Details for our upcoming events are below. You can find a line listing of other confirmed author appearances at the bottom of the page.
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Meet Ginny Moon. She's mostly your average teenager: she plays flute in the school band, has weekly basketball practice and reads Robert Frost poems for English class. But Ginny is autistic. What's important to her might seem a bit…different: starting every day with exactly nine grapes for breakfast, singing along to Michael Jackson, taking care of her baby doll…and crafting a secret plan of escape.
Ginny has been in foster care for years and for the first time in her life she has found her forever home. After being traumatically taken from her abusive birth mother and moved around to different homes, she is finally in a place where she'll be safe and protected, with a family who will love and nurture her. This is exactly the kind of home that all foster kids are hoping for. But Ginny has other plans.
Told in an extraordinary and wholly original voice, Ginny Moon, just named one of the ten best books of the year by Library Journal, is at once quirky, charming, heartbreaking, suspenseful and poignant.
About the author: A former English teacher and new-teacher mentor, Benjamin Ludwig holds an MAT in English education and an MFA in creative writing. His novella, Sourdough, was the recipient of the 2013 Clay Reynolds Prize for the Novella. Ludwig’s inspiration for Ginny Moon came from his own daughter, and the stories of other parents whom Ludwig met while attending Special Olympics basketball games.
This book club is free and open to all and is sponsored by the Smith College Club of Milwaukee and Seven Sisters Together. There will be a discussion of The French Chef in America, and after attendees get a chance to weigh in, the group will be joined by the author, Alex Prud’homme, via Skype.
Here’s a little more about the book. Julia Child is synonymous with French cooking, but her legacy runs much deeper. Now, her great-nephew Alex Prud’homme, tells the story of the remarkable woman who found her true voice in middle age and profoundly shaped the way we eat today. The French Chef in America uncovers Julia Child beyond her French chef persona and reveals her second act to have been every bit as groundbreaking and adventurous as her first.
About the author: Alex Prud’homme is Julia Child’s great-nephew and the coauthor of her autobiography, My Life in France, which was one of two books adapted to create the film Julie & Julia. He is also the author of France Is a Feast: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child. Prud’homme’s journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Vanity Fair.
Boswell and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union, present an evening with Colson Whitehead, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad on Wednesday, January 31, 2018, 7 pm.
Tickets to the general public are $19 and include admission to the event, all taxes and ticket fees, and a signed paperback edition of The Underground Railroad. Tickets are available at whiteheadmke.brownpapertickets.com or you can order by phone at 800-838-3006. In addition, UWM students, faculty, and staff can also purchase tickets at the UWM Student Union Box Office at a special discounted price. Limit of two tickets per person.
From Ron Charles in The Washington Post: "Since his first novel, The Intuitionist, the MacArthur 'genius' has nimbly explored America's racial consciousness - and more - with an exhilarating blend of comedy, history, horror and speculative fiction. In this new book, though, those elements are choreographed as never before. The soaring arias of cleverness for which he's known have been modulated in these pages. The result is a book that resonates with deep emotional timbre. The Underground Railroad reanimates the slave narrative, disrupts our settled sense of the past and stretches the ligaments of history right into our own era."
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, The Underground Railroad received the National Book Award for fiction, the Carnegie Medal for Excellence, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. The book was an Oprah book club selection and a #1 New York Times bestseller.
About the Author: Colson Whitehead is also the author of The Noble Hustle, Zone One, Sag Harbor, The Intuitionist, John Henry Days, Apex Hides the Hurt, and The Colossus of New York. A recipient of the MacArthur and Guggenheim fellowships, he lives in New York City.
Despite being characterized as a nation of immigrants, the United States has seen a long history of immigrant rights struggles. In her timely book Against the Deportation Terror, Rachel Ida Buff uncovers this multiracial history through the story of the American Committee for the Protection of the Foreign Born (ACPFB). From its origins in the 1930s through repression during the early Cold War, to engagement with new Latinx and Caribbean immigrants in the 1970s and early 1980s, the ACPFB has responded to various, ongoing crises of what they called “the deportation terror.”
