Event Schedule

Lost Children Archive

Lost Children
Community Room 301 & 302

In Lost Children Archive, an artist couple set out with their two children on a road trip from New York to Arizona in the heat of summer. As the family travels west, the bonds between them begin to fray: a fracture is growing between the parents, one the children can almost feel beneath their feet.

Lost Children Archive, an initiative of the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is additionally supported by the UW-Madison Libraries; the Evjue Foundation; the Wisconsin Book Festival; the Anonymous Fund of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and the Departments of American Indian Studies, History, and English and Creative Writing.

In conversation with Professor Paola Hernández. 

Lunch For Libraries - Tommy Orange

Wandering Stars

Presented by BMO Harris Bank, Madison Public Library Foundation's 2024 Lunch for Libraries event will feature Tommy Orange. He will appear live at Monona Terrace to discuss his latest novel, Wandering StarsJoin us for this annual fundraiser on April 23rd at 12:00 p.m. 

The Pulitzer Prize-finalist and author of the breakout bestseller There There, delivers a masterful follow-up to his already classic first novel. Extending his constellation of narratives into the past and future, Tommy Orange traces the legacies of the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864 and the Carlisle Indian Industrial School through three generations of a family in a story that is by turns shattering and wondrous.

"For the sake of knowing, of understanding, Wandering Stars blew my heart into a thousand pieces and put it all back together again. This is a masterwork that will not be forgotten, a masterwork that will forever be part of you.” —Morgan Talty, bestselling author of Night of the Living Rez

Colorado, 1864. Star, a young survivor of the Sand Creek Massacre, is brought to the Fort Marion Prison Castle, where he is forced to learn English and practice Christianity by Richard Henry Pratt, an evangelical prison guard who will go on to found the Carlisle Indian Industrial School, an institution dedicated to the eradication of Native history, culture, and identity. A generation later, Star’s son, Charles, is sent to the school, where he is brutalized by the man who was once his father’s jailer. Under Pratt’s harsh treatment, Charles clings to moments he shares with a young fellow student, Opal Viola, as the two envision a future away from the institutional violence that follows their bloodlines.

Oakland, 2018. Opal Viola Victoria Bear Shield is barely holding her family together after the shooting that nearly took the life of her nephew Orvil. From the moment he awakens in his hospital bed, Orvil begins compulsively googling school shootings on YouTube. He also becomes emotionally reliant on the prescription medications meant to ease his physical trauma. His younger brother, Lony, suffering from PTSD, is struggling to make sense of the carnage he witnessed at the shooting by secretly cutting himself and enacting blood rituals that he hopes will connect him to his Cheyenne heritage. Opal is equally adrift, experimenting with Ceremony and peyote, searching for a way to heal her wounded family.

Tommy Orange once again delivers a story that is piercing in its poetry, sorrow, and rage and is a devastating indictment of America’s war on its own people.

Purchase your tickets today for Madison Public Library Foundation’s annual Lunch for Libraries fundraiser! Lunch for Libraries proceeds fuel year-round author programming of the Wisconsin Book Festival, presented by Madison Public Library in partnership with Madison Public Library Foundation. The majority of Lunch for Libraries proceeds go toward the Wisconsin Book Festival’s free, year-round author programming. A portion of Lunch for Libraries proceeds fund Madison Public Library youth literacy efforts. 

In conversation with Aaron Bird Bear.

Not Your Mother's Romance Writers

Not Your Mother's Romance Writers Event Flyer


This is a VIRTUAL event only — Advanced registration is required.

Presented in partnership with Simon & Schuster as part of their Spring 2024 Authorfest. Join TJ Alexander, Kaliane Bradley, & Jackie Lau in conversation with Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings, the duo behind the romance power-house Christina Lauren.

From fake relationships to star-crossed time travelers to queer throuples, these authors are not your mother’s romance writers.

Ahead of their upcoming releases, Alexander, Bradley, and Lau will discuss what makes a great romance, and how the genre can go beyond a simple love story.

In conversation with Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings.


Table For Two


Please note this event will be held at the Orpheum Theater. It's free and open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Seating is by general admission. Doors open at 6 p.m. 

Pre-signed copies of Table For Two will be distributed for free to all attendees courtesy of the Wisconsin Book Festival and the Madison Public Library Foundation. There will not be a signing or personalizations. 

