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2020 Central Wisconsin Book Festival happening the last week in September!

Former Montana Poet Laureate Lowell Jaeger reads during the 2018 festival

July 1, 2020

The Marathon County Public Library, on behalf of all its partners, is happy to share that the Central Wisconsin Book Festival will return to the Wausau area for its fourth year. The first event of this year's festival is Monday, Sept. 21 and we'll follow that with SIX more days of events and finish the festival on Sunday, Sept. 27.

As Central Wisconsin (and the rest of the world) continues to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, we will err on the side of caution and host an all-virtual festival this year. Although virtual events have a different feel than in-person readings, we hope our audience will enjoy not only the lineup of authors we've booked, but also being able to watch events from the comfort and safety of home. Plus, we'll be offering events back-to-back so you don't have to choose between events, or race around Wausau to catch authors you'd really like to see! Plus, for those of you outside of the central Wisconsin area, you don't have to travel!

Our festival committee is bringing together another great variety of authors and other writers to share their time, talents and words with literature lovers in the central Wisconsin area and beyond. While we don't have specific dates and times to share just yet, we are happy to share a few authors who've already said they are willing and able to join us, including:

  • U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo will share her poems, including some from her newest collection "An American Sunrise," and answer questions at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26.

  • On Friday, Sept. 25 at 7 p.m., Timothy Egan, recipient of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, will discuss his ninth and most recent book, "A Pilgrimage to Eternity," about his thousand-mile religious odyssey across Europe, with a Q&A to follow. 

  • Tiffany Midge, author of the awesome and hilarious collection "Bury My Heart at Chuck E. Cheese's," who will read from that collection, with a Q&A to follow. Midge also is an award-winning poet, journalist and writer of op-eds and humor, and she'll also participate in a virtual panel discussion on humor writing with Steve Hannah (see below.) 

  • Jerry Apps, who will discuss and read from his new book "When Pine Was King" about Wisconsin's fabled logging industry. The book is scheduled to be published in September 2020 by the Wisconsin Historical Society Press. 

  • Steve Hannah, award-winning writer and author of "Dairylandia," which is a collection of columns Steve wrote about his adopted state of Wisconsin. Steve will share some tales from the book, and also (hopefully!) share stories and experiences from his time as CEO of the satirical media outlet The Onion (though Hannah told us he was the least funny guy in the place.)

  • Chris Fink, author of the short story collections "Add This to the List of Things You Are" and "Farmers Almanac: A Work of Fiction." Chris will read his work, talk about his writing approach and answer questions.

  • John Galligan, author of the acclaimed "Bad Axe County" mystery and the follow up, "Dead Man Dancing" coming out in Summer 2020, as well as the four-novel Fly Fishing Mystery series.

  • Charles Hagner, director of Bird City Wisconsin and author of "American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin," who will talk to us about, and show us pictures of, birds!

  • Dr. Gina Senarighi, a certified relationship coach, will discuss her experiences working in multimedia: she runs a blog called "Hey Gina," produces a podcast called "Swoon" and is the author of the just-published book "Love More, Fight Less." Also, we're carving out some time for the audience to ask their own relationship questions (and no question is taboo!)

  • Kathie Giorgio, director of the AllWriter's Workplace and Workshop in Waukesha, WI, will lead a fiction-writing workshop on Saturday, Sept. 26 and on Sunday the 27th, she'll read from her newest book of poetry, "No Matter Which Way You Look, There is More to See." 

  • In collaboration with the Master Gardener Program of Marathon CountyDouglas Tallamy will discuss his book "Nature's Best Hope: A new approach to conservation that starts in your backyard."

  • We are partnering with the North central Area congregations Organized to Make an Impact (NAOMI) for its community read centered around Merrill, WI author Jim Finucan's memoir "Wild Counselor." The book tells the story of Finucan's father, once a prominent attorney ended up homeless and suffered from a mental breakdown. In addition to the community read, NAOMI is organizing two virtual panel discussions about homelessness in the central Wisconsin area on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25-26, from 3-4 p.m. each day. Check back at this website or follow us on social media for more details about the panel discussions as the dates approach.

  • For the second straight year, our festival is also collaborating with the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service for an event. We'll co-host a virtual talk and Q&A at 7 p.m. on Sept. 22 with writer and historian Rebecca Boggs Roberts about the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment that granted women the right to vote. Boggs is the author of "Suffragists in Washington D.C.: The 1913 Parade and the Fight for the Vote" as well as a forthcoming book for young readers "The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World," co-authored by Lucinda Robb and scheduled to be published in early September.

Check back often to stay up to date on the festival! You can also follow the festival on our Facebook page and Instagram and Twitter (@BookWisconsin) to stay up to date!  If you have questions about the festival, or if you're an author who would like to join us for the festival, please contact us at

Finally, whether you live in Wausau, Superior, Milwaukee or outside of Wisconsin, you'll be able to watch as many events as you'd like and not spend a dime! Thanks to the generous support of local non-profits, all of our events are FREE! (But hey, if you're in the Wausau area, pick up some take-out or do a little shopping to help support our local business community.)

Authors Books Central Wisconsin Book Festival Events

image credit: Image by Chad Dally, Marathon County Public Library staff.