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.
rss RSS

  • Mark Prins in conversation with Margot Livesey

    January 27, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Mark Prins to celebrate the release of his new book The Latinist. He will be joined in conversation with author Margot Livesey.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest and Good Company, says of the book "Within the first few pages of this book, I knew I was in the hands of a masterful storyteller. The Latinist is imaginative, propulsive, and wildly intelligent. What a joy to encounter a thrilling and singular new voice in fiction."

    Mark Prins is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of fellowships from the Truman Capote Literary Trust, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

    Margot Livesey is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Flight of Gemma HardyThe House on Fortune StreetBanishing VeronaEva Moves the FurnitureThe Missing WorldCriminals, and Homework. Her work has appeared in the New YorkerVogue, and the Atlantic, and she is the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. The House on Fortune Street won the 2009 L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award. Born in Scotland, Livesey currently lives in the Boston area and is a professor of fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

  • Ana Merino: Illustrating Spain in the US Book Launch

    January 28, 2022 - 6:30pm

    Iowa City Public Library

    Please join us at the Iowa City Public Library to celebrate the release of Ana Merino's new collection Illustrating Spain in the US, a dazzling combination of comics and essays that sheds light on the rich but often overlooked contributions of Spanish immigrants to the political, cultural, and scientific history of the US, translated by Marta González-Cutre and commissioned by Spain Arts and Culture.

    Diplomat Eduardo Garrigues and cartoonist Rayco Pulido resurrect the historical figure of Bernardo de Gálvez, who played a crucial role in the Revolutionary War. Professor James Fernández, Filmmaker Luis Argeo and artists Ana Penyas and Seisdedos bring to life the rollicking immigrant enclave of Tampa, once known as the "Cigar Capital of the World." Professor Estrella de Diego and cartoonist Carla Berrocal shed light on the Spanish actors, screenwriters and musicians who broke into Hollywood and made their mark on American cinema. Professor María Dolores Jiménez-Blanco and cartoonist Max lead readers through the labyrinthine history of Spanish art collecting in the US, and the influence of Spanish art on popular American art movements. And much more! 

    Ana Merino (b. Madrid) is an award-winning writer and a Professor of Spanish Creative Writing and Cultural Studies at the University of Iowa. She has written extensive criticism on comics and graphic novels, has authored two academic books and a monograph on Chris Ware and has curated five comic book exhibitions. She was a member of the ICAF (International Comic Arts Forum) Executive Committee from 2001–2011 and a Directors Board founder member at The Center for Cartoon Studies from 2004–2014. She currently lives in Iowa.

    Marta González-Cutre is a freelance translator, proofreader, and professor of English based in the Canary Islands. She has a Masters in International Business Management from the Center of Economic and Commercial Studies.


  • Heather Gudenkauf in conversation with Hannah Mary McKinnon

    February 1, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Heather Gudenkauf to celebrate the release of her new book The Overnight Guest.  She will be joined in conversation with Hannah Mary McKinnon.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Liv Constantine, international bestselling author of The Last Mrs. Parrish, says of the book, “Heather Gudenkauf is a master of suspense. Weaving together three narratives in an explosive and shocking denouement, The Overnight Guest will have you glued to the page and leave you wanting more.”

    We will have a supply of signed-copies of The Overnight Guest in-store. Heather Gudenkauf will also be available to personally inscribe copies in-store upon request. 

    Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound.  Heather lives in Iowa with her family.

    Hannah Mary McKinnon was born in the UK, grew up in Switzerland and moved to Canada in 2010. After a successful career in recruitment, she quit the corporate world in favor of writing. She now lives in Oakville, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is delighted by her twenty-second commute.


  • Lan Samantha Chang: The Family Chao

    February 6, 2022 - 2:00pm

    The Englert Theater

    Please join us at the Englert Theater for a reading, Q/A, and book signing with Lan Samantha Chang to celebrate the release of her new book The Family Chao. 

    This event is FREE and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase at the event.

    **The Engert Theater requires all patrons to wear masks and provide proof of vaccination**

    Bestselling author Jane Kwok says of the book, "Lan Samantha Chang’s The Family Chao is a modern-day Brothers Karamazov, a gorgeous and gripping literary mystery that leads the reader into a hall of mirrors, reflecting with its kaleidoscopic vision themes like family, betrayal, passion, race, culture and the American Dream. Devastating and searing, laugh-out-loud funny and profound, Chang’s latest novel is infused with beautiful, evocative writing that will quicken your heart and mind. A masterpiece."

    Lan Samantha Chang is the award-winning author of the collection Hunger and the novels The Family ChaoInheritance and All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost. A recent Berlin Prize Fellow, she also has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. Chang is the first Asian American and the first female director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She lives in Iowa City.

  • Andrew Steele in conversation with Michelle Buhman

    February 7, 2022 - 1:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Prairie Lights and the Iowa City Senior Center are proud to present a conversation with Andrew Steele to celebrate the paperback release of his book Ageless: The New Science of Getting Older Without Getting Old. He will be joined in conversation with Michelle Buhman.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    The Economist says the book, “Whether or not readers are persuaded that ageless humans could ever be more than a theoretical possibility—and it is a stretch—this book will convince them that discounting the theoretical possibility altogether is based on nothing but prejudice. . . [Scientists] have many tools at their disposal, [and Steele] evaluates them expertly and with verve.”

