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Prairie Lights Bookstore

April 2019

PUBLISHING REIMAGINED

FREE

The Publishing Reimagined panel highlights independent presses and individuals who are bringing groundbreaking innovations to the presentation of literary work, including novelist Maxwell Neely-Cohen’s visual poetry synthesizer, the vinyl record-only poetry label Fonograf Editions, and PromptPress, which uses original work from visual artists and writers as a launchpad for creative responses. Doors open at 3:30 p.m.

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June 2019

Ed Folsom, Jim Perlman, & Dan Campion Reading @ Prairie Lights

June 20 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Please join us for a very special evening in celebration of Walt Whitman's 200th birthday as editors Ed Folsom, Jim Perlman and Dan Campion read from the new edition of their monumental anthology, Walt Whitman: The Measure of His Song. Beginning with Ralph Waldo Emerson's famous 1855 letter ("I greet you at the beginning of a great career..."), this edition charts the continuing responses to Whitman’s work, from Thoreau, Pound, Lawrence, Neruda, and Ginsberg, to Adrienne Rich, Gary Snyder, and Julia…

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Jeanette Miller & Matthew Graham @ Prairie Lights

June 23 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

"Jeanette Miller makes a stellar debut in Unscheduled Flights, a collection of poetry that spreads its wings and takes the reader on a journey of the imagination from George’s Bar and Grill to the River Ganges, from the mundane to the mystical. Miller heeds the call of the symbolic crow throughout, that call of unconscious transformation. With the detail, precision and perspective of a visual artist, the poet glides over loves lost and won, youth finally finding its grounding in age." —Mary…

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Michael S. Lewis-Beck @ Prairie Lights

June 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Iowa City poet and political scientist, Michael Lewis-Beck will read from his new collection of poems, Rural Routes.  "The people that Mike Lewis-Beck conjures in Rural Routes are so enmeshed in their landscapes that where they are and who they are flicker so quickly as to become one continuous light. This is the glow of the all-night diner, the lunar light of eggs. Summer storms, lightning bugs in a jar, a faint dawn 'but enough to navigate our fall field of corn.' This is…

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Caleb Rainey @ Prairie Lights

June 25 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Spoken word poet Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey, will present his new book, Look, Black Boy. In his debut poem collection, Rainey explores racial tensions in America from the perspective of a young Black male. Rainey hails from Columbia, Missouri, and holds a bachelors degree in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Iowa. He co-founded the literary magazine Black Art; Real Stories, and has been published in the Little Village Magazine. As a performer he is the winner of the…

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Jose Olivarez & Poupeh Missaghi @ Prairie Lights

June 26 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The IWP Between the Lines Program presents José Olivarez and Poupeh Missaghi, who will read from their work. José Olivarez is the author of Citizen Illegal, which was shortlisted for the 2019 PEN/Jean Stein Book Award. "Citizen Illegal is a fearless, instrumental, honest collection of poetry. In other words, the book is fire— Olivarez's poetry navigates the razor sharp duality and utter contradiction of citizenship." —Willie Perdomo Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants. He is a co-host of the podcast, The Poetry…

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Amanda Nadelberg & Fred Schmalz @ Prairie Lights

June 27 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Writerís Workshop summer faculty member Amanda Nadelberg will read from Songs from a Mountain. "Amanda Nadelberg's poetry resembles a city where all kinds of things are happening at once, some of them funny and others pretty scary— a dizzying achievement that rings out loud and precise and clear." —John Ashbery Nadelberg is also the author of Bright Brave Phenomena, and Isa the Truck Named Isadore, winner of the Slope Editions Book Prize. She was selected as one of the Poetry Society of Americaís New American Poets,…

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We The Interwoven Vol. 2 Anthology Reading @ Prairie Lights

June 29 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm

Please join us for a special launch event for We the Interwoven: An Anthology of Bicultural Iowa, Volume 2, an anthology of Iowa residents who have multicultural backgrounds, compiled and edited by Andrea Wilson. At six years old, Antonia Rivera crossed the border from Mexico with nothing but the doll in her hands. Ajla Dizdarević’s family brought traditions across an ocean after leaving a home torn apart by the Bosnian War. Sarah Elgatian’s grandmother played cards and spoke of a country…

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July 2019

ASLI PERKER, ARMEN OF ARMENIA & YURIY SEREBRIANSKY: Live From PL

July 1 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Free

IWP Youth Program presents visiting instructors Asli Perker, Armen of Armenia, and Yuriy Serebryansky, who will read from their work. Asli Perker is one of the most prominent writers of Turkey. She's written six novels, some of which have been translated into as many as 24 languages. Perker contributes to art magazines and has a weekly book review column. She is one of four members of the peace committee of PEN and currently lives in Istanbul. Armen of Armenia (Armen…

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Charles Holdefer and Anthony Varallo @Prairie Lights

