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UNI Calendar of Events

Languages and Literature

Final Thursday Series: Grant Tracey

Grant Tracey is the author of several collections of fiction including Lovers & Strangers and Playing Mac: A Novella in Two Acts. A longtime fiction editor of the North American Review, Tracey has also written and directed the play According to Chelsea. Open mic signup is at 7p.m. Share your best five minutes of original poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction. The featured author takes the stage at 8 p.m.

Final Thursday Reading Series featuring Bruce Whiteman

Bruce Whiteman is the author of the new collection of poetry, Intimate Letters: The Invisible World Is in Decline, Book VII. He is poet, translator, and reviewer with more than a dozen books to his credit, including Tristia (Vero Press) and The Forger Contemplates Rossetti (Lyceum Press).

The Final Thursday Reading Series features guest regional authors and provides a forum where local writers can share their own work. Open mic signup is at 7 p.m. You are invited to share your best five minutes of original poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction. The open mic begins at 7:15 p.m. and the featured author takes the stage at 8 p.m. There will be a short question and answer period.  FTRS is a collaboration between the Hearst Center for the Arts, Final Thursday Press, and the College of Humanities, Arts & Sciences. Free and open to the public.

Bridgette Bates Poetry Reading

Bridgette Bates will read from her poetry collection What Is Not Missing Is Light, which takes the reader inside a museum to view fragments of statues that have become emblematic of historical and cultural decay and perseverance. 

Bridgette Bates’ poems have appeared in the Boston Review, Fence, jubilat, VERSE and elsewhere. A recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and a “Discovery” Prize, she is a graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Originally from Nashville, she lives in Los Angeles where she is the writer-in-residence at the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and a frequent features contributor to the Kirkus Reviews. Bates’ debut collection, What Is Not Missing Is Light, winner of Rescue Press’ Black Box Poetry Prize, will be released this November.

Final Thursday Reading Series: Laura Farmer

Cedar Falls native Laura Farmer, author and director of Cornell College’s Writing Studio, is November's featured reader. She will be reading her short story, "A Lesson in Geography," which details a widower trying to navigate the world--and raise his daughter--without his wife. Like many of her stories, it is set in a fictional amalgam of Cedar Falls and Waterloo, where Farmer was raised.

Open mic signup is at 7 p.m. and begins at 7:15 p.m. Creative writers are invited to bring five minutes of original poetry, fiction or creative non-fiction to share. Singer-songwriters are also welcome to use the Hearst Center’s grand piano. Farmer takes the stage at 8 p.m. There will be a short question and answer period as time allows.This event is free and open to the public.

Walt Whitman Live!

As Walt Whitman, re-enactor Bill Koch, languages and literatures, performs his multi-media one-man show that explains Whitman's life and times, reciting his poetry. Especially relevant as the country marks the 150th anniversary of the Civil War are Whitman's reflections and poetry on the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln. Open to the public free of charge.

Final Thursday Reading Series

Season 13 of FTRS kicks off with Julianne Couch, author of Traveling the Power Line: From the Mohave Desert to the Bay of Fundy. Couch is a journalist and essayist whose work also includes Jukeboxes and Jackalopes: A Wyoming Bar Journey and Waking Up Western: Collected Essays. Check out a sample of Traveling the Power Line at:,675636.aspx.

The Final Thursday Reading series is a monthly event that features published authors and gives all creative writers an opportunity to showcase their talent in front of a live, friendly audience. Bring your best five minutes of poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction. Open mic signup starts at 7 p.m. with open mic beginning at 7:15 p.m. Featured reader Julianne Couch takes the stage at 8 p.m. There will be a Q&A session after the reading, time permitting.

The Final Thursday Reading Series is sponsored by Final Thursday Press, The Hearst Center for the Arts, and the University of Northern Iowa College of Humanities, Arts & Sciences.  Coffee is provided by Cup of Joe. 


FTRS returns in September with featured reader Adrianne Finlay.

Final Thursday Reading Series: Jen Percy

The Final Thursday Reading Series of 2012-13 concludes with a reading by Jen Percy, author of Demon Camp: A Soldier’s Exorcism. The book details the story of a Special Ops soldier returned from Afghanistan with PTSD who seeks solace in people who profess to be exorcists. In so doing, it tells a story about the United States in an era of war, exploring the lives of soldiers and widows in the fragile period after the war.

Open mic signup is at 7 p.m. and begins at 7:15 p.m. Share your best five minutes of poetry, fiction or creative nonfiction. Singer/songwriters are welcome and can use of the Hearst Center's grand piano. Percy will take the stage at 8 p.m. followed by Q&A as time allows.

Presentation by Carl Wilkens: “I’m Not Leaving!": Stories of Hope and Healing from the One American Who Stayed Through the Rwandan Genocide

As a humanitarian aid worker, Carl Wilkens moved his young family to Rwanda in the spring of 1990. When the genocide that eventually took more 800,000 lives was launched in April 1994, Carl refused to leave, even when urged to do so by close friends, his church and the United States government. Thousands of expatriates were evacuated, and the United Nations pulled out most of its troops. Carl was the only American to remain in the capitol city of Kigali. Venturing out each day into streets crackling with mortars and gunfire, he worked his way through roadblocks of angry, bloodstained soldiers and civilians armed with machetes and assault rifles in order to bring food, water and medicine to groups of orphans trapped around the city. His actions saved the lives of hundreds. For nine years now, Carl has been speaking in schools on nearly every continent about his experiences in Rwanda and how to build bridges with “the other.”


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