Central Wisconsin Book Festival (CWBF)

Central Wisconsin Book Festival 2019 logo

Save the Date! The 2019 Central Wisconsin Book Festival will be held Sept. 27-29!

We're hard at work planning for this year's festival, trying to find a great mix of authors and others in what we hope will result in a great selection of readings, storytelling events, workshops and more!

As of mid-July, we're still getting our final lineup set, but we do have some guests we're able to share. Before we get to that, some great news on funding!

  • For the second year, we've secured an Arts Grant from the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin. This amount of this year's grant is an incredible $4,928, which will cover more than a few authors and some publicity to get the word out!
  • New this year, but no less awesome and still very much appreciated, is a $2,000 grant from the Dudley Foundation in Wausau. Their staff was incredibly helpful and we're thankful for their support!
  • Since our first festival in 2017, the Marathon County Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Marathon County Public Library have supported the CWBF financially, and that continues in 2019. Our Foundation is providing $2,000 toward the festival, and our Friends group has contributed another $750.

How will we be using some of that generously provided funding?

  • We are absolutely thrilled to bring Marathon County native Craig Thompson back to his old drawing board, so to speak, for one of our headline events! Thompson, who grew up in Marathon City, is the award-winning author and cartoonist who created Blankets and Habibi, among other graphic-illustrated books. Craig lives in Los Angeles and doesn’t do events in Wisconsin too often, so this should be a really fun event with an incredibly talented artist. He’ll talk with Wisconsin Public Radio reporter (and, full disclosure, CWBF committee member) Rob Mentzer about his work and career, and talk about his new project: the comic series “Ginseng Roots,” partly set in Marathon County, which Craig worked on with his younger brother, Phil! A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.
  • Dr. Charles Hughes, director of the Lynne and Henry Turley Memphis Center at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. Hughes grew up in Wausau and attended what was then the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County before eventually earning a Ph.D. at UW-Madison in 2012. He held a series of lectures about music during a residency at UWMC (now UW-Stevens Point at Wausau) in 2016, not too long after he published his first book, “Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South. Not only are we excited to hear Charles read some of his work – including, hopefully, a preview of his current project on the history of African-Americans and professional wrestling – but we’re also working on a plan to include live music played by Charles and some of his friends! (We’re also in talks to bring in a second author to join Charles, also a talented and published writer about music and pop culture, but we have to keep that under the cap for now.)
  • On the fiction front, we have (at least) several Wisconsin authors (for now) joining us to talk not only about their books, but also their craft. That includes Liam Callanan, author of several books including the national bestseller “Paris by the Book,” and one of Wisconsin’s favorite writers, Victoria Houston, author of the popular Loon Lake mystery series.
  • If you prefer true tales, we have plenty of non-fiction authors lined up as well! A few confirmed guests include award-winning journalist and broadcaster Stuart Levitan will talk about what Madison, WI was like in the 1960s, which he detailed in a newer book. Also joining us from Madison, Jen Rubin will talk about her memoir of her family’s business that ran for 80 years in New York. And if you’re curious about outdoor adventures, you won’t want to miss Melanie McManus’ talk about hiking the entire 1,000-plus miles of the Ice Age Trail in Wisconsin, which she wrote about in a recent book.
  • Each year we’ve also made a concerted effort to include poetry in our festival offerings, and this year is no different. We’ll have a reading from Wisconsin Poet Laureate Margaret Rozga, as well as a group reading from members of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets from around the state!
  • It’s one thing to listen to, and speak to, a variety of authors. But we also want to give attendees a chance to learn as well, so we’re organizing workshops and panel discussions for aspiring writers (or even just enthusiastic readers who aspire to aspire to write someday!) Rozga will conduct not one but two poetry workshops during the festival. Rubin of Madison will host a workshop on memoir writing, and we hope to rope several of our other authors into a panel discussion about their work. We’re also hoping to get several guests onto the campus of UWSP at Wausau to work directly with students, and we’ll share more info on that if it happens.

This is just the start of what's to come. Check back to this site over the next two months as we add more authors and events to the Central Wisconsin Book Festival. See you then, and thank you for your interest!

For more information about the CWBF, please contact us.