Latin American literary landscape."

    —Los Angeles Times


    February 22, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Micah Dean Hicks will read from Break the Bodies Haunt the Bones. This genre-crossing novel that portrays changing American towns and vanishing ways of life through contemporary science fiction and fantasy. “Hick’s wildly atmospheric and unsettling debut is a heady fusion of horror, Southern gothic, and timely social commentary… Fans of the macabre will be enthralled.” —Publishers Weekly

    Micah Dean Hicks is the author of Electricity and Other Dreams, a collection of dark fairy tales and bizarre fables that won the 2012 New American Fiction Prize. He is also the winner of the 2014 Calvino Prize judged by Robert Coover, the 2016 Arts and Letters Prize judged by Kate Christensen, and the 2015 Wabash Prize judged by Kelly Link. His stories and essays have appeared in dozens of magazines ranging from the New York Times to Lightspeed to the Kenyon Review. He teaches creative writing at the University of Central Florida in Orlando.


    February 24, 2019 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Author and freelance journalist, Susan Daniels will read from her Fairfield University Book Prize-winning short story collection, The Genuine Stories.  

    “I loved these stories. I love this character. I love this writer. I can’t remember the last time I found a book to be both a total page-turner and also an authentically satisfying literary experience. Susan Daniels is an exciting new talent and The Genuine Stories is a genuine triumph.” —Meghan Daum

    Susan Daniels was born and raised in Philadelphia, and moved to Iowa with her husband and family in 1981. Susan  began her writing career as a columnist for Practical Horseman Magazine when her youngest daughter was attending horse shows, and is the author of the The Horse Show Mom’s Survival Guide.  An MFA graduate of Fairfield University, she is currently a PhD student in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.


    February 27, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Mark Mayer will read from Aerialists: Stories. "A dazzling collection filled with characters who evoke, in their flawed humanity, the strange, sorrowful and ever shimmering world of the circus. Mayer's bittersweet stories are playful, haunting and wonderfully inventive. Read them and be transported." —Mona Awad

    Mark Mayer’s stories have appeared in Granta, Guernica, Colorado Review, and Mid-American Review, and a story from Aerialists is featured in American Short Fiction’s latest issue. He lives in Denver.


    March 1, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Christopher Castellani will read from his new novel, Leading Men.  “With echoes of Tender is the Night andThe Sun Also RisesLeading Men tells the extraordinary love story of Tennessee Williams and Frank Merlo. Castellani elegantly weaves together Merlo's final days with memories of a dramatic (and delicious) Italian summer in 1953 that changes his world forever. Throw in an aging Swedish actress, Truman Capote, Italian cinema and the staging (and script!) of a lost Williams play and you have all the ingredients for a literary page-turner.”—Hannah Tinti

    Christopher Castellani is the author of A Kiss from MaddalenaThe Saint of Lost Things, and All This Talk of Loveand a book on writing, The Art of Perspective. He is the son of Italian immigrants, a Guggenheim fellow, and the artistic director of Grub Street writing center. He lives in Boston.


    March 2, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Tom Barbash will read from The Dakota Wintershis novel of the famous hotel in New York City, during the infamous season in 1979. “The Dakota Wintersis deft, funny, touching, and sharply observed, a marvel of tone, and a skillful evocation of a dark passage in the history of New York City, when all the fearful ironies of the world we live in now first came stalking into view.” —Michael Chabon

    Writers’ Workshop alum Barbash is the author of The Last Good ChanceStay Up With Me, and the NYT bestselling On Top of the World. His work has been published in Tin House, McSweeney's, Virginia Quarterly Review, and has been performed on NPR's Selected Shorts series. He currently teaches in the MFA program at California College of the Arts and lives in Marin County, California. 


    March 3, 2019 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa City children’s author Jacqueline Briggs Martin and illustrator Larry Day will read from and show illustrations from their new book for 3-7 year olds, Bim, Bam, Bop … and Oona. This irresistible read-aloud picture book features a little odd-duck-out who discovers her unique strengths. A tale about being true to yourself, building confidence, and finding friendship, Bim, Bam, Bop . . . and Oona is sure to bring smiles to readers and listeners of all ages. 

    Jacqueline Briggs Martin has published twenty-one books for children, including the 1999 Caldecott winner, Snowflake Bentley. Her book Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Re-mix, which she co-wrote with June Jo Lee, was an Orbus Pictus Honor Book and a Sibert Honor book in 2018. Creekfinding: A True Story, illustrated with Claudia McGehee, was one of the New York Public Library’s 100 Best Books of 2017; it was the Green Earth Award winner in 2018 and a Riverby Award winner. She lives in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

    Larry Day is the award-winning illustrator of many books, both fiction and nonfiction, including Lion, Lion, one of NPR’s Best Books, and Not Afraid of Dogs, winner of the Golden Kite Award. George Did It!received the Monarch Award, and Colonial Voices: Hear Them Speakwon seven state awards, including the Carol Otis Hurst Prize. The Society of Illustrators has awarded Day three gold medals.


    March 6, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Nickolas Butler will read from his new book, Little Faith.  A Wisconsin family grapples with the power and limitations of faith when one of their own falls under the influence of a radical church. “Breathtaking yet devastating.... Butler weaves questions surrounding faith, regret, and whether it’s possible to love unconditionally into every page of this potent book.... This is storytelling at its finest.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He is the author of the novel The Hearts of Men, the internationally bestselling and prizewinning novel Shotgun Lovesongs, and the acclaimed short story collection Beneath the Bonfire. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and their two children.