OCTOBER 17-20, 2019

and year round




The Recovering

Leslie Jamison

01/23/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 302

With its deeply personal and seamless blend of memoir, cultural history, literary criticism, and reportage, The Recovering turns our understanding of the traditional addiction narrative on its head, demonstrating that the story of recovery can be every bit as electrifying as the train wreck itself. Leslie Jamison deftly excavates the stories we tell about addiction--both her own and others'--and examines what we want these stories to do and what happens when they fail us. All the while, she offers a fascinating look at the larger history of the recovery movement, and at the complicated bearing that race and class have on our understanding of who is criminal and who is ill.


The Recovering -  - <span class="date-display-single">01/23/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



An Orchestra of Minorities

Chigozie Obioma

02/06/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 301

Set on the outskirts of Umuahia, Nigeria and narrated by a chi, or guardian spirit, An Orchestra of Minorities tells the story of Chinonso, a young poultry farmer whose soul is ignited when he sees a woman attempting to jump from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his prized chickens into the water below to express the severity of such a fall. The woman, Ndali, is stopped her in her tracks.


An Orchestra of Minorities -  - <span class="date-display-single">02/06/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



The Banished Immortal

Ha Jin

02/07/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Madison Room

From Ha Jin, the National Book Award-winning author of Waiting, a narratively driven, deeply human biography of the Tang dynasty poet Li Bai—also known as Li Po. In his own time (701–762), Li Bai’s poems—shaped by Daoist thought and characterized by their passion, romance, and lust for life—were never given their proper due by the official literary gatekeepers. Nonetheless, his lines rang out on the lips of court entertainers, tavern singers, soldiers, and writers throughout the Tang dynasty, and his deep desire for a higher, more perfect world gave rise to his nickname, the Banished Immortal. Today, Bai’s verses are still taught to China’s schoolchildren and recited at parties and toasts; they remain an inextricable part of the Chinese language.


The Banished Immortal -  - <span class="date-display-single">02/07/2019 - 7:00pm</span>




Muriel Simms

02/09/2019 - 3:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

Only a fraction of what is known about African American settlers in the Midwest, and the vibrant and cohesive communities they formed, has been preserved in traditional sources. Much is contained in the hearts and minds of their descendants. Seeing a pressing need to preserve these experiences, lifelong Madison, Wis., resident Muriel Simms collected the stories of twenty-five African Americans from Madison whose families arrived, survived, and thrived here in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.


While some struggled to find work, housing and acceptance, they describe a supportive and enterprising community that formed churches, businesses, and social clubs -- and frequently came together in the face of adversity and conflict. A brief history of Madison's African American settlement sets the stage for the oral histories.

Settlin' -  - <span class="date-display-single">02/09/2019 - 3:00pm</span>



The Curiosities

Susan Gloss

02/12/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Room 302

The follow-up to Susan Gloss's successful debut, Vintage, is a charming mid-western story of artists, inspiration, and how to reinvent your life with purpose and flair. Nell Parker has a PhD in Art History, a loving husband named Josh, and a Craftsman bungalow in Madison, WI. But her last pregnancy ended later in the second trimester, and rather than pausing to grieve, she pushes harder for testing and fertility treatments. Urging Nell to apply for jobs, Josh believes his wife needs something else to focus on other than a baby that may never be.


The Curiosities -  - <span class="date-display-single">02/12/2019 - 7:00pm</span>



Gaylord Schanilec: A Natural History

Gaylord Schanilec

02/15/2019 - 5:00pm

Overture Center for the Arts - James Watrous Gallery

Internationally known for his exquisite color wood engravings, letterpress printing, and handmade books, Gaylord Schanilec has often focused his attention on the landscape, natural history, and culture of the upper Mississippi. This exhibition will include his four fine-press books (detailed below) focused on natural history—My Mighty Journey, by John Coy (2019), Lac Des Pleurs (2015), Sylvae (2007), and Mayflies of the Driftless Region (2005)—along with framed color wood engravings from each book and a wide selection of working materials.


Celebrate the opening of his exhibit at the James Watrous Gallery beginning at 5:00 PM. The artist will offer an informal gallery talk at 5:30. The exhibit runs from February 15, 2019 until April 7, 2019. Presented in partnership with the James Watrous Gallery and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters


My Mighty Journey: A Waterfall's Story 

Gaylord Schanilec: A Natural History -  - <span class="date-display-single">02/15/2019 - 5:00pm</span>



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>



Survival Math

Mitchell Jackson

03/08/2019 - 7:00pm

Central Library - Community Rooms 301 & 302

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 - 7:00pm</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>



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>




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>



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>



Little Fires Everywhere

Celeste Ng

05/15/2019 - 12:00pm

Overture Center for the Arts

The Madison Public Library Foundation presents the 2019 Lunch For Libraries. From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.


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

201 W. Mifflin Street
Madison, WI 53703


join the conversation #wibookfest

we couldn't do it without you: