|Press release style details for our upcoming events are below. You can find a line listing of other confirmed author appearances at the bottom of the page. Tickets for events will be linked when they become available (generally the 1st of the month prior to the month of the event).
For more fun information like links to reviews, trailers, or other related work by visiting authors, consider subscribing to Daniel's daily blog, Boswell and Books, or our twice-monthly e-mail newsletter (see sign-up box on righthand side of this page).
Want to help promote an event that you're excited about? Consider sharing events via Facebook, or e-mail Mel if you're interested in posting an event sign at your place of business or leisure.
And, you can always pre-order or reserve a signed copy of your favorite author's new title if you can't make an event.
Local Author John C. Eastberg, author of Pabst Farms: The History of a Model Farm
Tuesday December 30, at 7:00 pm
Please join us as we welcome back to Boswell the senior historian, director of development of Milwaukee’s Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion, and local author, John C. Eastberg, who will discuss and sign copies of his gorgeous new photographic history of a great local brewing family’s innovative farm, Pabst Farms: The History of a Model Farm.
Although the Pabst name is world-famous for its ties to the brewing industry, Fred Pabst, Jr. balanced his duty to the family brewery with his love of land and livestock. In 1906, he began purchasing large parcels of land near Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, to create one of the most important model farms in the United States. Employing the latest advances in American and European agricultural theory, he organized a sustainable farming operation that provided all that was necessary for his self-sufficient farm. From the construction of new farm buildings to the selection of diverse livestock, Pabst carefully considered every detail of his landmark farming operation. Hackney and Percheron horses were the mainstay of Pabst Farms until the popularity of the automobile quickly made horse breeding for carriages and wagons a thing of the past. Undaunted, Pabst transformed his 1,400-acre farm operation to focus solely on the development and breeding of award-winning, high-production Holstein dairy cattle.
Pabst Farms: The History of a Model Farm is the story of how one family made their mark on Wisconsin’s dairy industry, but also of the Pabst family’s life on the farm and their efforts to bring the Pabst Brewing Company through the dark days of Prohibition with the development of a revolutionary cheese product, Pabst-ett. Pabst Farms: The History of a Model Farm showcases Wisconsin’s dairy history at its best and is illustrated with hundreds of photographs from the Pabst family’s private archives.
About the Author: John C. Eastberg is the senior historian and director of development of Milwaukee’s Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion and has been with the organization since 1993. He is the author of The Captain Frederick Pabst Mansion: An Illustrated History, and co-author of Layton’s Legacy: A Historic American Art Collection, 1888–2013.
Local Author David Mulroy, translator of Oedipus at Colonus, written by Sophocles
Tuesday January 6, at 7:00 pm
Please join us as we welcome Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, local author, and best-selling translator, David Mulroy, as he discuss and signs copies of his translation of Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus. This event will include dramatized readings of Dr. Mulroy’s translation by actors from Milwaukee’s Vanity Theatre Company.
Oedipus at Colonus is the third in Sophocles’ trilogy of plays about the famous king of Thebes and his unhappy family. It dramatizes the mysterious death of Oedipus, by which he is transformed into an immortal hero protecting Athens. This was Sophocles’ final play, written in his mid-eighties and produced posthumously. Translator David Mulroy’s introduction and notes deepen the reader’s understanding of Oedipus’ character and the real political tumult that was shaking Athens at the time that Sophocles wrote the play. Oedipus at Colonus is at once a complex study of a tragic character, an indictment of Athenian democracy, and a subtle endorsement of hope for personal immortality. As in his previous translations of Oedipus Rex and Antigone, Mulroy combines scrupulous scholarship and textual accuracy with a fresh poetic style. He uses iambic pentameter for spoken passages and short rhymed stanzas for choral songs, resulting in a text that is accessible and fun to read and perform.
