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.
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  • Achy Obejas in conversation with Ana Merino

    October 14, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Achy Objeas to celebrate the release of Boomerang / Bumerán. She will be joined in conversation by Ana Merino.

    The event will be mostly in English with poetry readings in both English and Spanish.

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Juliana Spahr, author of Well Then There Now says of the book, “The much-needed hope that comes with love defines these poems, shapes their lush epiphanies, their celebration of beloveds of all sorts, not just humans but also political convictions and the wide ranging geographies of various cities. These are the poems that we need so much right now as they remind us about the transformative promise that manifests when we brush up against each other and the inclusive, generous world that can come out of those moments."

    Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American writer, translator, and activist whose work focusing on personal and national identity has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Fifth Wednesday Journal, TriQuarterly, Another Chicago Magazine and many other publications. A native of Havana, she currently lives in the San Francisco Bay area.

    Ana Merino is a Full Professor of Hispanic Studies and 2016 Collegiate Scholar. In 2009 Merino left her position at Dartmouth College to create the Spanish MFA program at the University of Iowa. She has published nine books of poems including Preparativos para un viaje (winner of the Adonais Prize in 1994), Los días gemelos (1997), La voz de los relojes (2000), Juegos de niños (winner of the Fray Luis de León Prize in 2003). Her poems have appeared in more than thirty anthologies. Merino has also written fiction, and extensive criticism on comics and graphic novels. She has been invited as visiting Professor to the University of San Gallen (Fall 2012) and to The University of Zurich (Spring 2019).

  • Fermentation Journeys: An Evening with Sandor Katz

    October 18, 2021 - 6:00pm

    Virtual Zoom

    Please join us for an evening with Sandor Katz! Sandor will be discussing his new book, Fermentation Journeys: Recipes, Techniques and Traditions from Around the World along with some show-and-tell from his home kitchen, and ample time for questions about all things fermented.

    Your ticket to this virtual event is free, but you may also purchase a book bundle that includes admission when as well as a copy of his new book, Fermentation Journeys: Recipes, Techniques and Traditions from Around the World .

    **The first 30 people to purchase book bundle ticket will receive a signed copy of Fermentation Journeys: Recipes, Techniques, and Traditions from Around the World AND a copy of Sandor’s 2020 book Fermentation As Metaphor ($60 value)

    **The first 50 people to purchase a book bundle ticket will receive signed copy of Fermentation Journeys: Recipes, Techniques, and Traditions from Around the World

    Free General Admission

    From Sandor Katz—New York Times–bestselling author of The Art of Fermentation and the world’s most respected advocate of all things fermented—comes his first new cookbook in nearly a decade; destined to become a modern classic. For the past two decades, Sandor Katz has traveled the world, both teaching and learning about the many fascinating and delicious techniques for fermenting foods. In his latest book, Sandor Katz’s Fermentation Journeys— a long-awaited follow up to The Art of Fermentation, which has sold more than half a million copies and has been translated into over a dozen languages—he explores the people, places, and ferments from around the globe that have inspired his life’s work.

    Sandor Ellix Katz is a self-taught fermentation experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee. He is the author of two best-selling books: Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation. Through hundreds of fermentation workshops he has taught around the world, he has helped catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. Sandor and his work have appeared on NPR’s “Fresh Air with Terry Gross,” The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian, PBS, The Washington Post, The Financial Times, and numerous other national and international media.


  • Amy Butcher in conversation with Melissa Febos

    November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

    Please join us for a reading from Amy Butcher in conversation with Melissa Febos to celebrate the releases of her book Mothertrucker

    To join this virtual event, register here.

    Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild says of the book "Amy Butcher’s Mothertrucker is both an intimate portrait of an unforgettable woman and a powerful exploration of how the author finds her way to a more courageous life. There’s truth and beauty on every page of this gorgeous and gripping book.

    Amy Butcher is an award-winning essayist and author of the 2015 memoir Visiting Hours (Blue Rider Press / Penguin Random House, 2015) and additional work that has appeared in the New York Times, Granta, Harper’s, The Iowa Review, Lit Hub, Guernica, Brevity, and others. MOTHERTRUCKER is in development to be a major motion picture by Makeready Films, directed by the Primetime Emmy-winning creator of “Transparent” and “I Love Dick,” Joey Soloway, and starring Academy Award and Golden Globe winner Julianne Moore. Excerpts from MOTHERTRUCKER earned a 2020 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, and Amy’s additional work has benefited from awards and grants from the Vermont Studio Center, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Stanley Awards for International Research, and the Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship in Creative Writing from Colgate University. She earned her MFA from the University of Iowa and presently serves as the director of creative writing and an associate professor of English at Ohio Wesleyan University. Amy teaches annually at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the Sitka Fine Arts Camp in Sitka, Alaska, and she lives in Ohio with her three rescue dogs, beautiful beasts.

    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.

  • Amor Towles in conversation with Erik Larson

    November 11, 2021 - 7:00pm

    Virtual Zoom

    Prairie Lights is excited to host Amor Towles in conversation with Erik Larsen to celebrate the release of Towles' new book The Lincoln Highway. The event is in partnership with Viking, Literati, The King's English Bookshop, and Tattered Cover.

    The event will take place on Zoom webinar, November 11th at 7pm CST.

    Tickets include a tip-in, signed hardcover copy of The Lincoln Highway. You can receive your copy either in-store at Prairie Lights or by Media Mail Shipping after the event.

    Get your ticket here

    Kirkus Review says of The Lincoln Highway, “Towles’ third novel is even more entertaining than his much-acclaimed A Gentleman in Moscow . . . A remarkable blend of sweetness and doom, [The Lincoln Highway] is packed with revelations about the American myth, the art of storytelling, and the unrelenting pull of history. An exhilarating ride through Americana.”

    AMOR TOWLES is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Rules of Civility and A Gentleman in Moscow. The two novels have collectively sold more than four million copies and have been translated into more than thirty languages. Towles lives in Manhattan with his wife and two children.

    ERIK LARSON is the author of six New York Times bestsellers, including Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, which hit no. 1 on the Times list soon after launch, and his newest book, The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz.