OCTOBER 17-20, 2019

and year round




The Odyssey

Emily Wilson

02/28/2019 - 7:30pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

In this Humanities Without Boundaries lecture, Emily Wilson describes her approach to translating The Odyssey, and using this project as a springboard for further reflections on the practice and theory of translation within the world of Greek and Roman classics. Wilson's is a lean, fleet-footed translation that recaptures Homer’s “nimble gallop” and brings an ancient epic to new life.The first great adventure story in the Western canon, The Odyssey is a poem about violence and the aftermath of war; about wealth, poverty, and power; about marriage and family; about travelers, hospitality, and the yearning for home. In this fresh, authoritative version―the first English translation of The Odyssey by a woman―this stirring tale of shipwrecks, monsters, and magic comes alive in an entirely new way. Written in iambic pentameter verse and a vivid, contemporary idiom, this engrossing translation matches the number of lines in the Greek original, thus striding at Homer’s sprightly pace and singing with a voice that echoes Homer’s music.


The Odyssey -  - <span class="date-display-single">02/28/2019 - 7:30pm</span>



The Crown

Derrick Barnes

03/06/2019 - 10:00am

- Schenk Elementary

Named one of the best books of 2017 by NPR, the Huffington PostPublishers WeeklyKirkus Reviews, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, the Horn Book Magazine, the News & ObserverBookPage, Chicago Public Library, and more. The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother's hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices. 


The Crown -  - <span class="date-display-single">03/06/2019 - 10:00am</span>



Survival Math

Mitchell Jackson

03/08/2019 - 6:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

Presented in partnership with the Black Arts Matter Festival. Mitchell S. Jackson’s award-winning first book, The Residue Years, was celebrated as “a powerful debut that takes a raw, hard look at poverty” (Roxane Gay, New York Times Book Review), and the marker of “a fresh new voice in fiction” (O, The Oprah Magazine). With his new book, Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family, Jackson turns his distinctive and compelling voice to nonfiction, telling the story of his own family and his tumultuous youth in Portland, Oregon.


Survival Math -  - <span class="date-display-single">03/08/2019 - 6:00pm</span>



The Body Is Not an Apology

Sonya Renee Taylor

03/11/2019 - 7:00pm

Mitby Theater

Humans are a varied and divergent bunch with all manner of beliefs, morals, and bodies. Systems of oppression thrive off our inability to make peace with difference and injure the relationship we have with our own bodies. The Body Is Not an Apology offers radical self-love as the balm to heal the wounds inflicted by these violent systems. World-renowned activist and poet Sonya Renee Taylor invites us to reconnect with the radical origins of our minds and bodies and celebrate our collective, enduring strength. As we awaken to our own indoctrinated body shame, we feel inspired to awaken others and to interrupt the systems that perpetuate body shame and oppression against all bodies. When we act from this truth on a global scale, we usher in the transformative opportunity of radical self-love, which is the opportunity for a more just, equitable, and compassionate world--for us all. Presented in partnership with Madison College Office of Equity and Inclusion.


The Body Is Not an Apology -  - <span class="date-display-single">03/11/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



I Can't Talk About the Trees Without the Blood

Tiana Clark

03/12/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 302

For prize-winning poet Tiana Clark, trees will never be just trees. They will also and always be a row of gallows from which Black bodies once swung. This is an image that she cannot escape, but one that she has learned to lean into as she delves into personal and public histories, explicating memories and muses around race, elegy, family, and faith by making and breaking forms as well as probing mythology, literary history, her own ancestry, and, yes, even Rihanna. I Can’t Talk About the Trees without the Blood, because the speaker in this triptych book cannot engage with the physical and psychic landscape of the South without seeing the braided trauma of the broken past—she will always see blood on the leaves.

