Sen. Elizabeth Warren to discuss her upcoming book ‘Persist’ at Wisconsin Book Festival

More big name appearances in May include Carl Hiaasen, Cheryl Strayed, Alison Bechdel and 'Crazy Rich Asians' author Kevin Kwan.
Elizabeth Warren smiling in a blue jacket next to the book jacket of her new book, Persist, which is dark blue with white lettering and her name large and in aqua
Courtesy of Macmillan Publishing.
Warren's 12th published book is deeply personal "and a powerful call to action."

Today the Wisconsin Book Festival announced several big names for its upcoming May events, most notably, U.S. Senator and bestselling author Elizabeth Warren. Warren will appear virtually on May 6 at 7 p.m. — one of her tour’s first stops — to discuss her 12th book, “Persist,” a “deeply personal book and a powerful call to action” highlighting six perspectives that have influenced her life and advocacy, due out from Macmillan imprint Henry Holt & Co. on May 4. Registration on Crowdcast is required in advance, and the first 600 attendees who sign in and attend the live event will receive a free copy of “Persist” in the mail.

“Like many of our highest-profile events, Senator Warren’s appearance is the result of many years of effort,” says Conor Moran, director of the Wisconsin Book Festival. “The first time I asked for an event with the senator was in June of 2015. Sometimes these things just take a really long time. Often, they build on each other. In this case, Senator Warren shares a publicist with Stacey Abrams, who was last year’s Weston Lecturer. It’s definitely a combination of great events, relationships and, in this case, persistence.”

Warren’s event will serve as the festival’s 2021 Cheryl Rosen Weston Memorial Lecture, named after Rosen Weston, a University of Wisconsin Law professor and Wisconsin Book Festival devotee who died in 2018 and left a legacy gift to help it continue the free, year-round programming that makes events like this possible. Those events have been ongoing all year; this May, they include even more big names that may not have been possible in prior years, before our current comfort level with virtual online events.

On May 6 at 4 p.m., graphic memoirist, MacArthur Fellow and cultural phenomenon Alison Bechdel will appear virtually live in conversation with Cheryl Strayed, author of “Wild,” to discuss Bechdel’s new book “The Secret to Superhuman Strength.” The book is said to illustrate Bechdel’s lifelong fascination with exercise, set against a hilarious chronicle of fitness fads. Like the Warren book, the first 150 attendees will receive a free copy.

On May 26 at 7 p.m., “Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan will appear virtually to discuss his new novel, “Sex and Vanity.” Wisconsin Book Festival organizers say a “limited number” of books will be distributed to the first live attendees there as well.

The Wisconsin Book Festival is presented in partnership with the Madison Public Library and the Madison Public Library Foundation, and the foundation’s ticketed Lunch for Libraries fundraising event, scheduled for May 25, also boasts a big name — Florida comic thriller writer Carl Hiaasen. He’ll be discussing his latest novel, “Squeeze Me,” in conversation with Wisconsin thriller author Nicholas Petrie. Unlike the free Wisconsin Book Festival events, this fundraiser is $125 per ticket and includes a copy of “Squeeze Me” and a Wisconsin Book Festival membership. All proceeds support the ongoing author events that make the Wisconsin Book Festival possible, as well as the Madison Public Library’s youth literacy efforts.

“Senator Warren’s appearance as the 2021 Weston Memorial Lecturer highlights the importance of the Wisconsin Book Festival as a Midwestern viewpoint in essential national conversations,” says Moran. “Her interest in appearing here is based on us setting ourselves apart with incredible audiences, thoughtful questions and viewpoints, and consistent support for authors and books.”

For even more author events — including upcoming remaining April appearances, like Ocean Vuong discussing his debut novel, “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous,” in partnership with the Wisconsin Union Theater — visit

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