Advocates worked against repression, discrimination, detention, and expulsion in migrant communities across the nation at the same time as they supported reform of federal immigration policy. Prevailing in some cases and suffering defeats in others, the story of the ACPFB is characterized by persistence in multiracial organizing even during periods of protracted repression. By tracing the work of the ACPFB and its allies over half a century, Against the Deportation Terror provides important historical precedent for contemporary immigrant rights organizing.
About the Author: Rachel Ida Buff is Professor of History and Coordinator, Comparative Ethnic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She is the editor of Immigrant Rights in the Shadows of Citizenship and the author of Immigration and the Political Economy of Home: West Indian Brooklyn and American Indian Minneapolis, 1945-1992.
This event cosponsored by Voces de La Frontera and the UWM History Department.
Wisconsin troops fought and died for the Union on Civil War battlefields across the continent, from Shiloh to Gettysburg. Wisconsin lumberjacks built a dam that saved a stranded Union fleet. The Second Wisconsin Infantry suffered the highest percentage of battle deaths in the Union army.
Back home, in a state largely populated by immigrants and recent transplants, the war effort forced Wisconsin's residents to forge a common identity for the first time. Drawing on unpublished letters and new research, Ron Larson tells Wisconsin's Civil War story, from the famous exploits of the Iron Brigade to the heretofore largely unknown contributions of the Badger State's women, African Americans and Native Americans.
About the Author: Kenosha-native Larson is a veteran of the U.S. Army with a masters in history from Cal State Fullerton. He has worked as an embedded reporter on a number of campaigns, interviewing and photographing both soldiers and civilians, and was the head text researcher for a six-part documentary on the Ace-Award-winning Revolutionary War for TLC.
This event is cosponsored by Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, the Milwaukee Public Library, and Boswell Book Company. Registration is requested for this event at mpl.org/services/events/?eid=81421. Please note that there is a chance this event may be moved to a larger venue.
Since the dawn of the digital age, decision-making in finance, employment, politics, health and human services has undergone revolutionary change. Today, automated systems control which neighborhoods get policed, which families attain resources, and who is investigated for fraud. While we all live under this new regime of data, the most invasive and punitive systems are aimed at the poor.
Virginia Eubanks systematically investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America. Automating Inequality, in the tradition of The New Jim Crow and $2.00 a Day, is full of heart-wrenching and eye-opening stories. Publication of this book could not be timelier.
About the Author: Virginia Eubanks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is the author of Digital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age and co-editor, with Alethia Jones, of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.
Boswell is pleased to be cosponsor of an event with award-winning Danish crime writer Sara Blaedel, author of the Louise Rick series. Her first novel set in the United States will be launched at the Racine Public Library, being that Racine is the setting for her new series featuring undertaker Ilka Nichols Jensen.
Already widowed by the age of forty Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen. Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: Her father, who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on the family more than three decades ago, has died. And he's left her something in his will: his funeral home. In Racine, Wisconsin.
Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn't heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin. Desperate for a connection to the parent she never really knew, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father's things--hoping for some insight into his new life in America - before preparing the business for a quick sale.
Sara Blaedel was voted Denmark's most popular novelist four times, and is also recipient of the Golden Laurel, Denmark's most prestigious literary award. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available. For more information, contact the Racine Public Library at (262) 636-9217.
This event is sponsored by REDgen, University School of Milwaukee, and Boswell. Registration is requested for this event at redgen-usm-lahey.eventbrite.com.
Modern parenting is defined by an unprecedented level of overprotectiveness: parents who rush to school at the whim of a phone call to deliver forgotten assignments, who challenge teachers on report card disappointments, mastermind children’s friendships and interfere on the playing field. As teacher and writer Jessica Lahey explains, even though these parents see themselves as being highly responsive to their children’s well-being, they aren’t giving them the chance to experience failure - or the opportunity to learn to solve their own problems.
Providing a path toward solutions, Lahey lays out a blueprint with targeted advice for handling homework, report cards, social dynamics, and sports. Most importantly, she sets forth a plan to help parents learn to step back and embrace their children’s failures. Hard-hitting, yet warm and wise, The Gift of Failure is essential reading for parents, educators, and psychologists nationwide who want to help their children succeed.
About the Author: Jessica Lahey teaches Latin, English and writing, and writes about parenting and education for The New York Times and The Atlantic, and is a commentator on Vermont Public Radio.
Heed the call of the wild with the second book in a new action-packed animal fantasy, best for kids eight and up. Set in the African savannah, and told from three different animals’ points of view, Bravelands will thrill readers who love Spirit Animals and Wings of Fire, as well as the legion of dedicated fans who’ve made Erin Hunter, the name behind Warriors, a bestselling phenomenon.
The code of the wild has been broken. The elephant leader known as Great Mother has been murdered. Now a young baboon, elephant, and lion must come together to discover the truth, before the fragile balance of Bravelands is destroyed forever.
About the Author: Gillian Philip, one of the Erin Hunters, was born in Glasgow, lived for twelve years in Barbados, and now lives in the north of Scotland with her husband, twin children, three dogs, two sociopathic cats, a slayer hamster, three chickens, and a lot of nervous fish.
Crimespree magazine is one of the preeminent publications devoted to mysteries and thrillers, and it's based right here in Milwaukee. In addition, each fall Milwaukee hosts Murder + Mayhem, an action-packed, all-day mystery extravaganza at the Irish Cultural Center, filled with interviews, panel discussions, and signings with dozens of writers. For this, Ruth Jordan, in partnership with her husband Jon, received the Mystery Writers of America Raven Award for outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing.
We’re excited to bring Murder + Mayhem to Boswell with a special appearance of Denmark crime writer sensation Sara Blaedel, author of the international bestselling Louise Rick series, in conversation with Ruth. Blaedel’s novel is the first to feature Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school photographer turned undertaker when she inherits a funeral home from her estranged father in Racine, Wisconsin. One of her first charges is to ready the victim of an unsolved murder begging to be solved, but it turns out there’s bigger funny business afoot at the Home – why is everyone involved so desperate to sell the business to a competitor?
Sara Blaedel, voted Denmark’s favorite crime writer four times, is also winner of the Golden Laurel. Tess Gerritsen is also a fan: “Compelling and unique, The Undertaker’s Daughter delves into a dark and fascinating world rarely explored in suspense fiction. Sara Blaedel knows how to reel in her readers and keep them utterly transfixed."
From Newbery Medal winner and National Book Award finalist Jack Gantos comes advice on how to be the best brilliant writer in this funny and practical writing guide for children ages 9 and up. With the signature wit and humor that have garnered him legions of fans, award-winning author Jack Gantos instructs young writers on using their writing radar to find story ideas in their own lives. Charting his own misadventures as an adolescent writer, Gantos inspires readers to build confidence and establish good writing habits as they create, revise, and perfect their stories.
Pop-out text boxes highlight key tips, alongside dozens of Gantos's own hilarious illustrations and original stories. More than just a how-to guide, Writing Radar is a celebration of the power of storytelling and an ode to the characters who, many unwittingly, inspired Gantos's own writing career.
About the Author: Jack Gantos has written books for people of all ages. His works include Hole in My Life, a Michael L. Printz Honor memoir; Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist; and Dead End in Norvelt, a Newbery Award winner. The seeds for Jack’s writing career were planted in sixth grade, when he read his sister’s diary and decided he could write better than she could. He began to collect anecdotes he overheard, mostly from eavesdropping outside the teachers’ lounge, later including many of these anecdotes in his books.
This event is free and open to the public. Signing restrictions may be put in place, depending on the size of the crowd.
In The Maze at Windermere, which Ron Charles in The Washington Post called a “staggeringly brilliant novel,” Gregory Blake Smith weaves intersecting worlds into a brilliant tapestry, charting a voyage across the ages into the maze of the human heart. This event is cosponsored by the Milwaukee Carleton Club.