"David Mulroy’s verse translation is metrical and clarifying, his lines passionate, dynamic, and efficient, moving swiftly toward their fated end. The play’s tragic personae are drawn so sharply they seem exposed, as to an X-ray. It is as if Mulroy has a cell phone that connects him directly to the classical world. This is a superb contribution to Ancient Greek studies." —Kelly Cherry, author of A Kind of Dream: Stories
About the Author: David Mulroy is a professor emeritus of classics at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. His translations include Oedipus Rex, Antigone, and The Complete Poetry of Catullus.
Milwaukeean Lesley Kagen, author of The Resurrection of Tess Blessing
Thursday January 8, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is excited to welcome Milwaukeean Lesley Kagen, actress and author of six novels, as she presents her latest, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, for a reading and signing. In this poignant novel, 49-year-old Tess sets forth on a mission to complete her final "to-do" list before what she’s sure will be her impending death after she is diagnosed with breast cancer, never thinking that she may have to stick around to deal with her handiwork.
Among the things Tess feels she must do before her impending death to cancer are making peace with her estranged sister, saying goodbye to her mother’s long-kept ashes that she keeps in the garage, rescuing her daughter from the grip of an eating disorder, helping her son grow-up, and reigniting the spark in her marriage. Grace, the story’s narrator, aids Tess on her quest and lends the story its most brilliant elements: subtle magical realism and deep psychological complexity. Is Grace an "imaginary friend," guardian angel, or a part of Tess who knows better than she? Fans of quirky novels like Where’d You Go Bernadette and Silver Linings Playbook will love this heartwarming, humorous, and slightly magical redemptive story about second chances and realizing what—and who—is really important, before it’s too late.
"In The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, Kagen deftly illustrates her gift for blending the serious and the funny, the light and the dark. With a touch of magical realism, she once again creates a story that’s as hopeful as it is poignant. As a reader, I feel safe in her hands." —Diane Chamberlain, international bestselling author of Necessary Lies and The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes
About the Author: Lesley Kagen is an actress, voice-over talent, former restaurateur, sought-after speaker, and award-winning, The New York Times bestselling author of five previous novels. Her work has been translated into seven languages. She’s the mother of two and grandmother of two. She lives in a hundred-year-old farmhouse in a small town in Wisconsin.
Rory Fanning, author of Worth Fighting For : An Army Ranger's Journey Out of the Military and Across America
Friday January 9, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for an exciting discussion with US Army Ranger, Rory Fanning, who walked across the US for fallen comrade Pat Tillman and found his voice as a war resister, as he discusses and signs copies of his memoir about his deployment and reintegration into civilian society, Worth Fighting For: An Army Ranger’s Journey Out of the Military and Across America.
Here’s what Boswellian Mel had to say about Worth Fighting For: "With elements of personal, travel, and deployment memoirs, as well as sociology, philosophy, and history studies, Worth Fighting For chronicles Fanning's difficult reintegration to civilian life, including his cross-country walk to raise money for the Pat Tillman Foundation. Unlike any memoir I've ever read, Worth Fighting For invites readers to walk 3,087 miles in the shoes of a man who discovered during his service that he would no longer willingly shed blood, sweat, or tears to support the system built upon—and breaking—the backs of so many people at home and abroad. Mile after mile, page after page, readers are treated to a critical view of the country from the perspective of a man who served, survived, and rededicated himself to the well-being of others in civilian service upon his return from war. Adding a powerful and much-needed voice to current debates ranging from race relations in the US to de-militarization, if you want a complete picture of what it means to serve this country, read Rory Fanning's Worth Fighting For."
About the Author: Rory Fanning walked across the United States for the Pat Tillman Foundation in 2008–2009, following two deployments to Afghanistan with the 2nd Army Ranger Battalion. He is a housing activist living in Chicago, Illinois. Rory works for Haymarket Books and Worth Fighting For is his first book.
Local Author Judith Harway, author of Sundown: A Daughter’s Memoir of Alzheimer’s Care
Tuesday January 13, at 7:00 pm
Please join us as we welcome poet, Professor of Writing at Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and local author, Judith Harway, as she discusses and signs copies of her latest book, Sundown: A Daughter’s Memoir of Alzheimer’s Care, an unblinking account of the ravages and redemption of caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.
