Upcoming Events

Details for our upcoming events are below. You can find a line listing of other confirmed author appearances at the bottom of the page.

If you want to hear about events in your in box, sign up for our email newsletter or the Boswell and Books blog. And, you can always pre-order or reserve a signed copy of your favorite author's new title if you can't make an event!  

Karen Branan, author of The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth Sunday, February 26, 3:00 pm, at Boswell
Harris County, Georgia, 1912. A white man, the beloved nephew of the county sheriff, is shot dead on the porch of a black woman. Days later, the sheriff sanctions the lynching of a black woman and three black men, all of them innocent. For Karen Branan, the great-granddaughter of that sheriff, this isn’t just history—this is family history.

Branan spent nearly twenty years combing through diaries and letters, hunting for clues in libraries and archives throughout the United States and interviewing community elders to piece together the events and motives that led a group of people to murder four of their fellow citizens in such a brutal public display. Her research revealed surprising new insights into the day-to-day reality of race relations in the Jim Crow–era South, but what she ultimately discovered was far more personal.

About the Author: Karen Branan is a veteran journalist who has written for newspapers, magazines, the stage, and television for almost fifty years. Her work has appeared in Life,Good Housekeeping, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and on various television networks. Branan is affiliated with Coming to the Table, an organization founded by the black and white descendants of Thomas Jefferson.

This event is cosponsored by The American Black Holocaust Museum.

Tuesday, February 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell

Beginning with the release of the Magnavox Odyssey and Pong in 1972, video games, whether played in arcades and taverns or in family rec rooms, became part of popular culture, like television. In fact, video games were sometimes seen as an improvement on television because they spurred participation rather than passivity. These "space-age pinball machines" gave coin-operated games a high-tech and more respectable profile. In Atari Age, Michael Newman charts the emergence of video games in America from ball-and-paddle games to hits like Space Invaders and Pac-Man, describing their relationship to other amusements and technologies and showing how they came to be identified with the middle class, youth, and masculinity.

Newman shows that the "new media" of video games were understood in varied, even contradictory ways. They were family fun (but mainly for boys), better than television (but possibly harmful), and educational (but a waste of computer time). Drawing on a range of sources, including the games and their packaging; coverage in the popular, trade, and fan press; social science research of the time; advertising and store catalogs; and representations in movies and television, Newman describes the series of cultural contradictions through which the identity of the emerging medium worked itself out.

About the Author: Michael Z. Newman is Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Kelly Jensen and Mikki Kendall, editor of and contributor to
Thursday, March 2, 7:00 pm at Boswell

Have you ever wanted to be a superheroine? Join a fandom? Create the perfect empowering playlist? Understand exactly what it means to be a feminist in the twenty-first century? You’ve come to the right place.

Forty-four writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, they share diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like.

About the Editor: Kelly Jensen is a former librarian-turned-editor for Book Riot and Stacked. She's the author of It Happens: A Guide to Contemporary Realistic Fiction for the YA Reader.

About the Contributor: Mikki Kendall is a writer, diversity consultant, and facilitates discussions on intersectionality, policing, gender, sexual assault, and other current events.

A ticketed event with Christine Baker Kline, author of A Piece of the World
Sunday, March 5, 2:00 pm reception 2:30 pm talk at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd.

Bestselling author of Orphan Train, delivers a novel of friendship, passion, and art, inspired by Andrew Wyeth. A Piece of the World is the story of Christina Olson, the complex woman and real-life muse Andrew Wyeth portrayed in his 1948 masterpiece Christina’s World. The painting — which features a mysterious woman in a pink dress sitting in a field, gazing at a weathered house in the distance — is an iconic piece of American art and hangs in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as part of their permanent collection.

Tickets for this event are $30 and $25 for members. For more details and purchasing information please visit the Lynden Sculpture Garden’s website.

About the Author: Christina Baker Kline is the author of five novels. Her most recent novel, Orphan Train, has spent more than two years on the New York Times bestseller list, including five weeks at # 1, and has been published in 38 countries. Her other novels include The Way Life Should Be, Sweet Water, Bird in Hand, and Desire Lines.

Will Schwalbe, author of Books for Living
Monday, March 6, 7:00 pm at Boswell

From the author of the beloved best-selling The End of Your Life Book Club, an inspiring and magical exploration of the power of books to shape our lives in an era of constant connectivity. Why is it that we read? Is it to pass time? To learn something new? To escape from reality? For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big and small questions about how to live his life.

In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions. In each chapter, he discusses a particular book, what brought him to it, the people in his life he associates with it, and how it became a part of his understanding of himself in the world. These books span centuries and genres, from classic works of adult and children’s literature to contemporary thrillers and even cookbooks, and each one relates to the questions and concerns we all share.

