Wisconsin Book Festival begins

Celebrate books and the people who love them

Cristina Springfield, Librarian

Every year, thousands of book lovers flock to Madison for the four-day long Wisconsin Book Festival.  This event offers free book and poetry readings, discussions, performances, receptions, and exhibitions to suit almost every taste. Smart festival-goers will want to plan ahead to get the most out of the 60+ events on tap for this year’s festival, which runs Thursday, Oct. 16, through Sunday, Oct. 19. Here’s a quick guide to my picks for top headliners and other hot events:

For the artsy crowd

Rub shoulders with like-minded literary folk at the Wisconsin Book Festival Reception. Sample a variety of drop-in art exercises that use library materials as creative stimuli, based on the book The Artist’s Library: A Field Guide from the Library as Incubator Project. The FilterPhoto Festival Photobook Exhibition will also be on display. – Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m. , Central Library, Third Floor.

For the hip hop heads

Check out the Passing the Mic/All Elements Hip Hop Arts Showcase featuring Midwest Hip Hop All Stars. A not-to-miss event starring two of America’s top spoken word and hip hop artists, reg e gaines and Chinaka Hodge.  – Oct. 16, 8 p.m., Overture Center for the Arts, Promenade Hall.

For literary hipsters

Attend this poetry and short fiction reading hosted by the Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine and discover some of the best up-and-coming talent out of Wisconsin. Participating authors are winners of an annual literary contest hosted by the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. – Oct. 17, 5:30 p.m.,  Room of One’s Own Bookstore.

For mystery lovers

Meet Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author of To Dwell in Darkness. Reader-favorite Crombie pens mysteries known for their surprising twists and turns and captivating characters. – Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m., Central Library, Community Room.

For the cool parents

Bring your elementary-aged kids to Elementary School Thursday with Gustafer Yellowgold, Susan Apps-Bodilly, and Julie Mata. This author event combines performance, author programming, and workshops (and you’ll be the parent all the other kids look up to). – Oct. 16, 9 a.m., Central Library.

For aspiring writers

Do a little creative writing on the side? Drop by the workshop “How to Sell Your Novel” with Chloe Benjamin, Ashley Ream, and Judith Claire Mitchell. Learn from seasoned authors just what it takes to get your work published. – Oct. 18,  3:30 p.m., Central Library,  The Bubbler.

For the beer enthusiast

Combine the best of two worlds by buying a beer at the Great Dane and listening to author Sean Lewis read from his book We Make Beer. Who wouldn’t like to meet an author passionate about beer and craft breweries? – Oct. 17, 5 p.m., Great Dane Pub, Pool Hall.


For the eco-conscious

You may have seen journalist and television anchor Patty Loew on your local Wisconsin Public Television station. Get a chance to meet her and learn about some of the most important figures in Native American sustainability, from anti-mining activists like Walt Bresette (Red Cliff Ojibwe) and Hillary Waukau (Menominee) to treaty rights advocates like James Schlender (Lac Courte Oreille Ojibwe).  All are featured in her new book Seventh Generation Earth Ethics: Native Voices of Wisconsin. – Oct. 18, 3 p.m., Wisconsin Historical Museum.

For runners

Hit the concrete downtown and run to raise funds in support of the Literacy Network, a local nonprofit offering free classes and tutoring for low-literate adults in Dane County. Choose from 10K or 5K runs, a 5K walk, or a kid-friendly Fun Run down State Street. For more information visit http://raceroster.com/events/2014/2650/run-for-literacy. Oct. 19, 10:30 a.m., Room of One’s Own.

The full festival schedule is available online at:  http://www.wisconsinbookfestival.org/.