A reckless wager between a tennis pro with a fading career and a drunken party guest - the stakes are an antique motorcycle and an heiress’s diamond necklace—launches a narrative odyssey set in Newport, Rhode Island, that braids together three centuries of aspiration and adversity. A witty and urbane bachelor of the Gilded Age embarks on a high-risk scheme to marry into a fortune; a young writer soon to make his mark turns himself to his craft with harrowing social consequences; an aristocratic British officer during the American Revolution carries on a courtship that leads to murder; and, in Newport’s earliest days, a tragically orphaned Quaker girl imagines a way forward for herself and the slave girl she has inherited.
Here’s Jane Hamilton’s enthusiastic recommendation: “The Maze at Windermere is thrilling. This novel restored my faith and made me laugh out loud. It's rare that a novel comes along that is broad ranging, so very funny, profound, provocative, literary, and page-turning, and also word perfect. I went right back to the beginning when I'd finished, marveling again at the radiant mind of Gregory Blake Smith.”
About the Author: Gregory Blake Smith is the award-winning author of three previous novels, including The Divine Comedy of John Venner, a New York Times Notable Book. His short story collection, The Law of Miracles, won the Juniper Prize and the Minnesota Book Award. Smith is currently the Lloyd P. Johnson-Norwest Professor of English and the Liberal Arts at Carleton College.
Craig S. Chapman tells the story of an American soldier's growth from a Second Lieutenant eager to prove his worth in battle to a skilled and resolute commander over the course of the Northern European Campaign. Chapman delves deep into the personal recollections and mental state of his father Bill as he fought against the Nazis, enduring frontline combat and witnessing horror on a massive scale. Lieutenant Chapman maintains his sanity by isolating his emotions from the chaos of the battlefield, and the young officer turns into a hard-edged warrior who dispassionately orders men to risk their lives yet still manages to hold onto his humanity.
As a devoted son, Craig Chapman pressured his father to write down his war experiences in his own voice but he resisted the idea. Bill Chapman, who went on to be a senior executive at Milwaukee’s Johnson Controls and the volunteer executive director at Discovery World, could talk openly about what he went through but he did not want to dwell on that part of his life. Eventually, Bill brushed off Craig's efforts with a curt remark that Craig should write his war stories, given that he had heard them so many times. Bill died a few years later.
About the Author: Craig S. Chapman retired after 34 years as an Account Executive, Network Data Specialist and IT Project Manager for GE, AT&T and Lightwave Consulting Group. He also had a secondary career as an officer in the North Carolina National Guard.
REDgen, Marquette University, and Boswell Book Company present an afternoon with pioneering physician Nadine Burke Harris. Our event at the Varsity Theatre is full but overflow seating is available at Weasler Auditorium. This event is conjunction with the publication of The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity, which reveals how childhood stress leads to lifelong health problems and what we can do to break the cycle. Registration is required for this event. Please register here.
Through storytelling that delivers both scientific insight and moving stories of personal impact, Burke Harris illuminates her journey of discovery, from research labs nationwide to her own pediatric practice in San Francisco’s Bayview-Hunters Point. For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the innovative and acclaimed health interventions outlined in The Deepest Well will represent vitally important hope for change.
About the Author: Nadine Burke Harris, MD, is founder and CEO of the Center for Youth Wellness in San Francisco's Bayview-Hunters Point. She is the subject of a New Yorker profile and was the recent recipient of a prestigious Heinz Award in 2016, among many other honors. Her TED talk, "I Was Thinking Too Small," previewed the subject of The Deepest Well, her first book.
More Upcoming Events
- Monday, February 12, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – An evening of romance, presented by the Wisconsin chapter of the Romance Writers of America, featuring Sonali Dev, author of A Distant Heart, Lori Handeland, author of Beauty and the Bounty Hunter, Ann Voss Peterson, author of Dead Too Soon, Jennifer Rupp, author of Tying the Scot, and reviewer and founder of Read-a-Romance Month, Bobbi Dumas.
- Wednesday, February 14, 7:00 pm, at Boswell - Omar El Akkad, author of American War, in conversation with the Journal Sentinel's Meg Jones. Michiko Kakutani praised American War in The New York Times as “as haunting a postapocalyptic universe as Cormac McCarthy did in The Road, and as devastating a look at the fallout that national events have on an American family as Philip Roth did in The Plot Against America."
