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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  • FRYE GAILLARD

    March 7, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Journalist Frye Gaillard will read from his recent book A Hard Rain: America in the 1960's, Our Decade of Hope, Possibility, and Innocence Lost, in this special event sponsored by the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program. A deeply personal history of a decade, Gaillard explores the competing story arcs of tragedy and hope through the political, cultural, and social movements of the times, from Malcolm X to Janis Joplin; from Gloria Steinem to James Baldwin. “An enlightening picture of America at a historic juncture.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

    Frye Gaillard is the writer or editor of more than twenty-five books, including Go South to Freedom, The Dream Long Deferred: The Landmark Struggle for Desegregation in Charlotte, North Carolina,and Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement That Changed America. He is former Southern Editor atThe Charlotte Observer, where he covered Charlotte’s landmark school desegregation controversy, the ill-fated ministry of televangelist Jim Bakker, and the funeral of Elvis Presley. Gaillard now lives on the Alabama Gulf Coast.

  • MARK CONWAY & DENISE JARROTT

    March 8, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    Poets Mark Conway and Denise Jarrott will read from their new collections.

    Mark Conway will read from rivers of the driftless regionpublished by Four Directions. “Intensely aware of the ways that violence and humiliation conspire not just to silence voices but also the capacity to think, Mark Conway has written a dazzling quest-rodeo of the inner life.”—Mary Szybist

    Mark Conway is the author of Dreaming Man, Face Down, and Only City. He has received residencies from the MacDowell Colony and the Corporation of Yaddo, a fellowship from the Jerome Foundation, a scholarship from Breadloaf, and won a number of prizes, including the Gerald Cable Book Award, the Aldrich Poetry Competition, and the Grolier Poetry Prize. 

    Former Iowa Citian Denise Jarrott will read from NYMPH. “Ethereal, ephemeral, and utterly macabre, Denise Jarrott's poetry examines the less illuminated nuances of sexuality and animal instinct, conjuring a nymph who defies the myth of object and acts as a guide.”—Freddy LaForce 

    Denise Jarrott grew up in Iowa and is a former Prairie Lights employee and barrista. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The VoltaGigantic SequinsBat City ReviewLVNGPoor Claudia, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Colorado, where she is an MFA candidate at Colorado State University. 

  • AMBER TAMBLYN

    March 10, 2019 - 3:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    For this special Women’s History Month event, founding member of the Time’s Up movement Amber Tamblyn will read from and talk about her new book: Era of Ignition: Coming of Age in a Time of Rage and Revolution. 

    Tamblyn defines an Era of Ignition as “the time of self-reflection that follows in the wake of personal upheaval and leads to a call to action and positive change.” In Era of Ignition, she writes of her own struggle for identity after becoming famous as an actress at a young age, and her Era of Ignition in a larger sense, where she addresses gender inequality and the judgment paradigm, misogyny and discrimination, trauma and the veiled complexities of consent, white feminism and pay parity, reproductive rights and sexual assault.  

    Tamblyn is the author of the poetry volumes Bang Dittoand  Dark Sparkler, and a novel, Any Man. She is  a contributing writer for the New York Times, in addition to being an actor and director. She’s been nominated for an Emmy, Golden Globe, and Independent Spirit Award for her work in television and film, including House M.D. and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Most recently, she wrote and directed the feature film Paint It Black.She lives in New York.

    "Amber is a unique combination–a creative powerhouse as well as a fierce activist and advocate who understands that 'feminist' is not a passive label. Era of Ignition is beautifully written, unflinchingly honest, and laugh-out-loud funny. This is a coming-of-age story that chronicles not only Amber's life and career, but this once-in-a-generation moment when women across America are discovering power and strength we never knew we had." —Cecile Richards

  • SALVATORE SCIBONA

    March 11, 2019 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights

    National Book Award finalist Salvatore Scibona will read from his new novel, The Volunteer. “Scibona exhibits a command of language and demonstrates a knack for dramatizing the tidal pull of history on individual destiny.  The novel accrues real power as its vividly imagined characters try to make sense of an often senseless world. This is a bold, rewarding novel.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

    Salvatore Scibona's first novel,The End, was a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Young Lions Fiction Award. His work has won a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, and a Whiting Award; and the New Yorkernamed him one of its "20 Under 40" fiction writers to watch. He directs the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.    

  • 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.

  • ROZ CHAST & PATTY MARX

    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.