The Wisconsin Book Festival kicks off 2020 events this February with over a dozen authors already scheduled to come to Madison.
Wisconsin Book Festival Presents Danez Smith for Homie
Monday, Feb 10, 7:00-8:00pm - Central Library
Smith is back with their highly anticipated third collection, Homie. A magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship, Homie is rooted in their search for joy and intimacy in a time where both are scarce. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family—blood and chosen—arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie is written for friends: for Danez’s, for yours.
Danez Smith is the author of Homie, Don’t Call Us Dead, winner of the Forward Prize for Best Collection and a finalist for the National Book Award, and [insert boy], winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. They live in Minneapolis.
Wisconsin Book Festival Presents Marlon James for Black Leopard Red Wolf
Thursday, Feb 13, 7:00-8:00pm - Central Library
Presented in partnership with the UW Center for the Humanities and the Distinguished Lecture Series. In the stunning first novel in Marlon James's Dark Star trilogy, a Finalist for the 2019 National Book Award, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child. Drawing from African history and mythology and his own rich imagination, Marlon James has written a novel unlike anything that's come before it: a saga of breathtaking adventure that's also an ambitious, involving read. Defying categorization and full of unforgettable characters, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is both surprising and profound as it explores the fundamentals of truth, the limits of power, and our need to understand them both.
Marlon James was born in Jamaica in 1970. He is the author of the New York Times-bestseller Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which was a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction in 2019. His novel A Brief History of Seven Killings won the 2015 Man Booker Prize. James divides his time between Minnesota and New York.
Wisconsin Book Festival Presents Janice Kaplan for The Genius of Women
Thursday, Feb 20, 7:00-8:00pm - Central Library
We tell girls that they can be anything, so why do 90 percent of Americans believe that geniuses are almost always men? New York Times bestselling journalist Janice Kaplan explores the powerful forces that have rigged the system—and celebrates the women geniuses past and present who have triumphed anyway. Even in this time of rethinking women’s roles, we define genius almost exclusively through male achievement. When asked to name a genius, people mention Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Steve Jobs. As for great women? In one survey, the only female genius anyone listed was Marie Curie.
Janice Kaplan has enjoyed wide success as a magazine editor, television producer, writer, and journalist. The former Editor-in-Chief of Parade magazine, she is the author or coauthor of fourteen books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Gratitude Diaries and I'll See You Again. She lives in New York City and Kent, Connecticut.
Wisconsin Book Festival Presents Quan Berry for We Ride Upon Sticks
Tuesday, March 3, 7:00pm - Central Library
From the author of the widely acclaimed She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, a comic tour de female force about a 1980s field hockey team. In the coastal town of Danvers, MA, home of the original 1692 witch trials, the 1989 Danvers Falcons will do anything to make it to the state finals — even if it means tapping into some devilishly dark powers. In chapters dense with ’80s iconography–from Heathers to “big hair”–Quan Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective journeys of this enchanted team as they storm their way to the championship.
Born in Saigon and raised on Boston's north shore, Quan Barry is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of four poetry books; her third book, Water Puppets, won the AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize and was a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received two NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in such journals as The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Ms., and The New Yorker.
Wisconsin Book Festival Presents Donna Leon for Trace Elements
Wednesday, March 4, 7:00pm - Central Library
When Dottoressa Donato calls the Questura to report that a dying patient at the hospice Fatebenefratelli wants to speak to the police, Commissario Guido Brunetti and his colleague, Claudia Griffoni, waste no time in responding. As she has done so often through her memorable characters and storytelling skill, Donna Leon once again engages our sensibilities as to the differences between guilt and responsibility. Copies of Trace Elements will be distributed for free to attendees (subject to availability). Doors will open at 6:00 PM. Seating is limited and will be by general admission. The event is free and open to the public.
Donna Leon is the author of the highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling Commissario Guido Brunetti mystery series. The winner of the CWA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction, among other awards, Donna Leon lived in Venice for many years and now divides her time between Venice and Switzerland.