Wisconsin Book Festival officially launches 20th-anniversary celebration

The milestone year featuring 50 authors will take place Oct. 13-16 at Central Library.
Attendees listen to presenter on podium.
Photo by Haley Borgrud
Festival members and sponsors attend Wisconsin Book Festival 20th Anniversary Fall Schedule Launch Party on Sept. 7.

The Wisconsin Book Festival launched its official event schedule and featured authors last night for the upcoming 20th-anniversary celebration in partnership with the Madison Public Library Foundation. This year’s lineup features 50 authors — including our very own Maggie Ginsberg, author of “Still True” — whose works span many literary genres. The Wisconsin Book Festival will take place Oct. 13-16. 

WBF Director Conor Moran and Madison Public Library Foundation Executive Director Jenni Jeffress announced highlights of this year’s fall celebration at a launch party on Sept. 7 at Madison’s Central Library.

A few highlights from this year’s event schedule include a 6 p.m. reading on Oct. 14 featuring Dr. Steven Thrasher, author of “The Virtual Underclass”; a 7:30 p.m. reading on Oct. 14 featuring international best-selling author Andy Weir of “Project Hail Mary”; a 3 p.m. reading on Oct. 15 featuring Reese’s Book Club author Thrity Umrigar of “Honor”; and a 6 p.m. reading on Oct. 15 featuring New York Times editorial board member Elizabeth Williamson, author of “Sandy Hook.” There are dozens of events connected to the festival — which is technically a year-round event — taking place from Sept. 20 to Nov. 29.

Since the Madison Public Library assumed the festival’s ownership in 2013 and established its flagship location at the Central Library, this event has provided a venue for authors, publishers and book lovers to connect and hear from local, national and international authors. 

Over the years, the festival has enjoyed support from local and national organizations through various partnerships. In collaboration with UW-Madison’s Program in Creative Writing, the festival puts on an event to showcase student work and encourage important conversations in literature. The festival also encourages those who attend to support local, independent bookstores as evident through its longtime partnership with Madison’s A Room of One’s Own bookstore.  

In order to cover the festival’s operational costs — from the director’s salary to travel expenses for authors — the Madison Public Library Foundation raises funds annually. It receives generous support from local individuals, foundations and businesses. In the past, the festival has secured grants from high-profile arts organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts.

For program details and the full schedule, go to wisconsinbookfestival.org. 

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