Written by Chad Dally
— An award-winning poet who wrote about the Hmong exodus from Laos…
— A popular Wisconsin author who writes mysteries steeped in fishing lore…
— A former Wisconsin governor all too familiar with the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease…
— A bestselling writer and artist of comic books whose work will be adapted into a film…
What do these have in common?
These are just a few of the guests who will speak at Wausau’s first-ever Central Wisconsin Book Festival, starting the evening of Friday, September 29, 2017, and continuing throughout the day and into the evening on Saturday, September 30.
Library staff began formulating a plan to set up a book festival in 2016, but for various reasons weren’t able to get it off the ground. A second attempt was made this year, and the library brought in some help to organize, host, and promote the festival.
While we could’ve kept all these fun events all to ourselves at the library, anyone who’s been to a book festival elsewhere in Wisconsin — Madison, the Chippewa Valley, or Green Bay — knows that events are usually spread around several different locations. So, rather than make this a library festival…
Our hope is to spread the “literary love” all throughout the community!
The festival begins with a live “Fact or Fiction” storytelling event in the Center for Civic Engagement’s Veninga Theater on Friday night.
You might be familiar with radio programs and podcasts such as The Moth. This “Fact or Fiction” event is along those same lines, but the goal for each storyteller is to trick the audience:
Tell a true story that’s so outrageous it’s unbelievable, or a fake story so believable the audience thinks it must be true! The two stories that most dupe the audience will get a prize.
Our emcee for the evening, Charles Monroe-Kane, is quite the storyteller himself, having authored a memoir called Lithium Jesus and having worked as a producer for the syndicated radio show “To the Best of Our Knowledge.”
We’ll have room for up to 10 stories, and YOURS could be one of them! We’re accepting story submissions through September 15, 2017. Simply email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Throughout the day on Saturday, September 30, we have even more to offer:
Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, a pediatrician and advocate for the Reach Out and Read literacy program, will give an engaging talk on the importance of early literacy and childhood development in the first thousand days of a child’s life.
Wisconsin author Victoria Houston, who has about two dozen books under her belt — including the 17 books in her Loon Lake mystery series — will share tales of mistakes she made that led her to write mysteries.
Marathon County native Tim Seeley has worked on a number of different comic book titles, including “Nightwing” and “Exsanguine,” mostly as a writer. His series “Revival,” set in the Wausau area and featuring art by Mike Norton, is scheduled to be adapted into a film starting in 2018. This talk will likely be on the more casual side, with plenty of time for questions.
Former Wisconsin Gov. Martin Schreiber’s first book, published earlier this year, is My Two Elaines: Learning, Coping, and Surviving as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver. He’ll join us to describe what it’s been like to become a caregiver to his wife, Elaine, as the two of them deal with Elaine’s Alzheimer’s disease, and to counsel others who find themselves in the role of caregiver.
We’ll close out the festival Saturday night with award-winning poet Mai Der Vang, whose debut collection of poems “Afterland” won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Mai Der’s poems recount in devastating detail the Hmong exodus from Laos and the fate of thousands of refugees, as well as the Hmong culture’s ongoing resilience in exile.
And those are just a few of the guests scheduled for this year’s festival!
Although it’s a relatively small lineup compared to other book festivals around Wisconsin, we’ve tried hard to put together a diverse group, and, hey, it’s our first attempt!
We’re incredibly lucky to have the support — financial and otherwise — of several organizations and businesses throughout the county who are partnering with us at the Marathon County Public Library to make this book festival possible.
And, what’s more… to host all of these events at NO COST to anyone who would like to attend!
That support includes:
For a full list of events and details, I invite you to head over to www.mcpl.us/cwbf.
We hope to see you — and your friends and family —
at our first-ever Central Wisconsin Book Festival!
Library Specialist | Marathon County Public Library
Chad Dally is a library specialist with the Marathon County Public Library, where he’s worked since 2012. He splits his time at the library between reference and programming, and generally prefers to read nonfiction over fiction. He’s heard chickens are smart, but the small brood he keeps at home provides evidence to the contrary. Email Chad Dally
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Read a Book image & feature image © Jeremy Brooks | 12.10.10 | CC BY-NC 2.0