July 1 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Free

ISWF instructors and Writers’ Workshop graduates Charles Holdefer and Anthony Varallo will read from their new fiction. Charles Holdefer will read from Magic Even You Can Do. Holdefer is the author of the novels Dick Cheney in Shorts, The Contractor, Apology for Big Rod and Back In The Game. He is also the author of a work of Literary Criticism called George Saunders’ Pastoralia Bookmarked. He grew up in Iowa and he currently teaches at the University of Poitiers, France. Anthony Varallo will read from The Lines.  "With…

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Alicia Dill @Prairie Lights

July 2 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

University of Iowa school of journalism alum and former soldier Alicia Dill will read from her thriller, Squared Away.  One phone call in the middle of the night changes the life of a former soldier, Joelle McCoy. Her best friend and battle buddy, Concepcion Chapa, is dead and McCoy isn't taking the alleged car accident at face value. Determined to discover the truth, McCoy sets out on a mission to find her best friend and bring her home.

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Claire Lombardo @ Prairie Lights

July 9 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Free

Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Claire Lombardo will read from The Most Fun We Ever Had, a multi-generational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple match wits, harbor grudges, and recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they've built. "Everything about this brilliant debut cuts deep: the humor, the wisdom, the pathos. Claire Lombardo writes like she's been doing it for a hundred years, and like she's been alive for a thousand." —Rebecca Makkai 

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Harris Khalique, Rochelle Potkar & Anjali Sachdeva: Live From PL

July 10 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

UI International Writing Program presents its author/mentors in an inaugural event for the Summer Institute! The Summer Institute is a new immersive two-week creative writing and cultural exchange program through the IWP, for participants age 18-22 from Pakistan, India, and the U.S. Rochelle Potkar, a fiction writer and poet from India is the author of The Arithmetic of Breasts and Other Stories, Four Degrees of Separation, and Paper Asylum. Anjali Sachdeva, a Writers’ Workshop graduate in Fiction who currently teaches at the University…

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Daniel Blue Tyx @ Prairie Lights

July 11 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Iowa City native Daniel Blue Tyx will read from and talk about Angry Tias: Cruelty and Compassion on the U.S.-Mexico Border. Danie Blue Tyx grew up in Iowa City. For the last ten years, he has been living on the U.S.-Mexico border, where he works as a freelance writer. His new book gives readers an inside view of the child separation policy, and how "an eclectic group of fed-up border women and under-resourced lawyers transformed their initial shock and anger…

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Martha Letterman @ Prairie Lights

July 14 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free

Former UI Director of the Center for New Performing Arts Martha Ann Letterman will read from Scarlet Cinders. The novel explores the 1950s and 60s in Washington, DC and Atlantic City, from the point of view of a young girl at a pivotal time of American cultural change. A historic family tourist house is torn down to make way for a modern apartment building, a family beach resort is transformed into a gambling playground, and her parents go from a life…

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Kristen Arnett

July 16 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Queer fiction and essay writer Kristen Arnett will read from Mostly Dead Things, named a Most Anticipated Book of 2019 at Esquire, The Week, BuzzFeed, NYLON, Bustle, HuffPost, and The Boston Globe. “Mostly Dead Things is one of the strangest and funniest and most surprising first novels I've ever read. A love letter to Florida and to family, to half-lit swamps and the 7/11, and to the beasts that only pretend to hold their poses inside us.”—Karen Russell. She will be joined in conversation by Lyz Lenz,…

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Caite Dolan-Leach

July 19 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Iowa City author Caite Dolan-Leach will read from her new novel, We Went to the Woods.  “I adored so many things about We Went to the Woods--the brilliant premise, the narration, the writing, the suspense, the sly flashes of humor, the eco-Gothicism, the sexual longing, the way you're never quite sure if things are falling apart or turning into a love story. But most of all, it's incredibly compelling: The Secret History meets The Beach, with a generous dash of The Great Gatsby. Dark, gothic, and…

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J Ryan Stradal @Prairie Lights

July 23 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
Free

Bestselling author J Ryan Stradal will read from his new novel, The Lager Queen of Minnesota.  “Brilliant. . . a love letter to the Midwest. . . it’s hard to put down not only because the storytelling is so seamless and the characters so relatable, but because the author's delight in the written word is so contagious.” —Jen Sincero J. Ryan Stradal is a contributing editor at TASTE Magazine. His bestselling debut, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, won the 2016 American Booksellers Association…

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Sabrina Orah Mark

July 23 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

ISWF instructor and Writers’ Workshop graduate Sabrina Orah Mark will read from Wild Milk, published by Dorothy, a Publishing Project. “Sabrina Orah Mark is a writer of strangeness & tenderness & undeniable brilliance. I wanted to read this book aloud to everyone I’ve ever loved, & to fold it into a locket to keep close to my heart.” —Elizabeth McCracken Sabrina Orah Mark is the author of the poetry collections, The Babies and  Tsim Tsum. For The Paris Review she writes a monthly column on fairytales…

