Prairie Lights sprang to life in May 1978 as a small, intimate bookstore offering titles by the newer voices of Raymond Carver and Alice Munro and by established authors like Eudora Welty and George Orwell. As the staff and customers tended the books with care much like a garden, the store grew and blossomed. By 1982 Prairie Lights transplanted itself from South Linn St. to South Dubuque and has gradually spread to three and a half floors, the half being an 1100 square foot coffee house located in the same space that the local literary society met throughout the 1930’s, hosting writers Carl Sandburg, Robert Frost, Sherwood Anderson, Langston Hughes, e e cummings and others. Gertrude Stein and friend Alice B. Toklas were scheduled for a reading but were sleeted in at Waukesha airport– or so the story goes. Perhaps the strength of reputation lies in the reading series of local, national and international writers who have read their works which were broadcast live on stations WSUI and WOI and which was the only regular literary series of its kind. All of this could not have been possible without a loyal customer base and a dedicated staff. We thank our customers for their continued support, and welcome our new customers.
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