Sundown unfolds in the no-man’s land between the needs of an aging population and the market-driven realities of the American healthcare system; with over five million Americans currently suffering from Alzheimer’s, this is terrain we cannot afford to ignore. This compelling book tallies the losses of dementia, examines the restructuring of relationships at the end of life, and affirms the power of storytelling to both preserve and shape memory. Chapters from Sundown have been featured as artist books in exhibitions at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Harry and Rose Sampson Jewish Community Center.
In the words of Tom Hlavacek, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, "Judith Harway gives us a loving, nuanced and immensely readable perspective on the journey she and her family traveled with her mother and Alzheimer’s disease. Full of wisdom, insight, heartache, and moments of laughter and tears, Sundown is a testament to an extraordinary mother and an important addition to the body of literature on Alzheimer’s and caregiving."
About the Author: Judith Harway is the author of three poetry collections: Swimming in the Sky, All That is Left, and The Memory Box. She is a two-time recipient of literature fellowships from the Wisconsin Arts Board, and a fellow of the the MacDowell Colony, and the Hambidge Center.
Please join us as we welcome Marquette sociologists, James Holstein and Richard S. Jones, and former Green Bay Packer, George E. Koonce, Jr., for a talk and signing of their new book, Is There Life After Football?: Surviving the NFL, in which they draw upon the post-NFL experiences of hundreds of former players—including those of Koonce himself—to examine the sociological implications of a career in the NFL from the initial "bubble" of privilege to the "real world" they must re-enter upon retirement.
In January 2014, President Barack Obama made headlines when he confided to New Yorker reporter Davis Remnick that, if he had a son, he would discourage him from playing in the NFL. Obama’s words came on the heels of a year of heightened awareness of the life-long consequences of a professional football career. In August 2013, the NFL agreed to a $765 million settlement with over 4,500 retired players seeking damages for head injuries sustained during play. Thousands of others are seeking disability benefits in the State of California for on-field injuries. But the possibility of lifelong disability is not the only problem facing professional football players after their playing careers—often brief to begin with—come to an end. Many players, having spent years focusing on football, find themselves at sea when they either leave or are forced out of the NFL, without any alternate life plans or even the resources to make them. George E. Koonce, Jr., a former NFL player himself, weaves in his own story throughout, explaining the challenges and setbacks he encountered and decisions that helped him succeed as an NFL Director of Player Development, PhD student, and university administrator after leaving the sport. Ultimately, Is There Life After Football? concludes that, despite the challenges players face, it is possible for players to find success after leaving the NFL if they have the right support, education, and awareness of what might await them. But players themselves must also resist being totally engulfed by the NFL culture in which they live. A fascinating study with unprecedented insider access, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the world of professional football.
"Sociology professors Holstein and Richard S. Jones team up with former Green Bay Packer and college administrator George E. Koonce, Jr. to examine the factors that lead to success or failure when a player retires from pro football. While this is a rigorous and scholarly study, the authors present their findings in a very accessible manner, weaving narratives from hundreds of interviews together with information gleaned from direct observation, previous research, and stories in the media. A timely exploration that will be of interest to football fans looking to better understand the complex culture of the NFL." —Booklist
"I’m not quite ready to leave the game I love yet, but this is exactly the kind of information I need as that time approaches." —Charles Woodson, Oakland Raiders, Heisman Trophy Winner, and Super Bowl Champion
James Holstein Bio: James A. Holstein is Professor of Sociology in the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences at Marquette University. He is the author, with Jaber F. Gubrium, of The Self We Live By: Narrative Identity in the Postmodern World.
Richard S. Jones Bio: Richard S. Jones is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Athletics Representative at Marquette University. He is the author of Doing Time: Prison Experience and Identity with Thomas J. Schmid.
