More than 50 authors are scheduled to speak about their latest published works at the Wisconsin Book Festival’s 22nd annual Fall Celebration October 19–22 at Central Library. The lineup features a diverse group of writers, both new and accomplished, whose work spans a broad range of genres.

“Our intention and hope is that there’s an event for every kind of reader,” said Wisconsin Book Festival Director Jane Rotonda. “Festival-goers can expect a Fall Celebration that feels like the premier literary event in Wisconsin they know and love. The programming is robust and diverse, and will celebrate our shared love of authors and books.”

Fall Celebration highlight events are listed below. All events will take place at Central Library unless otherwise noted. For those with asterisks (*), attendees will receive a free copy of the book, courtesy of the Cheryl Rosen Weston Estate.

Thursday, October 19

  • 5:30 p.m.
  • Brennan Center for Justice President and former presidential speechwriter Michael Waldman for The Supermajority
  • 7:30 p.m. Craig Thompson, award-winning graphic novelist, for Ginseng Roots

Friday, October 20

  • 5 p.m. Dan Egan, environmental journalist and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist, for The Devil’s Element at Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Building
  • 6 p.m. Acclaimed Sudanese writer, essayist and playwright Leila Aboulela for River Spirit
  • 6 p.m. Record label executive and music writer Nabil Ayers for My Life in the Sunshine*

Saturday, October 21

  • Noon Dorothy Draheim Professor of English at University of Wisconsin–Madison, essayist, and novelist Beth Nguyen for Owner of a Lonely Heart
  • 1:30 p.m. Chicago-based poet, author, and educator José Olivarez for Promises of Gold* 
  • 4:30 p.m. Cara Fitzpatrick, Pulitzer Prize Winner, editor, and freelance journalist for The Death of Public School
  • 6 p.m. Award-winning science journalist Kenneth Miller for Mapping the Darkness: The Visionary Scientists Who Unlocked the Mysteries of Sleep*
  • 7:30 p.m. Groundbreaking short-story writer and educator Jamel Brinkley for Witness
  • 7:30 p.m. Schuyler Bailar, NCAA Division I swimmer and trans rights advocate, for He/She/They

Sunday, October 22

  • Noon Evolutionary researcher and scholar Cat Bohannon for Eve
  • 1:30 p.m. John Scalzi, former president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, for Starter Villain

The Wisconsin Book Festival is proud to offer free literary events that spark conversations. Diversity — in the author lineup, book selection, and audience — continues to be a key component of festival programming. The festival is presented by Madison Public Library in partnership with Madison Public Library Foundation. For program details and the full schedule, go to

Special thanks to all 2023-24 Wisconsin Book Festival sponsors listed below!

2023-24 Wisconsin Book Festival Sponsors