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John Domini @Prairie Lights

July 25 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

John Domini will read from his new novel from Dzanc books, The Color Inside a Melon. “John Domini enters the world of African immigrants in Naples living on the edge of the law, in a gripping, noir-ish thriller written in prose that somehow manages to be both elegant and hard-boiled. An absorbing read."—Salman Rushdie John Domini is the author of numerous works of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism, including his most recent novel, Movieola. He has published fiction in Paris Review and…

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Casey Cep @Prairie Lights

July 30 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

New Yorker writer Casey Cep will read from her book, Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee. An instant New York Times Bestseller that stayed on the list for four weeks, Furious Hours tells the stunning true story of Alabama serial killer Reverend Willie Maxwell, and the true-crime book about him that Harper Lee spent decades working on in the years after she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird. "A triumph on every level. One of the losses to literature is that Harper…

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August 2019

Anthony Mccann @Prairie Lights

August 1 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Writers’ Workshop graduate in poetry Anthony McCann will read from his new work of nonfiction, Shadowlands: Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff.  "A momentous and important non-fiction debut . . . The core subject is nothing less than the nature of American identity and the concept of freedom. Admirably, McCann's ethos is not that of a neutral bystander but of a truth seeker. He thinks through viewpoints with depth and empathy, but he also takes stands and calls out the problematic…

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Soul & Blues Fest Authors Panel @Prairie Lights

August 3 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Free

The 2019 Iowa Blues and Soul Festival presents authors Dr. Venise Berry, Dr. Steven T. Berry, Caleb Rainey and Rachelle Chase in a special panel discussion led by Dr. Irenea Walker assistant professor at UNI. Venise Berry, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at UI is the author of the book, Driven. Steven T. Berry, former associate professor of journalism and film at Howard University, is the author of T.E.A.R.S.and The Honeyman’s Son. Rachelle Chase, senior business analyst for Fortune…

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Craig N. Willis @Prairie Lights

August 6 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Free

Local debut novelist Craig N.Willis will read from The Deadly Mondaine.  In The Deadly Mondaine, the life of Hattie Rosales is tracked from her origin in Post-World War II, working-class, southside Chicago, through her early career at Marshall Fields’, through her business partnership with  Ludmilla “Milly” Netsurov, and continuing with her rapid relocation from the Chicago area to Gethsemane Illinois. The central mystery in the book is the shotgun slaying of a local mogul at his faux-French Chateau in suburban Gethsemane. Hattie…

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Lora Lacina

August 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Local author Lori Lacina will read from Mama Said There’d be Days Like This.  “...This is a charming collection of reflections on life in Iowa. Informative, funny and delightful, Lacina’s stories are like a slice of warm apple pie and should be savored as such.” —Beth Howard These 365 daily essays include reflections, lists, recipes, and ponderings. This book will inspire you, make you laugh and make you think. Some of the topics include: circles of women, lost socks, second chances, heartaches, goat yoga, cow…

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Lucas Hunt @Prairie Lights

August 10 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Iowa native Lucas Hunt will read from his poetry collection, Iowa. The first of five linen-cased, hardcover books in an autobiographical collection of cinematic poetry, Iowa commences the Homeric journey of poet Lucas Hunt from a childhood engulfed by the humidity and sun on a pig farm, to the Society shores of Southampton, the jagged glass and steel canyons of New York City, and the sublimity of Rome and Paris. In Iowa, Hunt brings his literary camera closer to the fire within the belly of a…

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Timothy Walch @Prairie Lights

August 11 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free

Iowa City historians Timothy Walch and Ken Donnelly will talk about local history and Walch’s new book, Irish Iowa. Iowa offered freedom and prosperity to the Irish fleeing famine and poverty. They became the second-largest immigrant group to come to the state, and they acquired influence well beyond their numbers. Author Timothy Walch details these stories and more on the history and influence of the Irish in the Heartland. Walch is the director emeritus of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and the…

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Nicholas Johnson @Prairie Lights

August 24 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Free

Iowa author and retired UI law professor Nicholas Johnson will read from his recent book, Catfish Solution: The Power of Positive Poking. Catfish Solution is memoir and story, revelation and explanation, comedy and critique with inspiration to citizen action by a Washington insider who took on the shipping and broadcasting industries. Johnson is the author of Columns of Democracy. He has been a TV show host, columnist, congressional candidate, Washington lawyer, and school board member, among other things. Included in The Yale Biographical Dictionary…

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Lori Erickson @Prairie Lights

August 27 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Holy Rover author Lori Erickson will read from her new book, Near the Exit. After her brother died unexpectedly and her mother moved into a dementia-care facility, spiritual travel writer and Episcopal deacon Lori Erickson felt called to a new quest: to face death head on, with the eye of a tourist and the heart of a pastor. Blending memoir, spirituality, and travel, Near the Exit examines how cultures confront and have confronted death, from Egypt's Valley of the Kings and Mayan temples, to a…

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September 2019

Sheri Salata @Prairie Lights

September 6 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Free

Sheri Salata, former executive producer of The Oprah Winfrey Show, will talk about her new book, The Beautiful No: And Other Tales of Trial, Transcendence, and Transformation. Salata will read from the book and share candid insights and lessons from her career and her middle-of-life reinvention. Sarah Gardial, Dean of the Tippie College of Business, will moderate a conversation about the book. "The Beautiful No is a roadmap for transformation —an honest, funny, and soulful look at what it really means to take stewardship…

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Lyz Lenz in Conversation With Kerry Howley @Prairie Lights

September 6 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Journalist and debut memoirist Lyz Lenz will read from God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America. She will be joined in a conversation by the Nonfiction Writing Program’s Kerry Howley.  “God Land is a remarkable work of reporting, memoir, and cultural criticism―a blazingly intelligent book exploring the ways that faith can both create and scatter communities in America . . . by turns brutal, lyrical, Biblical, and richly comic . . . offers a frank and perceptive analysis of what is…

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The Iowa Review @Prairie Lights

September 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Join editor Harry Stecopoulos for a reading from current and forthcoming issues of The Iowa Review. Poets Ray Young Bear, Jane Huffman, and Justin Cox will read. A celebratory reception will conclude the evening. Ray Young Bear, Meskwaki (Red Earth People) tribal member, lives with his family in central Iowa. In 2015, Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear, was published by Open Road Media.  His latest poems were featured in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, and Native Voices, an…

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International Writing Program @Prairie Lights

September 8 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Free

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

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James Brandon @Prairie Lights

September 9 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

LGBTQ+ author James Brandon will read from his YA novel, Ziggy, Stardust, and Me. Set against the tumultuous backdrop of life in 1973 when homosexuality is still considered a mental illness, two boys defy all the odds and fall in love. Ziggy, Stardust, and Me has gotten advance praise from Entertainment Weekly and Buzzfeed, and author Bill Konigsberg calls it  "A stunning debut. This beautifully written novel made me sob and reminded me of first love in a way no other book has in many…

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XU XI @Prairie Lights

September 10 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Xu Xi will read from her essay collection, This Fish is Fowl.  "To read these smart, inventive, and always surprising essays is to be given a passport to a transnational perspective the world sorely needs at this moment. Xu Xi's sense of identity: Indonesian/Chinese/American/Hong Kong is not mixed up ... but expansive. Identity for her has almost nothing to do with borders but with a kind of echolocation—sending forth her speculations on what it means to be a traveler, a daughter,…

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Sarah Elaine Smith @Prairie Lights

September 11 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Writers’ Workshop graduate Sarah Elaine Smith will read from her new novel, Marilou is Everywhere.  “Marilou is Everywhere is one of the most exquisitely written books I’ve read in a long time. Page after page I was struck by lines so unbearably beautiful and wise that by the final sentence I’d underlined most of the book. That she manages to do this while also telling a firecracker of a story about what happens when 14-year-old Cindy slips into the life of the…

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T Kira Madden @Prairie Lights

September 12 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Free

The Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program presents T Kira Madden, who will read from Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls.  "Madden brings her sharply funny voice to her new book, which humanely explores her coming of age as a biracial queer teenager in Boca Raton, Florida, and the climate of abuse and addiction that surrounded her." - Entertainment Weekly, "Most Anticipated Books of 2019" T Kira Madden is an APIA (Asian Pacific Islander American)  writer, photographer, and amateur magician. She is the…

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Bruce & Ju-Chan Fulton @ Prairie Lights

September 13 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Internationally acclaimed Korean-to-English literary translator team Bruce and Ju-Chan Fulton will read from and talk about their work in this special event sponsored by the Center for Asian and Pacific Studies, the MFA in Literary Translation, and the Obermann Center at the University of Iowa. They have translated a number of books from the Korean, most recently Mina, by Kim Sagwa, and others, including Sunset: A Ch'ae Manshik Reader, The Human Jungle by Cho Chongnae, and the anthology The Future of Silence: Fiction by Korean Women.…

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Claire Lombardo @ Prairie Lights

September 16 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate Claire Lombardo will read from The Most Fun We Ever Had, a multi-generational novel in which the four adult daughters of a Chicago couple match wits, harbor grudges, and recklessly ignite old rivalries until a long-buried secret threatens to shatter the lives they've built. "Everything about this brilliant debut cuts deep: the humor, the wisdom, the pathos. Claire Lombardo writes like she's been doing it for a hundred years, and like she's been alive for a thousand." —Rebecca…

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Sarah Seo @ Prairie Lights

September 17 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

University of Iowa Law Faculty Sarah Seo will talk about her new book, Policing the Open Road. “A brilliant and groundbreaking book that will fundamentally reshape the way we think about the police, criminal procedure, and American freedom. Seo takes us from the Model T to the twenty-first century to show how policing cars, unexpectedly, made possible both the democratization of law enforcement and the systematic racialized policing of minorities.”--Bernard E. Harcourt Sarah A. Seo is Associate Professor of Law at…

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Lila Savage @ Prairie Lights

September 18 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Writers’ Workshop graduate Lila Savage will read from her new novel, Say Say Say. "An emotional masterpiece . . . Bryn, a retired carpenter, hires Ella, an artist in her late 20s, to take care of his wife. In their house, Ella witnesses a level of love and passion she's been bereft of in her day-to-day life. Say Say Say is a heartbreaking book bracingly honest, unflinching prose . . . it meditates on empathy and finding human connection even in the worst…

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T Fleischmann @ Prairie Lights

September 19 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

The Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program presents alum T Fleischmann, who will read from Time is the Thing A Body Moves Through. "Chicago-based writer T Fleischmann melds personal narrative and art criticism in a poetically titled, genre-defying work. Mining the interactive art of Felix Gonzalez-Torres, this book-length essay explores power, desire, gender fluidity and subverting limitations." --Chicago Tribune T Fleischmann is the author of Syzygy, Beauty, and the curator of Body Forms: Queerness and the Essay. A nonfiction editor at DIAGRAM and contributing editor at the blog Essay…

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Melissa Isaacson w/ Lisa Bluder @ Prairie Lights

September 21 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

University of Iowa alum Melissa Isaacson will talk with UI Women’s Basketball coach Lisa Bluder about Isaacson’s book, State: A Team, A Triumph, a Transformation. Isaacson was born in Chicago and was a member of the 1979 girls state championship basketball team for Skokie's Niles West High School. “In State, Melissa Isaacson perfectly captures the birth of Title IX and a time when high school girls were starting to gain equality in sports and in the classroom, showing us how opportunities on the…

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International Writing Program @ Prairie Lights

September 22 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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

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Colin Gordon @ Prairie Lights

September 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

UI Professor of American History Colin Gordon will talk about his new book, Citizen Brown: Race, Democracy, and Inequality in the St. Louis Suburbs.  Citizen Brown explores the long backstory to the death of Michael Brown in 2014, looking at the conditions and circumstances faced by African-Americans living in the suburbs of St. Louis. “Gordon creates a compelling and well-documented account of the ways in which local governments first refuse to provide services to certain neighborhoods and then use that lack…

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Domenica Martinello & Christopher Kondrich @ Prairie Lights

September 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Writers’ Workshop graduate Domenica Martinello will read from All Day I Dream About Sirens.  "Steering a pirated flagship through the grottos of nightmare, Domenica Martinello ferries us dangerously close to the cliffs in her mermaid-spotting boat tour, All Day I Dream About Sirens. Offering much more than sight-seeing, these poems dare us to really hear the furious, lascivious lyricism of the sirens, and though Martinello's poems ripple softly over the surface, beware the deadly riptide and swim at your own risk, as lyric…

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Chandrahas Choudhury @ Prairie Lights

September 26 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

IWP alum and one of India’s most celebrated young writers, Chandrahas Choudhury, will read from his new novel, Clouds. Clouds illuminates the inner lives of characters forging their own paths in the great metropolis and shows a vast, prismatic portrait of modern India in all its tumult and glory. “Chandrahas Choudhury is one of the most clever and quirky, lively and witty of India’s new generation of novelists. Clouds signals the blossoming of a major new talent‘.-- William Dalrymple Chandrahas Choudhury is the…

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Cara Wall @ Prairie Lights

September 27 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Writers’ Workshop graduate and co-founder of the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio Cara Wall will read from and talk about her new novel, The Dearly Beloved.  "God and literary fiction don't always get along; perhaps that's why Cara Wall's The Dearly Beloved, a thoughtful debut that follows the lives of two ministers and their wives, feels so galvanizing. Its four characters get equal voice--Charles, son of a rigid academic; Lily, orphaned as a child; James, born into family hardship; Nan, a well-adjusted minister's…

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International Writing Program @ Prairie Lights

September 29 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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

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October 2019

Book Signing and Talk with Award-winning Author Eileen Pollack

October 5 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 pm
Free

Award-winning author and former University of Iowa professor Eileen Pollack (www.eileenpollack.com) will talk about her new book, “The Professor of Immortality” a thrilling novel inspired by the true story of a home-grown American terrorist – The Unabomber - on October 5 at 10 a.m. at Prairie Lights Bookstore, located at 15 S. Dubuque Street in Iowa City. For more information call 319-337-2681. Free and open to the public.

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William Kent Krueger @ Prairie Lights

October 8 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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

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Art Cullen @ Prairie Lights

October 10 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and editor of the Storm Lake Times Art Cullen will read from Storm Lake: A Chronicle of Change, Resilience, and Hope from a Heartland Newspaper.   "Cullen’s book demonstrates the important role that local editors play in standing up and speaking to power in America...Storm Lake is an engaging, folksy read about how a small-town newspaper editor copes with existential threats to a way of life and an industry vital to American democracy in a state known for its…

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Susan Steinberg @ Prairie Lights

October 11 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Susan Steinberg will read from Machine: A Novel, published by Graywolf.  “After making waves with her book Spectacle, bold stylist Susan Steinberg resurfaces with her first novel, a tale of gender, class, privilege and trauma set during a summer at the shore. . . . The narrative grapples with guilt and blame while eschewing formal conventions.”―Chicago Tribune Susan Steinberg is the author of Spectacle, Hydroplane, and The End of Free Love. She is the recipient of a United States Artists Fellowship, a National Magazine Award, and a…

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Abby Geni & Jac Jemc @ Prairie Lights

October 14 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Chicago based fiction writers Abby Geni and Jac Jemc will read from their fiction. Writers’ Workshop Visiting Assistant Professor of Fiction Abby Geni will read from The Wildlands. A finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize,  the Chicago Review of Books Fiction Award, The Wildlands was also named a Best Book of the Fall by Buzzfeed, Refinery 29, Bustle, PopSugar, HuffPost, and Real Simple. "Geni's character-driven environmental thriller--think Silent Spring by way of Celeste Ng--centers on the survivors of a tornado that destroys…

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Melissa Sweet @ Prairie Lights

October 16 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Please join us for a special event with beloved children's book illustrator Melissa Sweet, who will talk about her artwork and the latest book she has illustrated; How to Read a Book, by Kwame Alexander. Sweet has illustrated over 100 books and her work has been in magazines, on greeting cards, as well as games and toys. She has received numerous awards including two Caldecott honors; A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams and The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus, both by Jen…

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H.P. Waitt @ Prairie Lights

October 17 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Debut fantasy author H.P. Waitt will read from the first book of her YA Series, Band of Shadows: The Scarlet Onyx Saga. Featuring a seventeen year old protagonist who finds herself alone in the unknown world of Avalon, Band of Shadows takes place in a land inhabited by healing plants, game-playing birds, and trees with secrets! Morgana, the island’s enigmatic leader reveals that  Scarlet is a Faye, a powerful race of people whose population was nearly decimated during the Shadow Wars. There is a…

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Timothy Donnelly @ Prairie Lights

October 17 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Poet Timothy Donnelly will read from The Problem of the Many. "Timothy Donnelly meditates on the very terms that make meditation possible—terms such as 'knowledge,' 'mystery,' 'particular,' 'mind,' and 'will' . . . and he makes the tough time we have pinning those terms down into one of his typical subjects."—Steph Burt Poems from The Problem of the Many have appeared or are forthcoming in the New Yorker, the New Republic, A Public Space, the Paris Review, Poetry, and elsewhere. Donnelly is the author…

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IWP Reading

October 20 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Join us for the Sunday International Writing Program Prairie Lights Reading Series to hear some of this years’ IWP residents read from their work. Carlos Gamerro (fiction, translation, nonfiction; Argentina) has authored six novels, most recently Cardenio (2016), a collection of short stories, and a body of literary criticism, as well as translations of seminal English-language literary works including Shakespeare, W. H. Auden, and Harold Bloom.  His own work has been translated into German, English, Turkish and French.  Gamerro’s script for Tres de corazones …

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Shaun Hamill @ Prairie Lights

October 23 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Writers’ Workshop graduate Shaun Hamill will read from A Cosmology of Monsters.  "A monster stalks a family across generations; a hidden city beckons from beyond perception; trauma and human frailty and loss bear their terrible fangs. . . . A Cosmology of Monsters is as weird and compelling and ambitious a horror novel as you could possibly want."--Carmen Maria Machado A native of Arlington, Texas, Shaun Hamill lives in the dark woods of Alabama with his wife, his in-laws, and his dog.

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David Hamilton @ Prairie Lights

October 24 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

University of Iowa Emeritus Professor and former editor of The Iowa Review, David Hamilton, will read from A Certain Arc: Essays of Finding My Way.  “As one would expect from such a distinguished educator and editor, the prose in this collection is beautifully turned, the intelligence luminous, and the experience and wisdom of a lifetime generously shared: this book is a gift to all literature-lovers. But what seems even more striking and rare, in this age of self–absorbed memoir, is the…

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Aaron Cohen in conversation w/ Kembrew Mcleod @ Prairie Lights

October 26 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Music writer Aaron Cohen will talk about his book on the history of soul music in Chicago, Move On Up.  "Move On Up is an extraordinary achievement, packed with deep research and vivid writing, with a backbeat so strong it thumps from every page. Cohen has written the definitive account of an important slice of American popular culture. Cue up the Chi-Lites, open this book, and enjoy!"--Jonathan Eig Aaron Cohen covers the arts for numerous publications and teaches English, journalism, and humanities…

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IWP Reading @ Prairie Lights

October 27 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

The IWP and UI MFA writing programs take over the 2nd floor of Prairie Lights – grab a glass of wine or a fancy soda and settle in for an hour of highlights from three of the writers' best works! BUDDHISAGAR (fiction, poetry, drama; Nepal) authored the bestselling novel , which won the 2010 Rastriya Pratibha Puraskar award; an English translation is forthcoming. He has three other novels and one poetry collection; his radio scripts appear on Nepali broadcasts as well as on BBC; a feature film based on his screenplay will be released in 2020.…