Throughout, Schwalbe focuses on the way certain books can help us honor those we’ve loved and lost and figure out how to live each day more fully. Rich with stories and recommendations, Books for Living is a treasure for everyone who loves books and loves to hear the answer to the question: “What are you reading?”

About the Author: Will Schwalbe has worked in publishing; in digital media, as the founder and CEO of Cookstr.com; and as a journalist, writing for various publications, including The New York Times and the South China Morning Post. He is the author of The End of Your Life Book Club and coauthor, with David Shipley, of Send: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do It Better.

Nickolas Butler, author of The Hearts of Men
Tuesday, March 7, 7:00 pm at Boswell

An epic novel of intertwining friendships and families set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at a beloved Boy Scout summer camp from the bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs. Camp Chippewa, 1962. Nelson Doughty, age thirteen, social outcast and overachiever, is the Bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning. Yet this particular summer marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan.

Over the years, Nelson, irrevocably scarred from the Vietnam War, becomes Scoutmaster of Camp Chippewa, while Jonathan marries, divorces, and turns his father’s business into a highly profitable company. And when something unthinkable happens at a camp get-together with Nelson as Scoutmaster and Jonathan’s teenage grandson and daughter-in-law as campers, the aftermath demonstrates the depths and the limits of Nelson’s selflessness and bravery.

The Hearts of Men is a sweeping, panoramic novel about the slippery definitions of good and evil, family and fidelity, the challenges and rewards of lifelong friendships, the bounds of morality, and redemption.

About the Author: Nickolas Butler was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and raised in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and the author of the internationally bestselling and prizewinning novel Shotgun Lovesongs and the acclaimed short-story collection Beneath the Bonfire.

Jerome Buting, author of Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer and America’s Broken System in conversation with Lake Effect's Mitch Teich 
Wednesday, March 8, 7:00 pm at Boswell

Interweaving an insider’s account of the true crime saga driving the Netflix sensation, Making a Murderer, with other controversial cases from his career, this powerful memoir from Steven Avery’s defense attorney reveals the flaws in America's criminal justice system and puts forth a provocative, persuasive call for reform. 

In Illusion of Justice, Buting uses the Avery case as a springboard to examine the shaky integrity of our law enforcement and legal systems, which he has witnessed firsthand for nearly four decades. From his early career as a public defender to his success overturning wrongful convictions, his story provides a compelling insider’s view into the high-stakes world of criminal defense and suggests that while in principle the law presumes innocence, in practice it more often than not presumes guilt.

Combining narrative reportage with critical commentary and personal reflection, Buting explores his professional motivations, the high-profile cases that defined his career, and the path to much-needed criminal justice reform. Buting is relentless, eloquent, and determined to fulfill his professional responsibility and make the judicial system work as it is designed to do.

About the Author: Jerome F. Buting is a partner in the Brookfield, Wisconsin, law firm of Buting, Williams & Stilling, S.C. He received his undergraduate degree in Forensic Studies from Indiana University and his law degree from the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill. He was a board director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, a past president of the Wisconsin Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and was chair of the Wisconsin State Bar Criminal Law Section from 2005 to 2007. He lectures worldwide and is frequently sought for his legal expertise. He is also the 2016 recipient of the Fierce Advocate Award from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

About Mitch Teich: Mitch joined WUWM in February 2006 as the Executive Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect. He has won many awards including several regional awards from the Radio Television News Directors Association and national awards from the Public Radio News Directors Inc.

Margaret George, author of The Confessions of Young Nero in conversation with Elfrieda Abbe 
Thursday, March 9, 7:00 pm at Boswell

Bestselling author of Mary, Called Magdalene, brings the rise of an Emperor to vivid life in her latest work of captivating historical fiction. Built on the backs of those who fell before it, Julius Caesar’s imperial dynasty is only as strong as the next person who seeks to control it. In the Roman Empire, no one is safe from the sting of betrayal: man, woman, or child.

While Nero idealizes the artistic and athletic principles of Greece, his very survival rests on his ability to navigate the sea of vipers that is Rome. The most lethal of all is his own mother, a cold-blooded woman whose singular goal is to control the empire. But as Agrippina’s machinations earn her son a title he is both tempted and terrified to assume, Nero’s determination to escape her thrall will shape him into the Emperor he was fated to become.

Filled with impeccable research and captivating prose, The Confessions of Young Nero is the story of a boy’s ruthless ascension to the throne. Detailing his journey from innocent youth to infamous ruler, it is an epic tale of the lengths to which man will go in the ultimate quest for power and survival.

About the Author: Madisonian Margaret George, is the bestselling author of six novels of biographical historical fiction, including Mary, Called Magdalene, The Memoirs of Cleopatra, and Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles.

