Wisconsin Book Festival unveils author lineup for October fest | Entertainment


John Scalzi, Dan Egan and Cara Fitzpatrick are just three of the over 50 authors coming to Madison in October for the Wisconsin Book Festival.

The Madison Public Library, which sponsors the four-day Fall Celebration festival as well as author events year-round, announced the schedule Thursday for this year’s festival. The four-day festival will take place from Thursday, Oct. 19, to Sunday, Oct. 22, with most events taking place at Madison Central Library. It’s not only free, but audience members will get free copies of the books at many of the events, courtesy of the Cheryl Rosen Weston Estate.

From fiction to memoir, from politics to science fiction, from local authors to Pulitzer Prize winners, festival organizers hoped to put together a balanced festival that would appeal to readers who frequent every section of the library.

“Festival-goers can expect a Fall Celebration that feels like the premiere literary event in Wisconsin they know and love,” said new Wisconsin Book Festival director Jane Rotonda in a statement. “The programming is robust, diverse, and will celebrate our shared love of authors and books.”

All events are at the Madison Central Library, 301 W. Mifflin St., unless otherwise noted:

Journalist Michael Waldman will discuss his new book “The Supermajority,” about the U.S. Supreme Court’s first term with a 6-3 conservative majority, at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 19.

Angelina Boulley will talk about her YA thriller “Warrior Girl Unearthed” at the Wisconsin Union’s Great Hall at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 19, as the 2023 Charlotte Zolotow Lecture, named after the acclaimed children’s book editor and author.

Environmental journalist Dan Egan will talk about his book “The Devil’s Element,” which looks at the devastating effects that phosphorus has had on the planet, at 5 p.m., Friday, Oct. 20.

Record label executive Nabil Ayers talks about his memoir, “My Life in the Sunshine,” which focuses on his relationship with his absentee father, legendary jazz musician Roy Ayers, at 6 p.m., Oct. 20.

Author Erin Carlson talks about her deep dive into the making of the movie “A League of Their Own,” called “No Crying in Baseball,” at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 20.

Education journalist Cara Fitzpatrick discusses the conservative movement for school choice in the no-mincing-words titled book “The Death of Public School” at 4:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 21.

Schuyler Bailar, a Division I swimmer and trans rights advocate, talks about his compassionate book on gender identity, “HE/SHE/THEY,” at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 21.

John Scalzi, whose new science fiction book “Starter Villain” has perhaps the greatest cover ever, will talk about the book at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 22.

Author and researcher Cat Bohannon talks about her book, “Eve,” which looks at the female body and how it evolved over the past 200 million years, at noon on Oct. 22.


Rob Thomas is the features editor of the Cap Times and has been writing about arts and entertainment since 1999. He also writes the Morning Update newsletter.

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