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.  

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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  • All Iowa Reads: Rachel Mans McKenny

    October 14, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Established in 2003, the purpose of All Iowa Reads is to foster a sense of unity through reading. Iowans are encouraged to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same calendar year. The 2022 All Reads selection is Rachel Mans McKenny's The Butterfly Effect. 

    Rachel Mans McKenny is a writer and humorist from the Midwest, recently published in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Elle Magazine, Electric Lit, The Rumpus, and The New York Times. She also co-hosts the literary matchmaking podcast Blind Date with a BookThe Butterfly Effect is her first novel.

    “Delightfully off-kilter…[Lovably-flawed] Greta’s comically critical point of view interrogates Midwestern norms and gendered stereotypes in a story that explores the legacy of familial dysfunction. Come for the butterflies, and stay for Mans McKenny’s acerbic authorial eye which examines the complexities of the Midwest and its quiet dramas.”
    Rachel Yoder, award-winning author of Nightbitch

  • International Writing Program Sunday Reading Series

    October 16, 2022 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

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

  • Rebecca Rukeyser in conversation with Rachel Yoder

    October 17, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Rebecca Rukeyser in celebration of the release of her book The Seaplane on Final Approach. She will be joined in conversation by Rachel Yoder.

    Rebecca Rukeyser is the recipient of the inaugural Berlin Senate grant for non-German literature. Her fiction has appeared in such publications as ZYZZYVA, The Massachusetts Review, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. She earned her M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and teaches fiction writing at Bard College Berlin.  

    Rachel Yoder is the author of Nightbitch (Doubleday), her debut novel released in July 2021. She is a graduate of the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program and also holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Arizona. She now lives in Iowa City with her husband and son.

    Funded by Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

  • Tom Philpott in conversation with Silvia Secchi and Chris Jones

    October 18, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Tom Philpott in celebration of the release of his book Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It. He will be joined in conversation by Silvia Secchi and Chris Jones.

    Tom Philpott has been the food and agriculture correspondent for Mother Jones since 2011. Previously, he covered food as a writer and editor for the environmental-news website Grist. Philpott's work on food politics has appeared in the New York Times, Newsweek, and the Guardian, among other places. From 2004 to 2012, he farmed at Maverick Farms in Valle Crucis, NC. He lives in North Carolina and Austin, Texas.

    Silvia Secchi is a professor in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Science at the University of Iowa. She holds a PhD in economics from Iowa State University. Her work focuses on the interface between agriculture and the environment, particularly water and carbon, and typically combines interdisciplinary collaborations from the social sciences, the natural sciences and engineering.

    Chris Jones is a research engineer at IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering at the University of Iowa. His research focuses on contaminant hydrology in agricultural landscapes, water monitoring, and municipal drinking water supply. He worked previously at Des Moines Water Works and the Iowa Soybean Association. Chris holds a PhD in Analytical Chemistry from Montana State University and a BA in Chemistry and Biology from Simpson College in Indianola.

  • Heather Altfeld and Troy Jollimore

    October 19, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading with Heather Altfeld and Troy Jollimore. Heather will read from her book Post-Mortem (Orison Books, 2021), winner of the Orison Books Prize and Troy will read from his book Earthly Delights (Princeton University Press, 2021). 

    Heather Altfeld is a poet and essayist.  Her two books of poetry are Post-Mortem (Orison Books, 2021) and The Disappearing Theatre (Poets at Work, 2016). Her work is featured in the 2019 Best American Essays, Orion Magazine, Conjunctions, Aeon Magazine, Narrative Magazine, and others. She was the 2017 recipient of the Robert H. Winner Award with the Poetry Society of America and the 2015 recipient of the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry.

    Troy Jollimore’s poetry collections include Earthly Delights, Syllabus of Errors, which was chosen by the New York Times as one of the ten best poetry books of 2015, and Tom Thomson in Purgatory, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award. His writings have appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Book Review, McSweeney’s, Kenyon Review, Zyzzyva, Conjunctions, and Best American Poetry 2020. He has received fellowships from the Stanford Humanities Center, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He is also the author of two books of philosophy: Love’s Vision and On Loyalty.

  • Margo Price

    October 22, 2022 - 2:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Country singer Margo Price will read from and talk about her new memoir, Maybe We'll Make It.  

    Margo Price is a Nashville-based singer-songwriter. She has released three LPs, earned a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist, and performed on Saturday Night Live, and is the first female musician to sit on the board of Farm Aid.

    When Margo Price was nineteen years old, she dropped out of college and moved to Nashville to become a musician. She busked on the street, played open mics, and even threw out her TV so that she would do nothing but write songs. She met Jeremy Ivey, a fellow musician who would become her closest collaborator and her husband. But after working on their craft for more than a decade, Price and Ivey had no label, no band, and plenty of heartache.