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Arai Takako & Jeffrey Angles @Prairie Lights

October 28 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Poet Arai Takako and translator Jeffrey Angles will read from their new book, Factory Girls, published by Action Books.  “Arai’s work is a microcosm for the current moment in Japanese poetry: exciting, diverse, socially conscious narrative poems that defy boundaries and expectations, lingering in the memory with stark poignancy.” -Kris Kosaka Arai Takako is the author of previous poetry collections, including Tamashii dansu  which won the 2008 Oguma Hideo Prize. Since 1998, she has been an editor for the poetry journal Mi’Te; she…

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Nicholas Meyer @ Prairie Lights

October 29 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

University of Iowa Alum and Academy-Award nominated screenwriter, director and novelist Nicholas Meyer will read from The Adventure of the Peculiar Protocols: Adapted from the Journals of John H. Watson, M.D. "Reading Nicholas Meyer's very first Sherlock Holmes adventure, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, made me decide to become a writer. Reading his latest simply made me a delighted and satisfied reader." --Michael Chabon Nicholas Meyer is the author of three previous Sherlock Holmes novels, including the best-selling Seven-Per-Cent Solution. He is a screen-writer and film…

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November 2019

Jennine Capó Crucet @Prairie Lights

November 2 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Free

Special Event Hosted by The Witching Hour Festival!    In her sharp and candid collection of essays, My Time Among the Whites, critically acclaimed writer and first-generation American Jennine Capó Crucet explores the condition of finding herself a stranger in the country where she was born. Capó Crucet will read from this new collection which examines the sometimes hopeful, sometimes deeply-flawed ways in which many Americans have learned to adapt, exist, and—in the face of all signals saying otherwise—perhaps even thrive in a country…

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IWP Reading @Prairie Lights

November 3 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Free

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

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Regina Porter @Prairie Lights

November 4 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate and award-winning playwright Regina Porter will read from her debut novel, The Travelers.  "In The Travelers, generations of two families--one black and one white--journey across time, race, geography, and the wounds of history with sweeping breadth and disarming intimacy. Porter's debut signals the arrival of a fully formed, singular talent." --Ayana Mathis Regina Porter was an Iowa Arts Fellow and recipient of a 2017-2018 Rae Armour West Postgraduate Scholarship. She was also a 2017 Tin House Summer Workshop…

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Jaquira Diaz @Prairie Lights

November 5 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Pushcart Prizewinner Jaquira Diaz will read from her compelling new book, Ordinary Girls.  "A powerful memoir, heart-wrenching, inspiring, thoroughly engrossing, reminiscent of Mary Karr's The Liar's Club, Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and more recently Tara Westover's Educated. Through one family's story, we learn about challenges of poverty, migration, uprootedness, addiction, sexism, racism --but also about the triumphant, spirited storyteller who survives to tell the tale...there is more life packed on each page of Ordinary Girls than some lives hold in a…

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Marvin Bell @Prairie Lights

November 6 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Marvin Bell, who taught poetry for over forty years at The University of Iowa’s Writers' Workshop and was Iowa's first poet laureate, will read from Incarnate: The Collected Dead Man Poems. "Marvin Bell's Dead Man poems should close out any anthology of the twentieth century and open any anthology of this new century's work. They change the game. They insist that we pay a new and different kind of attention." --The Georgia Review Marvin Bell was born in New York City 1937, and raised in…

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Tim Johnston @Prairie Lights

November 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Iowa City native and bestselling author of Descent, Tim Johnston will read from The Current,  which has been a New York Times, USA Today, and Indie national bestseller.   "I would have taken a break long before 2:00 a.m. last night were it not for Johnston's masterly ability to rummage inside the heads of his various characters, revealing the frayed fabric of small-town life in the process and showing us the stand-up grit of a handful of women and men . . .…

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Benjamin Percy @Prairie Lights

November 8 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Benjamin Percy will read from Suicide Woods, published by Graywolf Press.  "An addictive mix of gritty crime fiction and otherworldly horror. . . . Percy's prose is exacting, finely tuning the atmospherics that give the collection such an eerie overall feeling. . . . Suicide Woods is a testament to Percy's skill as a writer. He takes no shortcuts in eliciting thrills. The collection is by turns provocative and terrifying."--Shelf Awareness Benjamin Percy is the author of the werewolf novel Red Moon, the post-apocalyptic…

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Carmen Maria Machado @Prairie Lights

November 9 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Free
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IWP Reading @Prairie Lights

November 10 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Free

Soukaina HABIBALLAH (poetry, fiction, screenwriting; Morocco) has four poetry collections and one novel (2016), with a second novel forthcoming in 2019. Habiballah has received many awards including, in 2015, the Buland Al Haidari Prize for Arabic poetry, and the 2019 Nadine Shames Prize for Arab Screenwriters for her short film . Her poetry has been translated into seven languages (including English). Ms. Habiballah participates courtesy the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State. CHAN Ping-chiu (drama; Hong Kong) is…

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ELLAS CUENTAN. ANTOLOGIA DE CRIME FICTION

November 12 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

The MFA in Spanish Creative Writing Program presents a reading of the anthology Ellas cuentan. Antología de Crime Fiction por latinoamericanas en EEUU. Two current Spanish MFA students, Melanie Márquez Adams and Oriette D’Angelo, will be joined by Gizella Meneses and Jennifer Thorndike to read from the book, introduced by Spanish MFA fiction faculty Horacio Castellanos Moya and Professor Ariana Ruiz. The event will be conducted in Spanish.

