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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    March 25, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Granta Best Young American Novelist Halle Butler will read from her novel The New Me, which follows thirty-year-old Millie as she spends her days dreaming of a full-time job offer, and the realization that follows when the offer finally comes. “A dark comedy of female rage. Halle Butler is a first-rate satirist of the horror show being sold to us as Modern Femininity. She is Thomas Bernhard in a bad mood, showing us the futility of betterment in an increasingly paranoid era of self-improvement. Hilarious.”—Catherine Lacey, author of Nobody Is Ever Missing and The Answers

    Halle Butler is the author of the novel Jillian. She has been named a National Book Award Foundation "5 Under 35" honoree and a Granta Best Young American Novelist. She lives in Chicago.     

  • CECILE RICHARDS in conversation with Monique Galpin

    March 26, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Iowa City Public Library

    Please join us for this special Women's History Month event about learning to lead and make change. Cecile Richards, former president of Planned Parenthood will read from and discuss her new book, Make Trouble:  Stand Up, Speak Out and Find the Courage to Lead. She will be in conversation with Monique Galpin, Iowa City health care advocate.

    Cecile Richards, a "heroine of the resistance (Vogue)", has led a life of activism since wearing a black armband to school to protest the Vietnam War. Daughter of the late Governor Ann Richards, she was raised in ultra-conservative Texas, where her civil rights attorney father and activist mother taught their kids to be troublemakers. Throughout her life, Richards observed not only the rise of women in American politics, but also the pitfalls of public life that are unique to women. Her experiences paint a powerful portrait of the misogyny, sexism, misinformation, and even the threat of violence confronting those who challenge authority. 

    Richards was president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Planned Parenthood Action Fund for more than a decade, and the featured speaker at the Women’s March on Washington. Make Trouble is her story about learning to lead and make change, based on a lifetime of fighting for women’s rights and social justice.

    Monique Galpin is a coordinator for SHPEP, a pipeline program for underrepresented students in health professions. She also serves on the UI African American Council, the Iowa Sickle Cell Symposium Planning Committee, and is an advocate for reproductive rights and a feminist approach to health care.

    Prairie Lights will have copies of Make Trouble for sale at the event.


    March 27, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Andrew Ridker will read from his debut novel The Altruists. On the verge of losing the family home, Arthur invites his children back to St. Louis under the guise of a reconciliation. But in doing so, he unwittingly unleashes a Pandora's box of age-old resentments and long-buried memories. “It's frankly a little unfair that a writer so young should be this talented . . . Andrew Ridker has a sharp eye for the absurdities and contradictions of 21st century America. The Altruists is a truly remarkable debut." —Nathan Hill, author of The Nix

    Andrew Ridker was born in 1991. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review Daily, Boston Review, and The Believer; and he is the editor of Privacy Policy: The Anthology of Surveillance Poetics. He is the recipient of an Iowa Arts Fellowship from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.


    March 28, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Evan James will read from his new novel Cheer Up Mr. Widdicombe, a comedy of manners about an eccentric family and the absurd happenings that befall them during one frenzied summer at their home in the Pacific Northwest. “What a joy to be with the Widdicombes! As funny and charming as a summer party you never want to end.”— Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less

    Evan James’s personal essays and fiction have appeared in The New York Times and Oxford American, among others. He has received fellowships from Yaddo, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, The Carson McCullers Center, The Elizabeth Kostova Foundation, and the Lambda Literary Writers’ Retreat, where he was a 2017 Emerging LGBTQ Voices Fellow. Born in Seattle, he now lives in New York.    


    March 29, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    **20% of book sales will be donated to Planned Parenthood of the Heartland**

    Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz will read from and talk about her new book, Homeland Maternity: US Security Culture and the New Reproductive Regime. “Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz brings into focus the disturbing intersections between reproductive politics and national security in the post-9/11 era. Historically and theoretically informed, Homeland Maternity makes clear that the regulation of women’s bodies is a key weapon in struggles over nationalism, nativism, and the meaning of security."—Bonnie J. Dow, author of Watching Women's Liberation, 1970: Feminism's Pivotal Year on the Network News

    Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz is an assistant professor of communication studies and gender, women's, and sexuality studies at the University of Iowa. She serves on the editorial board of Quarterly Journal of Speech and Women’s Studies in Communication and is the co-author of the textbook Gendered Lives: Communication, Gender, and Culture with Julia T. Wood.


    March 30, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Iowa author and retired UI law professor Nicholas Johnson will read from his recent book, Columns of Democracy. In this call to action, Johnson examines the institutions that are under threat around the world, the “columns” of democracy—which include independent media, K-12 and higher education, independent judges, accessible voting systems, and public libraries. These institutions support both an active citizenry and meaningful checks on executives’ abuses. This book calls Americans to action – with suggestions.  

    Nicholas Johnson is among roughly 700 individuals listed in The Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law, described by the publisher as “leading figures in the history of American law, from the colonial era to the present day.” He is perhaps best known for his tumultuous seven-year term as a Commissioner of the FCC (1966-1973), during which, among other things, he was featured on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine and published How to Talk Back to Your Television Set. He taught at the UI College of Law from 1981 until his retirement in 2014.


    March 31, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Timothy Wise will read from his new book Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food. Few challenges are more daunting than feeding a global population projected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050. Eating Tomorrowuncovers how in country after country, agribusiness has hijacked food policies to feed corporate interests. The world’s hundreds of millions of small-scale farmers can show the way forward as the world warms and population increases. “I recommend Eating Tomorrow to anyone who wants to understand how the industrial food system is destroying our health, biosphere, and food culture.”—Million Belay, coordinator, Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa

    Timothy A. Wise is a senior researcher at the Small Planet Institute, where he directs the Land and Food Rights Program. He is also a senior research fellow at Tufts University’s Global Development and Environment Institute, where he founded and directed its Globalization and Sustainable Development Program. He previously served as executive director of the U.S.-based aid agency Grassroots International. He is also the author of Confronting Globalization: Economic Integration and Popular Resistance in Mexico. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.



    April 9, 2019 - 7:00pm

    The Englert Theatre

    Roz Chast & Patty Marx with special moderator Lauren Haldeman at
    The Englert Theatre on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019 at 7:00 pm 

    Tickets on sale: The Englert Theatre Box Office   221 E. Washington St., Iowa City (319) 688-2653  Hours: Tues-Wed-Fri 12:30-5:30pm  
    $25 ticket includes a reserved seat and a copy of the book at the event. Author & illustrator will sign copies after the event.