Under the leadership of new Director Jane Rotonda, the Wisconsin Book Festival presented 91 free author programs in 2023, concluding a fantastic year with beloved children’s author Jan Brett speaking about her latest book, Cozy, on December 2.

Last spring, the festival brought musician and Crying in H Mart author Michelle Zauner, and actor Elliot Page for his memoir Pageboy to the Barrymore Theatre for standing-room-only events. During the four-day Fall Celebration weekend, the festival hosted 54 authors, from local favorites to New York Times best-sellers: Craig Thompson, Dan Egan, Vauhini Vara, Nabil Ayers, Beth Nguyen, Jamel Brinkley, Schuyler Bailar, José Olivarez, Cat Bohannon, and John Scalzi, among others. Madison Public Library Foundation provided festival-goers with free Cafe Domestique coffee (pictured above) on Saturday. New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast had the honor of delivering the Cheryl Rosen Weston Memorial Lecture in November.

Presented by Madison Public Library in partnership with Madison Public Library Foundation, the festival is incredibly grateful to Marvin J. Levy, Signature Sponsor; Madison Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, and Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, Presenting Sponsors; the Cheryl Rosen Weston Estate, Festival Patron; and the many other sponsors for their steadfast support.

Most Fall Celebration events were recorded, and you can find those by visiting wisconsinbookfestival.org and clicking on the page for the event you’d like to watch.

Spring Events

The festival will take a break from programming through late February, but there are a dozen events already scheduled for spring! They include:

Best-selling novelist and essayist Leslie Jamison for her blazing memoir Splinters: Another Kind of Love Story, February 27

  • Andrew J. Graff for his heartfelt novel True North, February 28
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Ed Yong for An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us, March 7, presented by Aldo Leopold Foundation in partnership with the festival, virtual via Crowdcast
  • Professor and activist Trish O’Kane for her memoir Birding to Change the World, March 12
  • Best-selling author Caroline Paul for Tough Broad: From Boogie Boarding to Wing Walking – How Outdoor Adventure Improves Our Lives as We Age, March 13
  • UW–Madison Fiction MFA Graduates Reading, March 18
  • Award-winning author Valeria Luiselli for Lost Children Archive, April 15
  • 2024 Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows Reading, April 18
  • New York Times best-selling author Amor Towles, whose novels include A Gentleman in Moscow and The Lincoln Highway, for Table for Two, April 30 (location TBD)
  • 2024 Creative Writing Awards Ceremony, May 2
  • Award-winning fiction writer and essayist Emily Raboteau for Lessons for Survival: Mothering Against “The Apocalypse,” May 8

All events will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held at Central Library unless otherwise noted. More details will be available in early 2024 at wisconsinbookfestival.org.

Also, If you’re in need of a last-minute gift this holiday season, consider a Wisconsin Book Festival gift membership! For a donation of $100 or more, members receive reserved seating at select festival events, an invitation to the exclusive Fall Celebration schedule launch party, and placement on the priority email list. Festival memberships are a great gift for friends, family members, coworkers, teachers, and other book lovers in your life!

Purchase now at wisconsinbookfestival.org/give.