About Elfrieda Abbe: Elfrieda Abbe is a nationally published writer and researcher specializing in arts. She is a freelance book critic with numerous reviews and author interviews published in newspapers and magazines.

Friday, March 10, 7:00 pm at Boswell

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter and twice Pulitzer Prize finalist, Dan Egan, delivers a landmark work of science, history, and reporting on the past, present and imperiled future of the Great Lakes. Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work, and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent.

Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes blends the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come. Egan explores why outbreaks of toxic algae stemming from the over application of farm fertilizer have left massive biological “dead zones” that threaten the supply of fresh water. He examines fluctuations in the levels of the lakes caused by manmade climate change and overzealous dredging of shipping channels. And he reports on the chronic threats to siphon off Great Lakes water to slake drier regions of America or to be sold abroad.

In an age when dire problems like the Flint water crisis or the California drought bring ever more attention to the indispensability of safe, clean, easily available water, The Death and the Life of the Great Lakes is a powerful paean to what is arguably our most precious resource, an urgent examination of what threatens it, and a convincing call to arms about the relatively simple things we need to do to protect it.

About the Author: Dan Egan is a reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and he has won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award, John B. Oakes Award, AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award, and J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award. Egan is graduate of the Columbia Journalism School.

Wednesday, March 15, 7:00 pm at Boswell

The first African American and Muslim woman to receive tenure at Beloit College sheds light on families whose form and function conflict with U.S. civil law. Polygyny, multiple-wife marriage, has steadily emerged as an alternative to the low numbers of marriageable African American men and the high number of female-led households in black America.

Featuring the voices of women who welcome polygyny, oppose it, acquiesce to it, or even negotiate power in its practices, Majeed examines the choices available to African American Muslim women who are considering polygyny or who are living it. She calls attention to the ways in which interpretations of Islam’s primary sources are authorized or legitimated to regulate the rights of Muslim women. Highlighting the legal, emotional, and communal implications of polygyny, Majeed encourages Muslim communities to develop formal measures that ensure the welfare of women and children who are otherwise not recognized by the state.

Amina Wadud, author of Inside The Gender Jihad offers, “Captivating, provocative, and groundbreaking. Taking up the mandate that women's realities matter, Majeed writes with depth and analytical rigor about a topic we have scarcely begun to understand."

About the Author: Debra Majeed is a tenured Professor of Religious Studies at Beloit College.

Thursday, March 16, 7:00 pm at Urban Ecology Center1500 E Park Pl

After stumbling upon a book of photographs depicting extinct animals, B.J. Hollars became fascinated by the creatures that are no longer with us; specifically, extinct North American birds. And so begins his yearlong journey, one that leads him from bogs to art museums, from archives to Christmas Counts, until he at last comes as close to extinct birds as he ever will during a behind-the-scenes visit at the Chicago Field Museum.

Armed with binoculars, a field guide, and knowledgeable friends, he begins his transition from budding birder to environmentally conscious citizen, a first step on a longer journey toward understanding the true tragedy of a bird's song silenced forever. Told with charm and wit, Flock Together is a moving elegy to birds we've lost, and Hollars's exploration of what we can learn from extinct species will resonate in the minds of readers long beyond the final page.

Suggested general admission is $10 and $5 for Urban Ecology Center members.

About the Author: B.J. Hollars is an associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire and the author of From the Mouths of Dogs: What Our Pets Teach Us About Life, Death, and Being Human and several other works of non-fiction.

More Upcoming Events

  • Tuesday, March 21, 1:00 pm, at Boswell – a special afternoon event with Renee Rosen, author of  Windy City Blues, cosponsored by UWM’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute
  • Wednesday, March 29, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Jami Attenberg, author of  All Grown Up, in conversation with Wendy McClure
  • Monday, April 10, 7 pm, at Boswell – a ticketed event with Andrew McCarthy, author of  Just Fly Away. Tickets are $19, and include the book, plus all taxes and fees
  • Saturday, April 15 , 2:00 pm, at Boswell – a book club afternoon with Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of  The Nest, with recommendations from Jane Glaser and Daniel Goldin
  • Wednesday, April 19 , 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Megan Miranda, author of  The Perfect Stranger and All the Missing Girls
  • Tuesday, April 25, 7 pm, at Boswell – a ticketed event with Jen Sincero, author of  You Are a Badass at Making Money. Tickets are $27, and include the book, plus all taxes and fees. Cosponsored by WWBIC, the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation
  • Friday, May 5, 11:00 am (signing), 12 Noon (lunch), at The Wisconsin Club – the Milwaukee Public Library Literary Lunch, featuring Elizabeth Strout, author of  Anything is Possible. Tickets available soon!
  • Wednesday, May 17, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Guggenheim Fellowship and Story Prize winner Mary Gordon, author of  There Your Heart Lies

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.