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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    October 4, 2019 - 5:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    Writers’ Workshop graduates Daniel Poppick and Jessica Laser will read from their work. Jessica Laser will read from Sergei Kuzmich from All Sides, published by Letter Machine Editions.  “Finally an oracle with a gorgeous sense of humor. Jessica Laser's vision is singular, her voice at once formidable and intimate. Its impeccable wit imparts a bracing metaphysics”- Margaret Ross.  Laser is also the author of two chapbooks. She lives in Berkeley, California, where she is currently a PhD student in English.

    Daniel Poppick will read from Fear of Description, published by Penguin, selected by Brenda Shaughnessy for the National Poetry Series. "In Fear of Description, Daniel Poppick, like many of the most interesting writers of our time, folds the labor of writing into the content of his poetry, stirs it around, and comes up with something genuinely free. The wildness of his lines had me amazed and grateful." --Lucy Ives 

    Poppick is also the author of The Police. He lives in Brooklyn, where he works as a copywriter and co-edits the Catenary Press with Rob Schlegel and Rawaan Alkhatib. 


    October 5, 2019 - 10:00am

    Prairie Lights

    The Iowa City Book Festival Presents Eileen Pollack, who will read from her new novel based loosely on Unabomber Ted Kaczinski, The Professor of Immortality. "A Perfect Life probes how we live in the face of uncertainty and the ways risk can both disable and empower us. In her latest novel, Eileen Pollack has crafted a tender exploration of family love that is as smart and thought-provoking as it is moving."--Celeste Ng

    A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Pollack is the author of the novels The Bible of Dirty Jokes and A Perfect Life. Her essay, “Pigeons,” was selected by Cheryl Strayed for the 2013 edition of the Best American Essays. A longtime faculty member and former director of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan, Pollack now lives and works in Manhattan.


    October 5, 2019 - 11:30am

    Prairie Lights

    The Iowa City Book Festival presents Kendra Allen, winner of the Iowa Prize in Literary Nonfiction, who will read from her essay collection When You Learn the Alphabet.  "Kendra Allen's When You Learn the Alphabet is a roaring meditation on what black daughters in our nation do with what and how they've been taught. The book brilliantly animates the formal and informal education processes of becoming grown in America.” -- Kiese Laymon

    Kendra Allen’s work has been published in Brevity, December Magazine, and the Rumpus.

    She was born and raised in Dallas, Texas, and is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. 


    October 5, 2019 - 1:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Iowa City Book Festival presents Nouyo Rosa Tshuma, who will read from House of Stone. “With luminous language, Novuyo Rosa Tshuma explores the treacherous terrain of colonization and decolonization, remembering and forgetting, and love and betrayal. The result is a gripping account of revolution and its aftermath, both for a country and for one man.” - Viet Thanh Nguyen

    Novuyo Rosa Tshuma grew up in Zimbabwe and lives in Houston, Texas. Her short story collection, Shadows, won the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize and was longlisted for the 2014 Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her writing is included in an anthology of refugee writers, Displaced, which was edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and serves on the editorial advisory board and is a fiction editor at the Bare Life Review, a journal of refugee and immigrant literature based in San Francisco.



    October 5, 2019 - 2:30pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Iowa City Book Festival presents Donika Kelly and Melissa Febos, who will read from their work.  2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize-winner and 2016 National Book Award long-listed poet Donika Kelly will read from Bestiary: Poems.  “What a gorgeous book of poems. The love poems, in particular, are striking with unexpected ideas and imagery coalescing into poetry about this thing called love. . . . This one, I savored.”―Roxane Gay

    Donika Kelly’s poems have appeared in Hayden's Ferry Review, Indiana Review, and West Branch. She is currently a lecturer in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program at the University of California, Davis. 

    Melissa Febos will read from her work. “Febos brings a relentless curiosity and startling intimacy to the page . . . With her careful observations and introspection, she transcends isolation and captures the boundless nature of human emotion.” - LAMBDA Literary

    Febos is the author of the acclaimed memoir, Whip Smart, and the essay collection, Abandon Me, which was a LAMBDA Literary Award finalist, a Publishing Triangle Award finalist, an Indie Next Pick, and was widely named a best book of 2017. Her third book, Girlhood, is forthcoming from Bloomsbury in 2021. She is an associate professor and graduate director at Monmouth University


    October 5, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    The Iowa City Book Festival presents Lisa Tetrault, who will talk about her book The Myth of Seneca Falls: Memory and the Women's Suffrage Movement, 1848-1898. “This provocative work challenges the standard narrative of the history of the women's rights movement in the United States. Even more important, however, it aids readers in understanding how collective historical memory is created and shaped. . . . Fascinating. . . . Recommended for scholars in women's history, constitutional history, and late 19th-century American history.”-- Library Journal

    Tetrault lectures widely, and in 2019, she delivered the National Portrait Gallery’s Votes for Women Exhibit keynote address. She is a recipient of fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard.  An Iowa City native, she now lives in Pittsburgh, PA. This event is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

  • IWP

    October 6, 2019 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights

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

  • GRACE TALUSAN in conversation with SHIRLEY WANG

    October 7, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Grace Talusan will read from ​The Body Papers: A Memoir, winner of The Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing​.​ “Equal parts compassion and confession, ​The Body Papers​ is a stunning work by a powerful new writer who—like the best memoirists—transcends the personal to speak on a universal level.” —Celeste Ng

    Grace Talusan​ was born in the Philippines and raised in New England. She is the recipient of a U.S. Fulbright Fellowship to the Philippines and an Artist Fellowship Award from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. At Tufts University, she teaches in the English Department and Tisch College of Civic Life. She is a longtime member and teacher at Grub Street, an independent creative writing center. She lives outside of Boston. 

    Shirley Wang is an audio journalist who has reported on issues of diaspora, communities, and culture. She lives in Iowa City.


    October 8, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    New York Times best-selling author William Kent Krueger will read from his new novel, This Tender Land.  "A picaresque tale of adventure during the Great Depression. Part Grapes of Wrath, part Huckleberry Finn, Krueger's novel is a journey over inner and outer terrain toward wisdom and freedom." -- Minneapolis Star Tribune

    William Kent Krueger is the author of Ordinary Grace, winner of the Edgar Award for best novel, as well as eighteen Cork O'Connor novels, including Desolation Mountain and Sulfur Springs. He lives in the Twin Cities


  • REBECCA TRAISTER at Iowa City Public Library

    October 9, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Iowa Ciy Public Library

    New York Times-bestselling author Rebecca Traister will read from Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger. Good and Mad was a Best Books of 2018 selection by The Washington Post, People, NPR, Esquire, Elle, Wired, and Refinery 29.

    “In a year when issues of gender and sexuality dominated the national conversation, no one shaped that exchange more than Rebecca Traister. Her wise and provocative columns helped make sense of a cultural transformation.”—National Magazine Award Citation, 2018

    Rebecca Traister is writer at large for New York magazine and a contributing editor at Elle. A National Magazine Award finalist, she has written about women in politics, media, and entertainment from a feminist perspective for The New Republic and Salon and has also contributed to The Nation, The New York Observer, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Vogue, Glamour and Marie Claire. She is the author of All the Single Ladies and the award-winning Big Girls Don't Cry. She lives in New York.

    “The most brilliant voice on feminism in this country.”—Anne Lamott