Fox Cities Book Festival 2019

Image of FCBF authors


2019 Fox Cities Book Festival

October 7-13, 2019

Connecting Writers and Readers

One week, over 50 authors with a variety of events at a different Fox Cities venue each day! Please visit to view a full schedule of events and to learn more about the authors. All events are free and open to the public, please join us for a fantastic festival!

Neenah Public Library will be hosting the Festival on Thursday, October 10th & Saturday, October 12th

Schedule of Events at the Neenah Public Library

Stay all day!

Thursday October 10, 2019

10:00 AM: All the Hometown Boys: Wisconsin’s 150th Machine Gun Battalion with Brad Larson

"Today, the 150th is all but forgotten, in part because their unit history was never written. Through letters, diaries, and other recollections, Larson tells us the story of these Guardsmen’s experiences. He traces the path of their wartime service and considers the impact of war’s trauma and tedium on their lives."

Brad Larson has been the director of the Oshkosh Public Museum since 1989 and has been researching and presenting public programs about the 150th Machine Gun Battalion for many years. He is the author of Voices of History, 1941–1945 and All the Hometown Boys: Wisconsin's 150th Machine Gun Battalion in World War I.

12:00 PM: From Writer to Author: A Journey with Rae Miles

From first draft to published novel, one writer’s experience of breaking into the publishing industry.

Rae Miles: A Wisconsin native who has yet to escape the frigid Midwest, Rae started creating characters at a young age, dreaming one day she'd have a place for them to call home. Many years and a writing degree later, that dream came true with her debut young adult fantasy novel, Successor. She is currently working on its sequel, along with a new young adult series. When not writing, Rae's absorbed in reading, movies, painting, napping, and buzzing around town on her moped. She also dabbles in voice-over work and has narrated the audiobook Dangerous Hauntings by Jo Barrett. She shares her humble abode with three quirky cats, to which Successor is dedicated.

2:00 PM: Wisconsin Lighthouses with Barb and Ken Wardius

Interested in Wisconsin lighthouses and their fascinating history? Explore the state’s waterways and be enthralled with stories of dedication and bravery from a bye gone era. Spectacular images highlight the program.

Barb and Ken Wardius are lifelong residents of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. They have traveled statewide and nationally, pursuing their hobbies of lighthouse history and photography. They are authors of four lighthouse books including: Wisconsin Lighthouses; Cana Island Lighthouse; Wind Point Lighthouse”; and North Point Milwaukee Lighthouse. Barb and Ken lead lighthouse tours and are sought after lighthouse lecturers, offering presentations that reflect their lighthouse books. They also belong to several organizations dedicated to lighthouse preservation including the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, the Wisconsin Historical Society, Wisconsin Maritime Museum at Manitowoc, the Door County Maritime Museum, the Wisconsin Lighthouse District (WILD), the Racine Lighthouse and Maritime Preservation Society, North Point Lighthouse Friends, the Friends of Rock Island, and the Friends of Plum and Pilot Island.

4:00 PM: Learning to See the World as a Writer with Christina Hagmann

It takes a lot more than a good idea to make a good story. Author Christina Hagmann will talk about learning to see the world as a writer.

Christina Hagmann: Growing up in rural Wisconsin, climbing trees, swimming in creeks (pronounced "cricks"), and generally running amok, sparked Christina’s creativity at a young age. In fifth grade, while on a family vacation, she stealthy read her first Stephen King novel after her mom told her not to. That was when Christina realized that reading could be “dangerous.” The same year, she wrote her first scary short story, and she's been making up stories ever since. Christina is the author of the young adult novel Stratagem and the upcoming young adult fantasy, The Brothers Finn. She is also a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. When not writing short stories or novels, Christina can be found spending time with her family, teaching readers and writers, coaching basketball and volleyball, and going to Brewers games. She continues to read and write dangerously.

6:30 PM: Wisconsin Riffs: Jazz Profiles from the Heartland with Kurt Dietrich

"Although New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago are often considered the epicenters of American jazz, this extensive, upbeat compilation of jazz musician biographies details Wisconsin's rich association the genre since its the inception of the genre in the early 1900s."

Kurt Dietrich is a professor of music and the Barbara Baldwin DeFrees Chair in the Performing Arts at Ripon College. He is the author of Duke's Bones: Ellington's Great Trombonists, as well as numerous articles for publications including Annual Review of Jazz Studies and Black Music Research Journal. He is a longtime player of jazz and has performed on numerous recordings.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

10:30 AM: The Mill Literary Prizes

The Mill: A Place for Writers announces the annual Mill Prizes, awarding both short fiction and poetry. The contest is open to all writers within the Fox Cities. This year at the Fox Cities Book Festival, don’t just listen to other writers. Submit your work!

11:30 AM: Poetry Reading with Tom Montag

Exploring the heart of the country; or, as Nancy Besonen has said, "Tom Montag is defining the character of the Midwest - one character at a time."

Tom Montag is recently the author of In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013, This Wrecked World, and The Miles No One Wants. He has been a featured poet at Atticus Review, Contemporary American Voices, Houseboat, and Basil O'Flaherty Review, and in the past two years received Pushcart Prize nominations from Provo Canyon Review, Blue Heron Review, and The Lake. He has been writing and publishing poetry and creative nonfiction for more than fifty years in a wide variety of little magazines. He also blogs at The Middlewesterner. He is currently co-editing an anthology of poetry about small town America with David Graham.

1:00 PM: The Power of the Romance Genre

The Wisconsin Chapter of the Romance Writers of America presents a panel discussion on the today’s romance genre, its impact on the publishing market, and its role in the women’s movement. Millions of readers have stopped referring to romance as a guilty pleasure, preferring to acknowledge the power of the happily ever after the genre provides. Join us for a revelatory and lively conversation.

Panelists are WisRWA published romance authors: Kayla Bain-Vrba (Words of Divinity), Melonie Johnson (Getting Hot with the Scot), Virginia McCullough (Amber Light), and Jennifer Trethewey (Saving the Scot).

2:30 PM: I Believe in Yesterday: History and Place Illuminate Fiction with Scott Winkler, Edward S. Louis and Dan Linssen

Three Wisconsin novelists discuss their novels’ origins and inspiration, exploring how a firm foundation in time and place enables fiction to explore timeless, universal human themes.

Dan Linssen, Edward S. Louis (Ed Risden), and Scott Winkler have all found inspiration for their Wisconsin-based novels in the worlds of our parents and grandparents: Linssen in the transition from innocence to experience in the late 1950s, Louis in the dire circumstances of the Great Depression, and Winkler in the impact the late 1960s on a family living in rural Northeast Wisconsin.  In their panel, these writers will discuss the origins and inspiration of their novels–how they conduct background research and incorporate it in their work–as well as explore how a firm foundation in a particular place and time nurtures and enables works of fiction to explore timeless, universal human themes. Each writer may share short excerpts highlighting elements of their works, and they will take questions from the audience.