OCTOBER 17-20, 2019

and year round





Danez Smith

02/10/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

Smith is back with their highly anticipated third collection, Homie. A magnificent anthem about the saving grace of friendship, Homie is rooted in their search for joy and intimacy in a time where both are scarce. In poems of rare power and generosity, Smith acknowledges that in a country overrun by violence, xenophobia, and disparity, and in a body defined by race, queerness, and diagnosis, it can be hard to survive, even harder to remember reasons for living. But then the phone lights up, or a shout comes up to the window, and family—blood and chosen—arrives with just the right food and some redemption. Part friendship diary, part bright elegy, part war cry, Homie is written for friends: for Danez’s, for yours.

Homie - Danez Smith - <span class="date-display-single">02/10/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Marlon James

02/13/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Madison Room

The epic novel, an African Game of Thrones, from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of A Brief History of Seven Killings. In the stunning first novel in Marlon James's Dark Star trilogy, a Finalist for the 2019 National Book Award, myth, fantasy, and history come together to explore what happens when a mercenary is hired to find a missing child.


Black Leopard, Red Wolf - Marlon James - <span class="date-display-single">02/13/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



The Genius of Women

Janice Kaplan

02/20/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Madison Room

We tell girls that they can be anything, so why do 90 percent of Americans believe that geniuses are almost always men? New York Times bestselling journalist Janice Kaplan explores the powerful forces that have rigged the system—and celebrates the women geniuses past and present who have triumphed anyway. Even in this time of rethinking women’s roles, we define genius almost exclusively through male achievement. When asked to name a genius, people mention Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Steve Jobs. As for great women? In one survey, the only female genius anyone listed was Marie Curie.


The Genius of Women - Janice Kaplan - <span class="date-display-single">02/20/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



We Ride Upon Sticks

Quan Barry

03/03/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

From the author of the widely acclaimed She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, a comic tour de female force about a 1980s field hockey team. In the coastal town of Danvers, MA, home of the original 1692 witch trials, the 1989 Danvers Falcons will do anything to make it to the state finals — even if it means tapping into some devilishly dark powers. In chapters dense with ’80s iconography–from Heathers to “big hair”–Quan Barry expertly weaves together the individual and collective journeys of this enchanted team as they storm their way to the championship. Helmed by good-girl captain Abby Putnam (a descendant of the infamous Salem accuser Ann Putnam) and her co-captain Jen Fiorenza, whose bleached blond “Claw” sees and knows all, the DHS Falcons prove to be wily, original, and bold, flaunting society’s stale notions of femininity in order to find their glorious true selves through the crucible of team sport and, more importantly, friendship.

We Ride Upon Sticks - Quan Barry - <span class="date-display-single">03/03/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



Trace Elements

Donna Leon

03/04/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

When Dottoressa Donato calls the Questura to report that a dying patient at the hospice Fatebenefratelli wants to speak to the police, Commissario Guido Brunetti and his colleague, Claudia Griffoni, waste no time in responding.


Trace Elements - Donna Leon - <span class="date-display-single">03/04/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



Translating Manuel Puig

Suzanne Jill Levine

03/09/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Madison Room

Levine is the acclaimed translator and biographer of the flamboyant and often persecuted author of Kiss of the Spider Woman. In her talk, she traces the remarkable life and career of Manuel Puig, an Argentinian banned by the Peronists and shunned by the left for his multi-layered, often erotic novels. She will discuss the process of translation and Puig's role among Latin American authors.

Translating Manuel Puig - Suzanne Jill Levine - <span class="date-display-single">03/09/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump

David Plouffe

03/11/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Madison Rooms

A voter's playbook on making a difference in the 2020 election and beyond from the most recognized and most successful political strategist in the country. If you've asked yourself the question, what more can I do to make sure Donald Trump does not continue to occupy the Oval Office on January 20, 2021?--then this book is for you. A playbook for the common citizen, A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump addresses the many things individuals can do in 2020 every day, without having to leave their jobs, move to Iowa, or spend every waking moment on the election.


A Citizen's Guide to Beating Donald Trump - David Plouffe - <span class="date-display-single">03/11/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



Real Life

Brandon Taylor

03/12/2020 - 7:00pm

Room of One's Own

A novel of startling intimacy, violence, and mercy among friends in a Midwestern university town, from an electric new voice. A novel of rare emotional power that excavates the social intricacies of a late-summer weekend--and a lifetime of buried pain. Almost everything about Wallace, an introverted African-American transplant from Alabama, is at odds with the lakeside Midwestern university town where he is working toward a biochem degree. For reasons of self-preservation, Wallace has enforced a wary distance even within his own circle of friends--some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with a young straight man, conspire to fracture his defenses, while revealing hidden currents of resentment and desire that threaten the equilibrium of their community. Real Life is a gut punch of a novel, a story that asks if it's ever really possible to overcome our private wounds and buried histories--and at what cost.

Real Life - Brandon Taylor - <span class="date-display-single">03/12/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



My Dark Vanessa

Kate Elizabeth Russell

03/16/2020 - 6:00pm

Room of One's Own

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer. 


2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher. 2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed.


My Dark Vanessa - Kate Elizabeth Russell - <span class="date-display-single">03/16/2020 - 6:00pm</span>



2020 UW Fiction MFA Graduates Reading

03/23/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

Presented in partnership with the UW Program in Creative Writing, a reading from the graduating MFA cohort in fiction. 

2020 UW Fiction MFA Graduates Reading -  - <span class="date-display-single">03/23/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



Imperial Liquor

Amaud Johnson

04/06/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301

Imperial Liquor is a chronicle of melancholy, a reaction to the monotony of racism. These poems concern loneliness, fear, fatigue, rage, and love; they hold fatherhood held against the vulnerability of the black male body, aging, and urban decay. Part remembrance, part swan song for the Compton, California of the 1980s, Johnson examines the limitations of romance to heal broken relationships or rebuild a broken city. Slow Jams, red-lit rooms, cheap liquor, like seduction and betrayal—what’s more American? This book tracks echoes, rides the residue of music “after the love is gone.”

Imperial Liquor - Amaud Johnson - <span class="date-display-single">04/06/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



The Cactus League

Emily Nemens

04/09/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 302

Presented in parternship with the UW Program in Creative Writing, an explosive, character-driven odyssey through the world of baseball from Emily Nemens, the editor of The Paris Review. Jason Goodyear is the star outfielder for the Los Angeles Lions, stationed with the rest of his team in the punishingly hot Arizona desert for their annual spring training. Handsome, famous, and talented, Goodyear is nonetheless coming apart at the seams. And the coaches, writers, wives, girlfriends, petty criminals, and diehard fans following his every move are eager to find out why—as they hide secrets of their own.


The Cactus League - Emily Nemens - <span class="date-display-single">04/09/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



The Coyotes of Carthage

Steven Wright

04/14/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library

A blistering and thrilling debut—a biting exploration of American politics, set in a small South Carolina town, about a political operative running a dark money campaign for his corporate clients. Dre Ross has one more shot. Despite being a successful political consultant, his aggressive tactics have put him on thin ice with his boss, Mrs. Fitz, who plucked him from juvenile incarceration and mentored his career. She exiles him to the backwoods of South Carolina with $250,000 of dark money to introduce a ballot initiative on behalf of a mining company. The goal: to manipulate the locals into voting to sell their pristine public land to the highest bidder.


The Coyotes of Carthage - Steven Wright - <span class="date-display-single">04/14/2020 - 7:00pm</span>




04/16/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

Presented in partnership with the UW Program in Creative Writing, poetry and fiction from the 2019-20 Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows.

2020 WISCONSIN INSTITUTE FOR CREATIVE WRITING FELLOWS READING -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/16/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



2020 Creative Writing Awards Ceremony

04/30/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

The 2020 undergraduate and graduate creative writing awards ceremony. Presented in partnership with The UW Program in Creative Writing.


Doors will open for this event at 6:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public. Seating will be by general admission.

2020 Creative Writing Awards Ceremony -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/30/2020 - 7:00pm</span>



Conditional Citizens

Laila Lalami

05/12/2020 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301 & 302

The acclaimed, award-winning novelist–author of The Moor’s Account and The Other Americans–now gives us a bracingly personal work of nonfiction that is concerned with the experiences of “conditional citizens.” What does it mean to be American? In this starkly illuminating and impassioned book, Pulitzer Prize Finalist Laila Lalami recounts her unlikely journey from Moroccan immigrant to U.S. citizen, using it as a starting point for her exploration of the rights, liberties, and protections that are traditionally associated with American citizenship. Tapping into history, politics, and literature, she elucidates how accidents of birth–such as national origin, race, or gender–that once determined the boundaries of Americanness still cast their shadows today. Throughout the book, she poignantly illustrates how white supremacy survives through adaptation and legislation, with the result that a caste system is maintained, keeping the modern equivalent of white male landowners at the top of the social hierarchy. Conditional citizens, she argues, are all the people whom America embraces with one arm, and pushes away with the other.

Conditional Citizens - Laila Lalami - <span class="date-display-single">05/12/2020 - 7:00pm</span>
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