George E. Koonce Bio: George E. Koonce, Jr. played professional football for a decade, the majority of those years with the Green Bay Packers, with whom he won the Super Bowl XXXI title. After the NFL he held positions as Senior Associate Athletic Director and Director of Development at Marquette University, Athletic Director at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Director of Player Development for the Packers, and Special Assistant to the Athletic Director at East Carolina University. Dr. Koonce is currently Vice President of Advancement at Marian University.
A Ticketed Urban Ecology Center Event with Dr. Patty Loew, author of Seventh Generation Earth Ethics: Native Voices of Wisconsin
Tuesday January 20, at 7:00 pm
Please join us at the Urban Ecology Center (located 1500 E. Park Place in Milwaukee) as we relive the toils and triumphs of caring for the earth from Wisconsin’s Native American Communities—and the philosophy that drives them—with Dr. Patty Loew, who will discuss and sign copies of her new book Seventh Generation Earth Ethics: Native Voices of Wisconsin, in which she profiles a dozen influential members from Wisconsin’s Indian Nations each of whom employ the "Seventh Generation Philosophy" to make environmental decisions based upon how those decisions will impact the land for seven generations to come, some 240 years into the future. Tickets are $10 ($5 for UEC members).
Loew, who adds a personal anecdote in each chapter describing her relationship with the subject, is donating all royalties from this book to the Wisconsin Indian Education Association (WIEA). Also author of the best-selling Indian Nations of Wisconsin, Loew says Seventh Generation Earth Ethics is the "result of thirty years of working as a journalist and historian in Wisconsin’s Native American communities." Leaders featured include tribal genealogists, land stewards, preservers of language and culture, treaty rights advocates like James Schlender (Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe), artists like Truman Lowe (Ho-Chunk), educators like Dorothy "Dot" Davids (Stockbridge-Munsee Community Band of Mohican Indians), anti-mining advocates like Walter Bresette (Red Cliff Ojibwe) and Hilary Waukau (Menominee).
About the Author: Patty Loew, Ph.D., is an enrolled member of the Bad River Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe and a recipient of the Outstanding Service Award of the Great Lakes Intertribal Council. She is a professor in the department of life sciences communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and affiliated faculty with the American Indian studies program. She has written dozens of scholarly and general-interest articles on Native topics and produced several award-winning documentaries that have appeared on commercial and public television stations throughout the country. For twenty years she hosted statewide news and public affairs programs for Wisconsin Public Television. Dr. Loew donates 100% of the royalties she would otherwise receive as author of Indian Nations of Wisconsin to the Wisconsin Indian Education Association for scholarships.
Leon Logothetis, author of The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World
Wednesday January 21, at 2:00 pm
Please join us as we welcome TV host, producer, author, traveler, and all around good guy, Leon Logothetis, for a talk and signing of his latest adventure travelogue, The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World, in which he shares his amazing story of circumnavigating the globe on a vintage yellow motorcycle, fueled only by the kindness of strangers.
Follow the inspirational journey of a former stockbroker who leaves his unfulfilling desk job in search of a meaningful life. He sets out from Los Angeles on a vintage motorbike, determined to circumnavigate the globe surviving only on the kindness of strangers. Incredibly, he makes his way across the U.S., through Europe, India, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and finally to Canada and back to the Hollywood sign, by asking strangers for shelter, food, and gas. Again and again, he’s won over by the generosity of humanity, from the homeless man who shares his blanket to the poor farmer who helps him with his broken down bike, and the HIV-positive mother who takes him in and feeds him. At each stop, he finds a way to give back to these unsuspecting Good Samaritans in life-changing ways, by rebuilding their homes, paying for their schooling, and leaving behind gifts big and small. The Kindness Diaries will introduce you to a world of adventure, renew your faith in the bonds that connect people, and inspire you to accept and generate kindness in your own life.