    Maybe We’ll Make It is a memoir of loss, motherhood, and the search for artistic freedom in the midst of the agony experienced by so many aspiring musicians: bad gigs and long tours, rejection and sexual harassment, too much drinking and barely enough money to live on. Price, though, refused to break, and turned her lowest moments into the classic country songs that eventually comprised the debut album that launched her career. In the authentic voice hailed by Pitchfork for tackling "Steinbeck-sized issues with no-bullshit humility," Price shares the stories that became songs, and the small acts of love and camaraderie it takes to survive in a music industry that is often unkind to women. Now a Grammy-nominated “Best New Artist,” Price tells a love story of music, collaboration, and the struggle to build a career while trying to maintain her singular voice and style.

    “Margo's book hits you right in the gut—and the heart—just like her songs.” -Willie Nelson

  • International Writing Program Sunday Reading Series

    October 23, 2022 - 4:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

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

  • The Tuesday Agency Presents: Amber Tamblyn lecture and book signing, featuring discussion with Rachel Yoder

    October 24, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Riverside Theatre (now located at 119 E College St, Iowa City, IA)

    $18 Ticketed Event - Click HERE for tickets!  Please join us with the Tuesday Agency for a special reading and signing by Amber Tamblyn! Tamblyn will talk about her new book, and be joined in conversation by Rachel Yoder.

    Listening in the Dark: Women Reclaiming the Power of Intuition breathes new life into an ancient wisdom by taking a fresh and powerful look at our relationship to intuition and how we can harness it to change our everyday lives and the world.

    This remarkable anthology includes essays from Jessica Valenti, Lidia Yuknavitch, Jia Tolentino, Samantha Irby, Meredith Talusan, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Amy Poehler, America Ferrera, Ada Limón, Huma Abedin and many others, who all share how intuition has helped to shape and alter their life choices.

    Amber Tamblyn is a writer, director, producer, and actor. She is passionate in her fight for women’s rights as an unrelenting voice in the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements. Listening in the Dark is her seventh book. 

    Rachel Yoder is the author of Nightbitch (Doubleday), her debut novel released in July 2021. She is a graduate of the Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program and also holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Arizona. With Mark Polanzak, she is a founding editor of draft: the journal of process. She lives in Iowa City.

    Ticket proceeds will go to the Emma Golman Clinic.  Prairie Lights will have books for sale at the event.

  • Mary Helen Stefaniak

    October 25, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Mary Helen Stefaniak in celebration of the release of her book The Six-Minute Memoir: Fifty-Five Short Essays on Life (University of Iowa Press, 2022). 

    "The Six-Minute Memoir is a great pointillistic painting of a book," says author John McNally. "Up close, you admire the details inside each dot--a snowy night at the Drake, the troubling foundation of a 150-year old house, a murky ultrasound of the heart--but when you stand back, taking in the whole of it, the bigger picture emerges: an oft-neglected region of the country, a family lineage, a writer's life. Mary Helen Stefaniak has written an irresistibly likeable, slyly funny, and addictive memoir."

    Mary Helen Stefaniak is a writer of fiction and essays whose work has appeared in many publications, including The Iowa Review, EPOCH, The Yale Review, AGNI, and The Antioch Review, and in several anthologies, including New Stories from the South: The Year's Best 2000 & 2006 (Algonquin Books) and A Different Plain (University of Nebraska Press). She has also served as a commentator on Iowa Public Radio, a columnist for The Iowa Source, and a contributing editor for The Iowa Review. About The World of Pondside, her latest novel, Booklist said: "Stefaniak infuses an often forbidding environment with joy and dignity in this Agatha Christie-esque cyber caper." She teaches in the M.F.A. program in writing at Pacific University in Oregon.

  • Adam Soto in conversation with Nickolas Butler

    October 27, 2022 - 7:00pm

    Prairie Lights Bookstore

    Please join us for a reading and conversation with Adam Soto in celebration of the release of his book Concerning Those Who Have Fallen Asleep: Ghost Stories (Astra House, 2022). He will be joined in conversation by Nickolas Butler.

    Adam Soto is the author of This Weightless World, longlisted for Best Debut Novel 2021 by Locus Magazine, and Concerning Those Who Have Fallen Asleep: Ghost Stories. A former Michener-Copernicus Foundation Fellow, he holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He lives with his wife in Austin, TX, where he is a teacher, a musician, and the web editor of American Short Fiction.

    Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, and educated at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He has published four books and is currently at work on another novel, this one set in the mountains of the American West. He is married and lives with his wife and two children on sixteen acres of land adjacent to a buffalo farm in rural Wisconsin.