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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    August 24, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa author and retired UI law professor Nicholas Johnson will read from his recent book, Catfish Solution: The Power of Positive Poking. Catfish Solution is memoir and story, revelation and explanation, comedy and critique with inspiration to citizen action by a Washington insider who took on the shipping and broadcasting industries.

    Johnson is the author of Columns of Democracy. He has been a TV show host, columnist, congressional candidate, Washington lawyer, and school board member, among other things. Included in The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law as one of 700 individuals described by the publisher as "leading figures in the history of American law, from the colonial era to the present day," he has retired from teaching at the University of Iowa College of Law.


    August 27, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Holy Rover author Lori Erickson will read from her new book, Near the Exit. After her brother died unexpectedly and her mother moved into a dementia-care facility, spiritual travel writer and Episcopal deacon Lori Erickson felt called to a new quest: to face death head on, with the eye of a tourist and the heart of a pastor. Blending memoir, spirituality, and travel, Near the Exit examines how cultures confront and have confronted death, from Egypt's Valley of the Kings and Mayan temples, to a Colorado cremation pyre and Day of the Dead celebrations, to Maori settlements and tourist-destination graveyards. Erickson reflects on mortality—the ways we avoid it, the ways we cope with it, and the ways life is made more precious by accepting it. Erickson is also the author of Iowa Off the Beaten Path, and lives in Iowa City.


    September 4, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    American poet, short story writer, and literary scholar Harryette Mullen will read from her work. Mullen’s work has been influenced by the social, political, and cultural movements of African Americans, Mexican Americans, and women in the 1960s-70s. 

    Harryette Mullen is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Urban TumbleweedRecyclopedia and Sleeping with the Dictionaryand has contributed to numerous edited collections. She teaches in the English department and African American Studies program at the University of California, Los Angeles, and is a visiting lecturer in Poetry at the Writers’ Workshop this Fall. 

    "Harryette Mullen is a magician of words, phrases, and songs . . . No voice in contemporary poetry is quite as original, cosmopolitan, witty, and tragic." —Susan Stewart


    September 5, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate De’Shawn Charles Winslow will read from his new novel, In West MillsSet in an African American community in rural North Carolina from 1941 to 1987, In West Mills is "A bighearted novel about family, migration, and the unbearable difficulties of love. Here's a cast of characters you won't soon forget." —Ayana Mathis

    De'Shawn Charles Winslow was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. He is a 2017 graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and holds a BFA in creative writing and an MA in English literature from Brooklyn College. He lives in New York.


    September 6, 2019 - 5:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Sheri Salata, former executive producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show, will talk about her new book, The Beautiful No: And Other Tales of Trial, Transcendence, and Transformation. Salata will read from the book and share candid insights and lessons from her career and her middle-of-life reinvention. Sarah Gardial, Dean of the Tippie College of Business, will moderate a conversation about the book. 

    "The Beautiful No is a roadmap for transformation —an honest, funny, and soulful look at what it really means to take stewardship over your own existence. This book will bring help and hope to so many people." —Elizabeth Gilbert

    Salata served as Co-President of Harpo Studios and OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network. She is co-host of the podcast series This Is Fifty with Sheri + Nancy, and has been named one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business, The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Entertainment Power 100 was a  2017 Feminist Press Power Award winner. She lives in northern California.


    September 6, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Journalist and debut memoirist Lyz Lenz will read from God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America. She will be joined in a conversation by the Nonfiction Writing Program’s Kerry Howley.  “God Land is a remarkable work of reporting, memoir, and cultural criticism―a blazingly intelligent book exploring the ways that faith can both create and scatter communities in America . . . by turns brutal, lyrical, Biblical, and richly comic . . . offers a frank and perceptive analysis of what is broken, and will remain broken, among communities of faith in the Midwest and across the country.” —Ted Scheinman

    Lyz Lenz is a contributing writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. Her essays and journalism have been published in the New York Times, Buzzfeed, Washington Post, The Guardian, Salon, and more. She also has an essay in the anthology Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture edited by Roxane Gay. Lenz holds an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She lives in Cedar Rapids. 


    September 9, 2019 - 7:00pm

    North Liberty Community Center

    The ticketed event for Amor Towles originally scheduled for June 25th at 7pm at the North Liberty Library has been rescheduled to Sept 9th. Tickets already purchased through eventbrite for the June 25th event are now valid for the Sept 9th event, and printed tickets can be presented at the Sept 9th event for a discount on purchase of the book.

    Ticketholders who would prefer a refund may email Amy Golly agolly@northlibertyiowa.orgor Melanie Harrison mharrison@northlibertyiowa.orgby Friday, August 16 to have a refund issued.

    The author and Prairie Lights apologize for the disappointment and inconvenience caused by the change of plans. Mr. Towles is looking forward to coming to Iowa and is very sorry he is unable to come this summer. Thank you to the North Liberty Library for graciously hosting the event, and for managing the logistics for rescheduling.

    Amor Towles is the author of the NYT Bestselling novels A Gentleman in Moscow, and Rules of Civility. He will read from and talk about A Gentleman in Moscow, and is happy to sign books. Books will be for sale at the event.

    Tickets are available for $10 on eventbrite, and may be printed out to receive $10 off a purchase of either book at the event.

    For additional questions please contact Amy Golly at or Melanie Harrison at