Monday 28 December 2020

Ralph Savarese's FTRS Reading of When This Is Over: Pandemic Poems

 If you weren't able to Zoom in for Ralph Savarese's reading (and the return of the open mic), it can now be streamed. Look for more info soon on the Spring 2020 FTRS lineup.

Friday 13 November 2020

FTRS Live on Zoom features Ralph Savarese (open mic returns!)


On Thursday, November 19 at 7 p.m., Ralph James Savarese will take to FTRS's Zoom stage to read from his latest work of poetry, When This is Over: Pandemic Poems, a collection of timely and insightful verse drawing on the experience of the pandemic. His reading will be preceded by a Zoom open mic for creative writers.

One week early due to Thanksgiving, this FTRS reading will happen live, online via Zoom. The event is free but advance registration is required. Please go to to register. You can join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device.

Ralph James Savarese is a professor of English at Grinnell College. He is the author of See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor (Duke University Press) and a book of poetry, Republican Fathers (Nine Mile Press).

Open Mic will begin at 7:00 p.m. followed by Ralph Savarese at 7:30. Attendees are invited to share their best five minutes of original poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. Send email to prior to November 19 to sign up for open mic.

The Final Thursday Reading Series is a collaboration of Final Thursday Press, the Hearst Center for the Arts, the UNI College of Humanities, Arts & Sciences, and the UNI Department of Languages & Literatures.

Monday 9 November 2020

Grant Tracey Live Zoomcast on "North American Review" presents

On Thursday, November 12 at 7:00 p.m. (CST) FTP author Grant Tracey will be featured on a live Zoomcast for "North American Review Presents." This discussion and reading will focus on Grant Tracey's new crime fiction chapbook Winsome / Bend of the Sun, but be ready for a wide ranging conversation (and Jimmy Cagney will likely come up at some point).

This event is free but requires advanced registration

In addition to Winsome / Bend of the Sun, Grant Tracey is the author of the Hayden Fuller Mystery Series from Twelve Winters Press. Tracey is Fiction Editor of the North American Review and a Professor of English and the University of Northern Iowa.

Friday 6 November 2020

Jeffrey Copeland's FTRS Reading Can Now Be Streamed

If you didn't get to attend the live Zoomcast, you can now stream Jeffrey S. Copeland's reading from his new book, Lt. Elsie Ott's Secret Mission. Thanks to all who attended and participated in the Q&A afterwards. 

Now that the Zoomcast has been piloted, the way is clear to bring back the open mic for next month's live-on-Zoom Final Thursday Reading Series featuring Ralph Savarese. Check back for more details.

Saturday 24 October 2020

FTRS live online: Jeffrey S. Copeland Reads on October 29

 Final Thursday Reading Series Goes Live Online
Jeffrey S. Copeland’s Lt. Elsie Ott’s Secret Mission featured

On Thursday, October 29 at 7 p.m. Jeffrey S. Copeland will take to FTRS’s Zoom stage to read from his latest work of literary nonfiction, Lt. Elsie Ott’s Secret Mission: the WWII Flight Nurse Behind Aeromedical Evacuation (MEDEVAC). Lt. Ott was an ordinary soldier called on to do the extraordinary, and she participated in an unprecedented long-distance aerial medical flight that made her the first woman to be awarded the Army Air Medal.
While FTRS had a good run of warm weather in the Hearst Center’s outdoor sculpture garden, with the turn of the season we are moving online. Jeffrey Copeland’s reading will happen live, online via Zoom. This event is free but advance registration is required.  Please go to to register. You can join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device.
Jeffrey Copeland has authored and edited thirty-four books, including Plague in Paradise: The Black Death in Los Angeles, 1924; Olivia's Story: The Conspiracy of Heroes Behind Shelley v. Kraemer;  and Ain't No Harm to Kill the Devil: The Life and Legend of John Fairfield, Abolitionist for Hire, which has recently been optioned for television. He is a Professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa.  To order Lt. Elsie Ott’s Secret Mission go to:


Monday 28 September 2020

Launch and Play: Grant Tracey and Jim O'Loughlin debut new books, jam together at September FTRS


If you weren't able to come out for the September Final Thursday Reading Series, you can now stream the entire event. Grant Tracey launched Winsome / Bend of the Sun, his new crime fiction chapbook, and Jim O'Loughlin premiered The Last Caucus in Iowa, his new book on the 2020 Iowa Caucus. Between readings, they also played two of Grant Tracey's original songs.

We're still waiting to see what the weather brings for October, but we are still hoping to be in the Hearst Center's sculpture garden on the last Thursday of the month.

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Winsome / Bend of the Sun

New Crime Fiction from Grant Tracey
Winsome / Bend of the Sun released as double cover edition

"A punch appeared through withered lines of snow. He wasn't sure, but it sure looked like a beating in back of the Trent Inn."

Winsome follows Eddie Sands, a Korean War vet turned taxi driver, whose efforts to protect people near him quickly entwines him in a tale of jealousy, corruption and redemption. In the second story in the collection, Bend of the Sun, two hit men, Wingels and Donnie, find a straightforward hit complicated when the intended target has enemies they don’t know about. Both stories feature Grant Tracey’s trademark hardboiled prose and offer a distinctly contemporary twist on a traditional genre of writing.

Tracey will read from the collection at an outdoor, socially distanced reading at the Hearst Center for the Arts sculpture garden as part of the Final Thursday Reading Series on September 24 at 6 p.m. He will also be part of a future Zoom event, sponsored by the North American Review, where he will read from the collection and be interviewed by Final Thursday Press publisher Jim O’Loughlin. 

Grant Tracey is the author of the Hayden Fuller Mystery Series from Twelve Winters Press. That series includes the novels Cheap Amusements, A Fourth Face, the memoir Toronto, 1965, and the forthcoming novel, Neon Kiss. A professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa, he also regularly appears in regional theatre, including in the roles of Pastor Paul in The Christians, Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple, Yvan in Art, and Peter in Zoo Story. 

Final Thursday Press is an award-winning literary press that focuses on chapbooks by Cedar Valley writers. Recent collections include: Planting Red Geraniums: Discovered Poems by James Hearst, The Coolest Month by Vince Gotera, and Honey & Blood, Blood & Honey by Rachel Morgan.

Winsome/Bend of the Sun can be purchased locally at the UNI Bookstore and online at Signed copies are available directly from Final Thursday Press for $7.95.

Click below to watch a trailer of Winsome/Bend of the Sun.

Thursday 3 September 2020

Adrianne Finlay Book Launch

The 20th season of the Final Thursday Reading Series took the whole show outside to the Hearst Center's outdoor sculpture garden. It was a hot August night, and wehad a dedicated (and socially distanced) crowd on hand for the launch of Adrianne Finlay's new novel Cut Off. Cut Off (HMH Books) has been described as “Warcross meets Lost.” It’s a young adult sci-fi thriller in which teens compete to survive in the wilderness for one million dollars on a new virtual reality show. When something goes horribly wrong and the contestants realize no one is coming to save them, they must question their very reality—and how much of the game is really for show. School Library Journal describes Cut Off as “A genre-bending story that engages with themes of anxiety and trauma in imaginative ways.” Finlay is also the author of the novel Your One and Only. In the reading that you can stream below, Finlay reads two chapters from the novel and takes questions from the audience. Locally, copies of Cut Off can be ordered from the UNI Bookstore