- Thursday, February 15, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Former Milwaukeean Cynthia Swanson, author of The Glass Forest, from the author of The Bookseller
- Tuesday, February 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Former Wauwatosan Tom Miller, author of The Philosopher’s Flight, for fans of Lev Grossman and Deborah Harkness
- Wednesday, February 21, 2:00 pm, at Boswell – a special daytime event with Charles Finch, author of The Woman in the Water, a prequel to the Charles Lenox mysteries
- Wednesday, February 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell –Bhupendra O. Khatri , author of Healthcare 911: How America's Broken Healthcare System Is Driving Doctors to Despair, Depriving Patients of Care, and Destroying Our Reputation in the World
- Thursday, March 1, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – The UWM English Department presents the United We Read Student Faculty reading series
- Thursday, March 1, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30 talk, at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Road – World Fantasy Award and Newbery Medal winner Kelly Barnhill, author of Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories, produced by Milwaukee Reads. Tickets include admission and a copy of Dreadful Young Ladies. For more info, visit the Lynden Sculpture Garden site.
- Tuesday, March 6, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Michael Moreci, author of Black Star Renegades , as well as stories for DC Comics’ Suicide Squad, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman
- Friday, March 9, 7:00 pm, at Boswell –Shelly Drake Hawkes, author of The Art of Resistance: Painting by Candlelight in Mao's China
- Monday, March 19, 7:00 pm, at Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, 1111 E Brown Deer Rd in Bayside – Scott Freeman and Susan Leopold Freeman, author and illustrator of Saving Tarboo Creek: One Family's Quest to Heal the Land . Free with Schlitz Audubon membership or admission
- Tuesday, March 20, 7:00 pm, at Urban Ecology Center in Riverside Park, 1500 E Park Pl – Michael Edmonds, author and illustrator of Taking Flight: A History of Birds and People in the Heart of America . Admission is free for this event; donations to the Urban Ecology Center gratefully accepted.
- Sunday, March 25, 3:00 pm, at Boswell – Patricia Ann McNair, author of And These Are the Good Times: A Chicago Gal Riffs on Death, Sex, Life, Dancing, Writing, Wonder, Loneliness, Place, Family, Faith, Coffee, and the FBI, Yvonne Stephens, author of The Salt Before It Shakes, and Carol Wobig, author of The Collected Stories, cosponsored by Red Oak Writing
- Tuesday, March 27, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Lawrence Baldassaro, author of Baseball Italian Style: Great Stories Told by Italian American Major Leaguers from Crosetti to Piazza
- Wednesday, March 28, 6:30 pm, at Zimmerman Architectural Studios, 2122 W Mt Vernon Ave – Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear presents Patrick Steele, author of Home of the Braves: The Battle for Baseball in Milwaukee, cosponsored by Boswell. $5 admission supports Chudnow Museum
- Thursday, March 29, 7:00 pm, at the Edith S Hefter Conference Center, 3271 N Lake Dr– The UWM Visiting Writer Series presents Dan Kois , coauthor of The World Only Spins Forward: The Ascent of Angels in America
- Saturday March 31, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Sonya Renee Taylor, author of The Body Is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love
- Tuesday, April 3, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Our ninth birthday party, featuring Liam Callanan, author of Paris by the Book, cosponsored by Alliance Française de Milwaukee
- Friday, April 13, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Debut novelist (and former Milwaukeean) Rebecca L. Brown, author of Flying at Night
- Tuesday, April 17, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Milwaukee-area screenwriter and novelist Tom Matthews, author of Raising the Dead
- Wednesday, April 25, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Ken Leinbach, author of Urban Ecology: A Natural Way to Transform Kids, Parks, Cities, and the World , cosponsored by the Urban Ecology Center
Please remember that while we try to update this page as frequently as possible, all events are subject to change. If you have any concerns, please contact Boswell. Also note that ticketed events do sell out, and all events are subject to capacity. It never hurts to come early.