I Can't Talk About the Trees Without the Blood -  - <span class="date-display-single">03/12/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



Era of Ignition

Amber Tamblyn

03/13/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Madison Room

A passionate and deeply personal exploration of feminism during divisive times by actor, filmmaker, and activist Amber Tamblyn. In her late twenties, Amber Tamblyn experienced a crisis of character while trying to break out of the confines of the acting career she’d forged as a child in order to become the writer and director she dreamed of being as an adult. After a particularly low period fueled by rejection and disillusionment, she grabbed hold of her own destiny and entered into what she calls an Era of Ignition–namely, the time of self-reflection that follows in the wake of personal upheaval and leads to a call to action and positive change. In the process of undergoing this metaphysical metamorphosis, she realized that our country was going through an Era of Ignition of its own. She writes: “No longer stuck in a past we can’t outrun and a future we must outgrow, we are a nation that is actively confronting our values and agitating for change. We are in an age when activism becomes direct action, when disagreement becomes dissention, when dissatisfaction becomes protest, when accusations become accountability, and when revolts become revolutions.”


Era of Ignition -  - <span class="date-display-single">03/13/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



2019 UW Poetry MFA Graduates Reading

03/25/2019 - 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 poetry. This event will feature the work of Rebecca Bedell, Christopher Greggs, Rebekah Hewitt, Wes Holtermann, Mishka Ligot, and Alexis Sears.

2019 UW Poetry MFA Graduates Reading -  - <span class="date-display-single">03/25/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



A Small Place

Jamaica Kincaid

04/08/2019 - 7:30pm

Union South - Wisconsin Union - Varsity Hall

Kincaid will deliver a public lecture as part of the Center for the Humanities' "Humanities Without Boundaries" speaker series.  A Small Place is brilliant look at colonialism and its effects in Antigua--by the author of Annie John.


"If you go to Antigua as a tourist, this is what you will see. If you come by aeroplane, you will land at the V. C. Bird International Airport. Vere Cornwall (V. C.) Bird is the Prime Minister of Antigua. You may be the sort of tourist who would wonder why a Prime Minister would want an airport named after him--why not a school, why not a hospital, why not some great public monument. You are a tourist and you have not yet seen . . ."


A Small Place -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/08/2019 - 7:30pm</span>



The Bird King

G. Willow Wilson

04/09/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Madison Room

G. Willow Wilson enchanted readers with her debut novel Alif the Unseen (a New York Times Notable Book and a staple of year-end “Best of” lists), has won praise in the world of comics as the co-creator of the celebrated Ms. Marvel, and she was recently tapped to bring her storytelling skills to the Wonder Woman franchise. Wilson’s thrilling new novel, The Bird King, transports readers into the height of the Spanish Inquisition to witness the fantastical journey of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan of Granada, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker.


The Bird King -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/09/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



Doomstead Days

Brian Teare

04/15/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 302

Presented in partnership with the Center for Culture, History, and Environment and the UW-Madison Program in Creative Writing, Brian Teare offers readers a new kind of nature poem—one that both anticipates and contributes to the renewal of public dialogue about environmental ethics and individual responsibility instigated by the UN’s recent report on climate change. Doomstead Days is a lyrical series of experiments in embodied ecological consciousness. Drafted on foot, these site-specific poems document rivers, cities, forests, oil spills, mountains, and apocalyptic visions. They encounter refineries and urban watersheds, megafauna and industrial toxins, each encounter intertwining ordinary life and ongoing environmental crisis. Days pass: war- time days, days of love and sex, sixth extinction days, days of chronic illness, all of them doomstead days. Through these poems, we experience the pleasure and pain of being a body during global climate change.



Doomstead Days -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/15/2019 - 7:00pm</span>




Solmaz Sharif

04/18/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Madison Room

Solmaz Sharif’s astonishing first book, Look, asks us to see the ongoing costs of war as the unbearable loss of human lives and also the insidious abuses against our everyday speech. In this virtuosic array of poems, lists, shards, and sequences, Sharif assembles her family’s and her own fragmented narratives in the aftermath of warfare. Those repercussions echo into the present day, in the grief for those killed in America’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the discrimination endured at the checkpoints of daily encounter.


At the same time, these poems point to the ways violence is conducted against our language. Throughout this collection are words and phrases lifted from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms; in their seamless inclusion, Sharif exposes the devastating euphemisms deployed to sterilize the language, control its effects, and sway our collective resolve. But Sharif refuses to accept this terminology as given, and instead turns it back on its perpetrators. “Let it matter what we call a thing,” she writes. “Let me look at you.”

Look -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/18/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



Little Faith

Nickolas Butler

04/24/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 302

In this moving new novel from celebrated author Nickolas Butler, a Wisconsin family grapples with the power and limitations of faith when one of their own falls under the influence of a radical church. Lyle Hovde is at the onset of his golden years, living a mostly content life in rural Wisconsin with his wife, Peg, daughter, Shiloh, and six-year old grandson, Isaac. After a troubled adolescence and subsequent estrangement from her parents, Shiloh has finally come home. But while Lyle is thrilled to have his whole family reunited, he’s also uneasy: in Shiloh’s absence, she has become deeply involved with an extremist church, and the devout pastor courting her is convinced Isaac has the spiritual ability to heal the sick.


Little Faith -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/24/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



2019 Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows Reading

04/25/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301 & 302

Presented in partnership with the Program in Creative Writing, poetry and fiction from the 2018-19 Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows.  This event will feature the work of Aria Aber, Chekwube O. Danladi, Natasha Oladokun, Emily Shetler, Lucy Tan, Mary Terrier, and Kate Wisel.

2019 Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellows Reading -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/25/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



Greek to Me

Mary Norris

04/29/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

Best-selling New York Times author and renowned New Yorker copyeditor—the Comma Queen herself—Mary Norris is again delighting readers with her wit, knowledge, and exploration of language in Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen. In this new memoir, Norris relates her life-long love of Greece, her quest to learn the language and master the mythology, and her travels through the Greek Isles in search of herself.


Greek to Me -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/29/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



Native Country of the Heart

Cherrie Moraga

04/30/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301

From the celebrated editor of This Bridge Called My Back, Cherríe Moraga charts her own coming-of-age alongside her mother’s decline, and also tells the larger story of the Mexican American diaspora. Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir is, at its core, a mother-daughter story. The mother, Elvira, was hired out as a child, along with her siblings, by their own father to pick cotton in California’s Imperial Valley. The daughter, Cherríe Moraga, is a brilliant, pioneering, queer Latina feminist. The story of these two women, and of their people, is woven together in an intimate memoir of critical reflection and deep personal revelation.


Native Country of the Heart -  - <span class="date-display-single">04/30/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



Creative Writing Awards Ceremony

05/02/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301 & 302

The 2019 undergraduate and graduate creative writing awards ceremony. Presented in partnership with The UW Program in Creative Writing.

Creative Writing Awards Ceremony -  - <span class="date-display-single">05/02/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



Little Fires Everywhere

Celeste Ng

05/15/2019 - 12:00pm

Monona Terrace

The Madison Public Library Foundation presents the 2019 Lunch For Libraries. Lunch for Libraries is a ticketed event put on by Madison Public Library Foundation in support of the Wisconsin Book Festival. To purchase tickets, please contact Tracy Phillippi at tphillippi@mplfoundation.org or 608.266.6318.


Little Fires Everywhere -  - <span class="date-display-single">05/15/2019 - 12:00pm</span>



A Good American Family

David Maraniss

05/21/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Madison Room

David Maraniss, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and bestselling author, has been chronicling American life as told through sports figures (Vince Lombardi in When Pride Still Mattered and Clemente), future presidents (Bill Clinton in First in His Class and Barack Obama: The Story), and everyday heroes (They Marched into Sunlight, Rome 1960, and Once in a Great City). With A Good American Family, he turns the lens on his own family to examine the politics of the 1950s McCarthy era. A Good American Family captures a time of fear, paranoia, and injustice—and at the heart is the story of Maraniss’s father. Elliott Maraniss, a World War II veteran who had commanded an all-black company in the Pacific, was spied on by the FBI, named as a communist by an informant, called before the House of Un-American Activities Committee, fired from his newspaper job, and blacklisted for five years. Ultimately, though, this is an optimistic book. Maraniss’s father never lost faith in America, and he was eventually vindicated.


A Good American Family -  - <span class="date-display-single">05/21/2019 - 7:00pm</span>
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