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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    September 23, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Books

    UI Professor of American History Colin Gordon will talk about his new book, Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy, and Inequality in the St. Louis Suburbs.  Citizen Brown explores the long backstory to the death of Michael Brown in 2014, looking at the conditions and circumstances faced by African-Americans living in the suburbs of St. Louis. “Gordon creates a compelling and well-documented account of the ways in which local governments first refuse to provide services to certain neighborhoods and then use that lack of services as evidence of blight and grounds for slum clearance. He then offers an excellent, structural explanation for Michael Brown's murder that is linked to this same connection between public services and local policy."--Jessica Trounstine

    Colin Gordon is also the author of Growing Apart: A Political History of American Inequality, Mapping Decline: St. Louis and the Fate of the American City, Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health in Twentieth Century America, and New Deals: Business, Labor and Politics, 1920-1935.  


    September 24, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Books

    Christopher Kondrich and Lauren Haldeman will read from their collections of poetry.

    Christopher Kondrich will read from Valuing, which was selected by Jericho Brown as a winner of the National Poetry Series. “In Valuing Christopher Kondrich fashions startling, arresting images and fabulous metaphors that are all the more startling, arresting, and fabulous because they're so functional to the overflowing reality and profundity of his poems. He has an excellent mind accompanied by an exuberant imagination.--Vijay Seshadri

    Kondrich is the author of Contrapuntal and a winner of the Iowa Review Award for Poetry and the Paris-American Reading Series Prize. His poetry appears or is forthcoming in the Believer, Boston Review, Conjunctions, Crazyhorse, Harvard Review, Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Witness, and other publications. An associate editor for 32 Poems, he lives and works in Maryland.

    Iowa City poet Lauren Haldeman will read from Instead of Dying, which was the winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry. “Each of the seven sections of Instead of Dying delivers singular shocks and unanswerable questions. Guided by great figures in the history of science, these poems court the mystery lying beyond the precision of language and symbols in ‘the spell of the world pouring down.’ Lauren Haldeman’s writing opens us toward the work of mourning. Did I say work? Rather call it song.” —Susan Howe

    Lauren Haldeman is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She is also the author of the poetry collection Calenday and chapbook The Eccentricity Is Zero. She is a recipient of the Iowa Artist Fellowship, the Sustainable Arts Foundation Award, the Colorado Prize for Poetry. Her work has appeared in Tin House, Colorado Review, Fence, The Iowa Review and The Rumpus. A comic book artist, illustrator, and poet, she has taught in the United States as well as internationally.




    September 26, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Books

    IWP alum and one of India’s most celebrated young writers, Chandrahas Choudhury, will read from his new novel, Clouds. Clouds illuminates the inner lives of characters forging their own paths in the great metropolis and shows a vast, prismatic portrait of modern India in all its tumult and glory. “Chandrahas Choudhury is one of the most clever and quirky, lively and witty of India’s new generation of novelists. Clouds signals the blossoming of a major new talent‘.-- William Dalrymple

    Chandrahas Choudhury is the author of Arzee the Dwarf, and the editor of the anthology India: A Traveler’s Literary Companion. His essays on literature, travel, and politics appear regularly in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Condé Nast Traveller, and Mint. A long-time resident of Bombay, he now lives in Delhi.



    September 27, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Books

    Writers’ Workshop graduate and co-founder of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio Cara Wall will read from and talk about her new novel, The Dearly Beloved.  "God and literary fiction don't always get along; perhaps that's why Cara Wall's The Dearly Beloved, a thoughtful debut that follows the lives of two ministers and their wives, feels so galvanizing. Its four characters get equal voice--Charles, son of a rigid academic; Lily, orphaned as a child; James, born into family hardship; Nan, a well-adjusted minister's daughter--as they go to college, get married, find their callings, and weather tragedies. .. Here is the power of the novel in its simplest, richest form: bearing intimate witness to human beings grappling with their faith and falling in love....The best book about faith in recent memory." --ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY 

    In addition to teaching creative writing, Wall has also taught middle school English and history and has been published by Glamour, Salon, and the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in New York City with her family and The Dearly Beloved is her first novel. 


  • IWP

    September 29, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights Books

    Join us for the Sunday International Writing Program Prairie Lights Reading Series to hear some of this years’ IWP residents read from their work.


    September 30, 2019 - 12:00pm

    The Iowa City Book Festival will take place at various venues in Iowa City and Coralville from  Sept 30th - Oct 6th. For the full schedule of events, visit the Iowa City Book Festival website:


  • PAUL ENGLE PRIZE at Coralville Public Library

    October 1, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Coralville Public Library

    The Iowa City Book Festival presents the 2019 Paul Engle Prizewinners poets Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady.  The prize, established in 2011, honors an individual who, like Paul Engle, represents a pioneering spirit in the world of literature through writing, editing, publishing,

    or teaching, and whose active participation in the larger issues of the day has contributed to the betterment of the world through the literary arts.  Derricotte and Eady co-founded Cave Canem, a non-profit literary service organization, in 1996 to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape.  Prairie Lights will have books by Derricotte and Eady for sale at the event.


  • JOHN SANDFORD at Iowa City Public Library

    October 2, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Iowa City Public Library

    The Iowa City Book Festival presents bestselling mystery author John Sandford. When John Sandford first walked the streets of Iowa City, he was known as John Camp, an aspiring journalist who was attending the journalism program at the University of Iowa. He returns as a Pulitzer Prize-winner and a New York Times bestselling mystery author. The Cedar Rapids native is the author of 40 novels, including 29 in the Lucas Davenport Prey series, and 11 in the Virgil Flowers series. Sandford will discuss the latest in the Flowers series, Bloody Genius, in conversation with City of Literature Executive Director John Kenyon.

  • RAJ PATEL at the Englert Theater Sponsored by SILT

    October 2, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Englert Theater

    The Sustainable Iowa Land Trust (SILT) presents Raj Patel, who will discuss his latest work, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet.  Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: at a time of crisis in all seven cheap things, innovative and systemic thinking is urgently required. This book proposes a radical new way of understanding--and reclaiming--the planet in the turbulent twenty-first century.

    Patel will also show rough cuts from his latest documentary film, a story of community activists from one of the world’s poorest countries traveling the U.S. to talk to farmers, advocates and policymakers about climate change. Patel’s talk is presented by SILT.  Prairie Lights will sell books at the event.

  • KEI MILLER at Iowa City Public Library

    October 3, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Iowa Ciy Public Library

    The Iowa City Book Festival presents Jamaican poet and novelist Kei Miller, who is an Ida Beam scholar visiting the UI’s International Writing Program. Miller is the author of the novel Augustown, two previous novels, several poetry collections, and a collection of short stories.  He was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for Best First Book, he won the Forward Prize for Best Poetry Collection. He lives in London and teaches creative writing at Royal Holloway, University of London.