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Jonathan Blum @Prairie Lights

November 13 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Writers’ Workshop graduate Jonathan Blum will read from his highly anticipated short story collection, The Usual Uncertainties, published by Rescue Press. In precise, elegant prose, these stories follow characters and communities often consigned to the edge of the frame: a community college dropout, a geriatric care manager, a square dance bar mitzvah, a Scrabble club, an entrepreneurial Thai immigrant, and a South Florida country club. Blum is the author of the novel Last  Word, and his stories have appeared in Gulf Coast,  New…

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Andre Perry w/ Tameka Cage Conley @Prairie Lights

November 14 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Iowa City’s Andre Perry will read from his new collection of essays published by Two Dollar Radio, Some of Us Are Very Hungry Now.  He will be joined in conversation by Tameka Cage Conley. Named a "Most Anticipated Book of 2019"  by LitReactor, The A.V. Club, and Big Other, Foreword Reviews declares "Andre Perry is a fresh American voice that demands to be heard." Perry’s debut collection of personal essays travels from Washington, DC, to Iowa City to Hong Kong in search…

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Frances Bartkowski @Prairie Lights

November 15 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Rutgers University Professor Frances Bartkowski will read from her novel, An Afterlife.  This takes place in a small Bavarian town in a displaced persons camp set up by the Allies after World War II.  "Bartkowski delivers a novel that transcends the fiction genre. This work is as detailed and accurate (with brutal and miraculous turns) as the most searing historical documents, folded in a narrative as immediate and vivid as a poetic memoir. The book is written as it must have been…

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Iowa Youth Writing Project @Prairie Lights

November 17 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Free

Join the Iowa Youth Writing Project for their Fall 2019 end-of-semester student reading, featuring brilliant student writers from Johnson and Linn County K–12 schools. Snacks and camaraderie in the café to follow!

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Martha Birkett Bordwell @Prairie Lights

November 19 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Martha Birkett Bordwell will read from her memoir, Missing Mothers.  “By framing her memoir around missing mothers, author Martha Bordwell raises the ethical dilemmas and emotional consequences trans-national adoption has on families. Missing Mothers addresses a challenging and necessary subject in accessible and intimate prose, inviting readers on a complex parenting journey. Through compelling considerations of race, grief, and privilege, we uncover a deep empathy for people in families acting to transform loss and the unknown into acceptance, understanding and love.” -Patricia Cumbie…

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Robert Leonard @Prairie Lights

November 22 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

"With wit and a straight-forward passion, Robert Leonard writes of the tough and tender daily lives of the Midwestern working class.  He captures the voices and vicissitudes of the barbers and bartenders, farmers and butchers, factory and maintenance workers who are trying to survive and find their balance within their families and communities in today’s rural landscape. A poetry of the people, Deep Midwest rips off the fancy wrapping paper and gives you a glimpse a reality you may know, but…

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Wini Moranville and Sharelle Byars Moranville @Prairie Lights

November 24 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Free

Des Moines authors Wini Moranville and Sharelle Byars Moranville will talk about their newly published books, The Little Women Cookbook: Tempting Recipes from the March Sisters and Their Friends and Family, and Surprise Lily, which is written for middle-grade readers and is about growing up as a farm kid, and the relationships between sisters, mother, daughters and secrets. Wini Moranville is a food and wine writer/editor who has worked on numerous cookbooks under the Better Homes and Gardens imprint. Since 1997, she has also…

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December 2019

Colin Hamilton @Prairie Lights

December 5 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

Iowa City native Colin Hamilton will read from his elegantly woven narrative of life and literature,  The Thirteenth Month.  “The Thirteenth Month is a multiverse of mirrors and infinite texts spanning the inevitable labyrinth that exists between a young man’s books and his reality. It belongs in the company of Borges, Pessoa and Schulz, the very writers Hamilton admires, all the while cleverly disguised as an Iowan’s bildungsroman.”  —Elizabeth McKenzie Colin Hamilton grew up in Iowa City and is a graduate…

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M. Randal O’Wain @Prairie Lights

December 6 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Free

The Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program presents M. Randal O’Wain, who will read from Meander Belt. "A tour de force of white working-class identity married to a writer's imaginative hunger for words. What makes this book remarkable is the narrator's steely tension between his innate desire for unknown worlds and the pullback to the roughed up Wild West of Memphis, where a hardworking but wounded father has planted the seeds of loyalty."--Patricia Foster O'Wain earned his MFA from Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program.…

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