Millions of Amor Towles fans are in for a treat as he shares some of his shorter fiction: six stories based in New York City and a novella set in Golden Age Hollywood. The New York stories, most of which take place around the year 2000, consider the fateful consequences that can spring from brief encounters and the delicate mechanics of compromise that operate at the heart of modern marriages. The novella includes one of his most beloved characters, the indomitable Evelyn Ross, who left New York City in September 1938 with the intention of returning home to Indiana. But as her train pulls into Chicago, where her parents are waiting, she instead extends her ticket to Los Angeles. Told from seven points of view, the novella describes how Eve crafts a new future for herself—and others—in a noirish tale that takes us through the movie sets, bungalows, and dive bars of Los Angeles. Written with his signature wit, humor, and sophistication, Table for Two is another glittering addition to Towles's canon of stylish and transporting fiction.

In conversation with Christina Clancy. 

Lessons For Survival

Community Room 301 & 302

In this scrupulous and searching examination of the intersections of social and environmental justice, Raboteau offers her perspective as a mother raising children in the midst of protracted crises and existential threats. In confronting a range of these threats—from the over-policing of Black bodies to the devastation of climate collapse this innovative and provocative book asks how we can cope with the myriad, multiplying dangers that constitute life in the 21st century. How can we protect our children as they begin to grasp the asymmetries of power that shape their worlds? How can we raise them to be good citizens of a country that too often endangers Black life? What does it mean to be deeply local and sensitively global? And the grand container for all these questions: what does it mean to occupy the morally impure position of ‘mother,’ principally responsible for bringing life into a fallen world?

In her quest for answers, Raboteau traces art, politics, history, and nature across her New York City home. Birds both in the air and painted on buildings spark conversations about the interconnectedness of environmental issues; a pond serves as refuge to wildlife but also threatens to flood her home when it swells; the eroding beaches of the Rockaways call to mind an hourglass, reminding her that we are running out of time to prevent the worst climate catastrophes. She seeks ways for her children to safely play in city parks while avoiding pollution, pandemics, and the police. She ventures abroad to learn from Indigenous Peoples and discovers the most intimate meanings of resilience in her own family and community. She bears witness to the inner life of Black motherhood and to the brutalities and possibilities of cities, while celebrating the beauty and fragility of nature. Along every avenue of this nimble exploration, Raboteau floodlights the systems that perpetuate inequity, and finds alternatives toward a more sustainable future. In its sharp observations and its stories of protection and hope, Lessons for Survival blazes with insight.

In conversation with Erika Meitner. 

SCHOOL VISIT: A Maleta Full of Treasures

Cover of A Maleta Full of Treasures by Natalia Sylvester
School Visit


Natalia's appearance is a school-visit only.

From an award-winning author and illustrator, a warm, gentle ode to cherished visits from grandparents and the people and places that make us who we are even if we haven’t met them yet.

It’s been three years since Abuela’s last visit, and Dulce revels in every tiny detail—from Abuela’s maletas full of candies in crinkly wrappers and gifts from primos to the sweet, earthy smell of Peru that floats out of Abuela’s room and down the hall. But Abuela’s visit can’t last forever, and all too soon she’s packing her suitcases again. Then Dulce has an idea: maybe there are things she can gather for her cousins and send with Abuela to remind them of the U.S. relatives they’ve never met. And despite having to say goodbye, Abuela has one more surprise for Dulce—something to help her remember that home isn’t just a place, but the deep-rooted love they share no matter the distance.

Real Americans

Real Americans
Community Room 301 & 302

From the award-winning author of Goodbye, Vitamin: How far would you go to shape your own destiny? An exhilarating novel of American identity that spans three generations in one family and asks: What makes us who we are? And how inevitable are our futures?

Real Americans begins on the precipice of Y2K in New York City, when twenty-two-year-old Lily Chen, an unpaid intern at a slick media company, meets Matthew. Matthew is everything Lily is not: easygoing and effortlessly attractive, a native East Coaster, and, most notably, heir to a vast pharmaceutical empire. Lily couldn’t be more different: flat-broke, raised in Tampa, the only child of scientists who fled Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Despite all this, Lily and Matthew fall in love.

In 2021, fifteen-year-old Nick Chen has never felt like he belonged on the isolated Washington island where he lives with his single mother, Lily. He can’t shake the sense she’s hiding something. When Nick sets out to find his biological father, the journey threatens to raise more questions than it provides answers.

In immersive, moving prose, Rachel Khong weaves a profound tale of class and striving, race and visibility, and family and inheritance—a story of trust, forgiveness, and finally coming home.

Exuberant and explosive, Real Americans is a social novel par excellence that asks: Are we destined, or made? And if we are made, who gets to do the making? Can our genetic past be overcome?