About the Author: Leon Logothetis is a TV host, producer, author, traveler and all around good guy. Formerly a London broker, he gave up his comfortable life to trave/il and find real human connection. He is the host of The Amazing Adventures of a Nobody, which was licensed to National Geographic International and aired in over 100 countries, including in the United States on Fox Reality Channel and Canada’s OLN. He is also the author of a book by the same title. He has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, FOX, BBC among other mainstream media outlets. He runs a production company called Principal Media and lives in Los Angeles, CA with his dog Winston.
Milwaukeean Pam Frautschi, author of Claudia: Misguided Spirit
Wednesday January 21, at 7:00 pm
Every family has one: the person whose very existence often perplexes and challenges. In her family, Claudia serves that role. A self-proclaimed spirit on the path to enlightenment and joy, her eager dismissal of her more mundane human element has caused no small amount of tension for spectators on the sidelines. On the surface, her journey to Nirvana should be charming, but in her family members’ reality, it’s a profoundly disruptive roadblock to harmony and healthy relationships with her siblings. Frustrated by her family’s inability to embrace her needs, Claudia lashes out again and again. Claudia considers realism an evasion and reality a lie that serves no purpose other than to disrupt the pursuits of her spiritual dreams. This is not the easiest mind-set to grow up with, but it’s what the narrator and her family experience. An emotional account of the impact a decision can have on a family, Claudia is the story of an older sister’s ironically self-centered quest for Nirvana—at all costs.
About the Author: Pamela Hendricks Frautschi, a resident and activist of Milwaukee’s Eastside for fifty years, is currently president of Eastside Milwaukee Community Council (EMCC). The owner of Dance Spectrum in Shorewood for fifteen years, she taught in UWM’s Dance Department, and in public schools in Wauwatosa, Middleton, and Milwaukee. Claudia: Misguided Spirit is her first book.
The Milwaukee Repertory Theater presents Stephen Wade, author/performer of The Beautiful Music All Around Us
Friday January 23, at 3:00 pm
Please join us for a talk and some music by Stephen Wade, the Grammy-nominated star of the one-man show The Beautiful Music All Around Us. A perfect piece for the heartland, lovers of folk music, bluegrass, history, long-lost melodies, and true Americana will revel in Stephen Wade’s one-man show, The Beautiful Music All Around Us, based on his book—a 504-page study that showcases nearly two decades of research in which he tracked down the communities, families, and performers connected with early Library of Congress field recordings across the American South, including the Southern Appalachians, Mississippi Delta, and the Great Plains. This iconic, enduring music, recorded in the ‘30s and ‘40s, brings to life those everyday people—prisoners, cowboys, farmers, and housewives—who poignantly captured the American experience.
About the Artist: Musician and author Stephen Wade has spent nearly his entire life in study of American folk-life, uniting the twin strands of scholarship and the creative arts. Growing up in Chicago in the 1950s and 1960s, Wade was exposed to a number of vernacular musicians who had moved north to the city from the Mississippi Delta and the Southern Appalachians. By the late 1970s, he developed Banjo Dancing, a theatrical performance combining storytelling, traditional music, and percussive dance, one of the longest-running, off-Broadway shows in the nation. A recipient of the Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur award, Wade’s has also received the Joseph Jefferson award for his work. Wade’s folksong commentaries have aired on NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He is the author of The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience and Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition on Smithsonian Folkways, which was nominated for a Grammy.
The Women’s Speaker Series at the Lynden Sculpture Garden welcomes Margaret Hawkins, author of Lydia’s Party
Wednesday January 28, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for the next Women’s Speaker Series ticketed event at the Lynden Sculpture Garden: an evening with Margaret Hawkins, Senior Lecturer at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, who will read from and sign copies of her latest novel, Lydia’s Party, about six friends who have bonded over two decades and come together for their annual Christmas Party and protagonist Lydia’s surprise announcement. Tickets are $22 ($18 for members), include a copy of the book, and are available through the Lynden Sculpture Garden website. The Lynden Sculpture Garden is located at 2145 W. Brown Deer Road in River Hills. This event will begin with a reception at 7 pm (wine and refreshments provided by MKELocalicious) with the talk and signing following, and is co-sponsored by MKE Reads and Bronze Optical.