    After obtaining a PhD in physics from the University of Oxford, ANDREW STEELE decided that ageing was the most important scientific challenge of our time and switched fields to computational biology. He worked at the Francis Crick Institute, using machine learning to decode our DNA and predict heart attacks using patients' medical records. He is now a full-time science writer and presenter based in London. He has appeared on Discovery and the BBC.

    Michelle Buhman has an MS in Gerontology and teaches the Psychology of Aging at the University of Iowa when she is not working at the Iowa City Senior Center

  • EDUCATED: An Evening with Tara Westover and Natalie Portman

    February 8, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Virtual Zoom

    Please join #1 New York Times bestselling author Tara Westover and Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman for a special, one-night-only virtual event celebrating the paperback launch of Educated: A Memoir on Tuesday, February 8 at 8:00 p.m. ET. on Zoom.Your ticket includes admission to this exclusive event, and a paperback copy of Educated.

    You can find more information and get tickets here.

    “Westover has somehow managed not only to capture her unsurpassably exceptional upbringing, but to make her current situation seem not so exceptional at all, and resonant for many others.”The New York Times Book Review




  • Renée Branum in conversation with Jessie Gaynor

    February 10, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Renée Branum to celebrate the release of her new book Defenestrate . She will be joined in conversation by Jessie Gaynor.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Annie Hartnett, author of RABBIT CAKE and LITTLE ANIMALS, calls the book, “Gorgeously written and imaginative, Defenestrate is a beautiful novel about the family stories we tell and how they echo on through generations. Rich and intimate, this novel will stay with me.”

    Renée Branum has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Montana and an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where she was a Truman Capote Fellow. Her work has appeared in The Georgia Review, Narrative Magazine, The Gettysburg Review, Brevity, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Best American Nonrequired Reading, among others. She was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Prose Fellowship in 2020. She currently lives in Cincinnati, where she is pursuing a PhD in Fiction.

    Jessie Gaynor is a Senior Editor at Literary Hub. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her writing has appeared in The New YorkerThe Paris Review Daily, McSweeney's, and elsewhere. Her debut novel is forthcoming from Random House. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and daughter. 


  • Grace Lavery in conversation with Melissa Febos

    February 11, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Prairie Lights and the University of Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program are proud to present a conversation with Grace Lavery to celebrate the release of her book Please Miss: A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Penis. She will be joined in conversation with Melissa Febos.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Melissa Febos says the book, “Please Miss is a wickedly smart and filthily funny mosaic of criticism, memoir, and autofiction that is refreshingly avant-garde, profoundly erotic, and as enthralling as an intimate all-night conversation with the brainy high femme BFF you wish you had. I wish it upon everyone.”

    Grace Lavery is an associate professor of English at University of California, Berkeley. A prominent public intellectual and activist, she has contributed to the Los Angeles Review of BooksAutostraddle, the New InquiryThem, the GuardianForeign Policy, and Slate. She’s been sober since January 2016 and “full time” as a trans person since March 2018. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

    Melissa Febos is the author of the memoir Whip Smart and two essay collections: Abandon Me and Girlhood. The inaugural winner of the Jeanne Córdova Nonfiction Award from LAMBDA Literary and the recipient of fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The BAU Institute, Vermont Studio Center, The Barbara Deming Foundation, and others; her essays have appeared in The Paris Review, The Believer, McSweeney's Quarterly, Granta, Sewanee Review, Tin House, The Sun, and The New York Times. She is an associate professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program.

  • A Reading and Conversation with Natashia Deón

    February 17, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Renée Branum to celebrate the release of her new book The Perishing. 

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times Book Review, says of the book,  "A supple exploration of life in 1930s Los Angeles as well as a moving meditation on the Black American experience in the 20th century . . . Deón’s prose is beautiful, and the voice animating The Perishing is heartfelt . . . A vibrant, immersive world that’s worth spending time in, learning and remembering.“

    Natashia Deón  is an NAACP Image Award Nominee, practicing criminal attorney, and college professor. A Pamela Krasney Moral Courage Fellow, Deón is the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel, Grace, which was named a Best Book by The New York Times. Deón has been awarded fellowships by PEN America, Prague Summer Program for Writers, Dickinson House in Belgium, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

    Conversation partner TBA.

  • Reading and conversation with Bela Shayevich

    February 23, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with current Nonfiction Writing Program MFA candidate Bela Shayevich to celebrate the release of her new translation of Yevgeny Zamyatin's We: A Novel

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    The New York Times Book Review says of the book,  “Though there have been numerous excellent translations of We, Shayevich’s best preserves the experimental qualities of Zamyatin’s writing. . . . With its sharp, uneven edges and chaotic originality, Zamyatin’s novel exposes the notion that human creativity is something that can be quantified, churned into an algorithm and sold as exact science for the fiction that it is.”

    Bela Shayevich  is a visual artist, writer, and translator best known for Svetlana Alexievich’s  Secondhand Time . She also co-translated Soviet underground poet Vsevolod Nekrasov’s  I Live I See, with Ainsley Morse , which was published by Ugly Duckling Presse, and edited Victoria Lomasko’s  Other Russias  (translated by Thomas Campbell). Her latest book is a translation of Yevgeny Zamyatin's We, released in the United States in 2021. She is currently a student in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa.