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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    May 24, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    New York Times-bestselling author of Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work, Austin Kleon will talk about his newest book on creativity, Keep Going!  In this eagerly anticipated new book, Kleon shares life-changing, illustrated encouragement on how to stay creative, focused, and true to yourself in the face of personal burnout or external distractions.

    New York Magazine has called his work “brilliant,” The Atlantic called him “positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet,” and The New Yorker said his poems “resurrect the newspaper when everybody else is declaring it dead.” 

    In addition to his work as an author and speaker, Kleon has worked as a librarian, a web designer, and an advertising copywriter. He lives in Austin, Texas.


    May 29, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Big Grove Brewery & Taproom

    Wright Thompson, ESPN Senior Writer and author of the New York Times best seller, The Cost of These Dreams: Sports Stories and Other Serious Business, will speak at an event at Big Grove Brewery & Taproom, 1225 S. Gilbert St. in Iowa City. The event is sponsored by Think Iowa City. Dan Gable, about whom Thompson has written, will speak with him. Prairie Lights Bookstore will have books on hand to sell. The event is free and open to the public.

    As a sports writer for the Times-Picayune in New Orleans and the Kansas City Star, Thompson covered Super Bowls, Final Fours, The Masters, and The Kentucky Derby. His 2010 article, Ghosts of Mississippi, inspired the 2012 ESPN 30-for-30 documentary film, The Ghosts of Ole Miss, which Thompson also narrated. In 2013, ESPN's Outside the Lines featured Thompsonís writing in the feature The Losses of Dan Gable.


    June 10, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Master of razor-edged literary humor Binnie Kirshenbaum will return to Prairie Lights to read from her first novel in a decade, Rabbits for Food. "Brilliant insight and gleaming prose light up this report from the darkest interior, where Binnie Kirshenbaum's acerbic, grieving, all-too clear-sighted protagonist has become imprisoned by despair. Enduring love is no match here for irremediable loss, but Kirshenbaum conducts us on the journey with steady authorial nerves, high-wire insouciance, quicksilver wit, and limitless compassion."—Deborah Eisenberg

    Binnie Kirshenbaum is the author of seven novels and one short story collection. Her novels have been chosen as Notable Books of the Year by The Chicago Tribune, NPR, TIME, the San Francisco Chronicle, and The Washington Post. Her work has been translated into seven languages. She lives in New York City and is a professor of Creative Writing at Columbia University's School of the Arts.


    June 12, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Igor Volsky will read from and talk about his new book, Guns Down: How to Defeat the NRA and Build a Safer Future with Fewer Guns. Igor Volsky is the co-founder and executive director of Guns Down America, an organization dedicated to building a future with fewer guns. Born in the former Soviet Union, Volsky immigrated to the United States with his family in 1993. After spending years working for progressive change at the Center for American Progress, he made headlines in 2015 for shaming lawmakers who took money from the NRA and sent "thoughts and prayers" after mass shootings. He has appeared on MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, CNBC television, and many radio shows. He lives in Washington, DC. 


    June 17, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduate Lucy Ives will read from Loudermilk. "Ives' satirical masterpiece follows poet Troy Augustus Loudermilk, a shallow Adonis recently admitted to the nation’s premiere creative-writing graduate program, located in the heart of America’s starchy middle . . . Laugh-out-loud funny and rife with keen cultural observations, Ives’ tale is a gloriously satisfying critique of education and creativity." ––Booklist (starred review)

    Lucy Ives is the author of the novel Impossible Views of the World, several poetry collections including The Hermit and Orange Roses, and the novella nineties. Her writing has appeared in Art in America, Artforum, the Baffler, frieze, Granta, Lapham’s Quarterly, Vogue, and at She holds a Ph.D. in comparative literature from NYU, and currently teaches in the MFA program at Ithaca College, as well as at NYU’s XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement Master's program.


    June 18, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    National Book Award Finalist Jamel Brinkley will read from A Lucky Man: Stories. "Each story is a trenchant exploration of race and class, vividly conveying the tension between social codes of masculinity and the vulnerable, volatile self."—The New Yorker

    Jamel Brinkley's stories have appeared in A Public Space, Gulf Coast, and elsewhere. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been a Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellow. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.


    June 20, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Please join us for a very special evening in celebration of Walt Whitman's 200th birthday as editors Ed Folsom, Jim Perlman and Dan Campion read from the new edition of their monumental anthology, Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song. Beginning with Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous 1855 letter ("I greet you at the beginning of a great career..."), this edition charts the continuing responses to Whitman’s work, from Thoreau, Pound, Lawrence, Neruda, and Ginsberg, to Adrienne Rich, Gary Snyder, and Julia Alvarez. 

    Ed Folsom is the Roy J. Carver Professor of English at the University of Iowa, where he edits the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and the Whitman Series for the UIowa Press, and co-directs the online Walt Whitman Archive. 

    Jim Perlman is founding editor and publisher of Holy Cow! Press, which has published over 125 books since 1977. He holds an MA from Iowa where he attended the first Whitman Seminar chaired by Ed Folsom that became the inspiration for Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song.

    Dan Campion, author of Peter De Vries and Surrealismand Calypso has published poetry in Able Muse, Light, Measure, The Midwest Quarterly, The North American Review, Poet Lore, Poetry, Rolling Stone, Shenandoah, and Think. 


    June 23, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    "Jeanette Miller makes a stellar debut in Unscheduled Flights, a collection of poetry that spreads its wings and takes the reader on a journey of the imagination from George’s Bar and Grill to the River Ganges, from the mundane to the mystical. Miller heeds the call of the symbolic crow throughout, that call of unconscious transformation. With the detail, precision and perspective of a visual artist, the poet glides over loves lost and won, youth finally finding its grounding in age." —Mary Swander

    Miller's work has appeared in Caesura, Meanjin, Phoebe, Poet & Critic, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Southern Indiana Review, and WordWrights. She is the winner of a Fellowship to the Vermont Studio Center, Iowa Arts Council First Prize in Poetry, and a Residency at the Norman Mailer Writers' Colony. She lives in Iowa City.

    "With longing, elegiac notes, wry humor, and an Edward Hopper-esque paint brush, Matthew Graham traverses the topography of a life made satisfyingly whole through a steadfast examination of the everyday, the cosmopolitan, and the contemplative. It's a potent combination that reminds me, in this moment of political divisiveness, that unwavering interiority is the first step toward bridging the invisible boundaries that divide us. The Geography of Home marks a poet at the height of his powers: wise, stinging, and wonderfully alive. You have to read these poems."—Marcus Wicker

    Matthew Graham is the author of the previous books of poetry New World Architecture, 1946, and A World Without End, and he is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, Pushcart, the Indiana Arts Commission and the Vermont Studio Center. He lives in Vermont. 

    Both Miller and Graham have MFA's from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.


    June 25, 2019 - 7:00pm

    North Liberty Library

    Prairie Lights and the North Liberty Library proudly present Amor Towles, who will read from and talk about A Gentleman in Moscow  at the North Liberty Library. Tickets for the event are $10, available on eventbrite: 

    Printed tickets, when presented at the event, can be redeemed for $10 off your purchase of A Gentleman in Moscow or The Rules of Civility. 

    Born and raised in the Boston area, Amor Towles graduated from Yale College and received an MA in English from Stanford University. His first novel, Rules of Civility, published in 2011, was a New York Times bestseller and was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the best books of 2011.His second novel, A Gentleman in Moscow, published in 2016, was also a New York Times bestseller and was named as one of the best books of 2016 by the Chicago TribuneThe Washington PostThe Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and NPR. Both novels have been translated into over fifteen languages. Having worked as an investment professional for over twenty years, Mr. Towles now devotes himself full time to writing in Manhattan, where he lives with his wife and two children.