Lydia is having a party. It’s the party that she hosts every year for a group of six female friends who have come to value the annual midwinter fête as a cherished ritual in their lives. Over a table laden with Lydia’s famous spicy chicken stew, a sumptuous spread of potluck dishes, at least one case of wine, and a decadent number of desserts, the women revel in sharing newsy updates, simmering secrets, and raucous laughter. Twenty years ago, these friends bonded over their budding careers, their love of art and food, their romances, their dogs, and now they think they know all there is to know about one another. On this particular evening, however, Lydia prepares to make a shattering announcement. This exquisitely written novel delivers a funny and tender portrait of friendship, love, aging, romance, grief, and unexpected happiness. It is a story that will warm your heart—even in the middle of winter.
"Hawkins’s smart, crackling novel is a snowy, midwestern Mrs. Dalloway, with Elizabeth Berg-ish charm and Hawkins’s own edgy, artfully particularized humor…As Lydia and her circle pull together in her time of need, Hawkins considers the profound gift of friendship and the ways art and life converge to forge meaning and preserve truth and memories." —Booklist
About the Author: Margaret Hawkins is a Senior Lecturer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the author of two previous novels, A Year of Cats and Dogs and How to Survive a Natural Disaster, and a memoir about her sister, After Schizophrenia: The Story of My Sister’s Reawakening.
Barbara Mahany, author of Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door
Thursday January 29, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is excited to welcome former reporter and Chicago Tribune columnist, Barbara Mahany, as she discusses and signs copies of her latest book, Slowing Time: Seeing the Sacred Outside Your Kitchen Door, a seasonal field guide to wonder and wisdom.
In Slowing Time, Mahany takes readers through the bounty of the calendar, season by season, providing for each "A-Count-Your-Blessings-Calendar," 14 suggestions for "paying the art of supreme attention," or "meditative Post-Its to remind us that we abound in holiness." Each section includes essays pinpointing the divine in ordinary moments; a "Wonderlist" of that season’s glories; field notes on natural phenomena such as moon phases, plant life, bird activity; and a recipe, such as Beef Stew with Pomegranate Seeds Nestled Beside Aromatic Rice, a hearty winter’s night dinner. Because Mahany is Catholic and her husband is Jewish, her family encounters the Divine in the rituals and idioms of two faith traditions. She draws from that shared experience, and from the spirit of the almanac, scrapbook, and field guide, to offer a springboard for the reader’s own "meandering into the Holy." Whether the summons is to unfurl a blanket on the fire escape or in a meadow, to settle in for a night of stargazing or an afternoon’s cloud parade, or to bundle up for a winter’s night moonwalk, Mahany offers scores of simple suggestions on how to behold the everyday miracle in each season.
About the Author: Barbara Mahany is a former reporter and columnist for the Chicago Tribune. In her page-two column, she told stories of her family’s life that drew in thousands of readers for decades. She explores the sacred mysteries with a voice recognizable and clear. A sought-after speaker, retreat leader, and writing teacher, she lives with her family in Wilmette, Illinois.
Scott Blackwood, author of See How Small
Thursday February 5, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome Whiting Writers’ Award and AWP Prize for the novel recipient and author of We Agreed to Meet Just Here and The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Scott Blackwood, who will read from and sign copies of his latest novel based on true events, See How Small, a riveting novel about the aftermath of the brutal murder of three teenage girls in a Texas town.
One late autumn evening in a Texas town, two strangers walk into an ice cream shop shortly before closing time. They bind up the three teenage girls who are working the counter, set fire to the shop, and disappear. See How Small tells the stories of the survivors—family, witnesses, and suspects—who must endure in the wake of atrocity. Justice remains elusive in their world, human connection tenuous. Hovering above the aftermath of their deaths are the three girls. They watch over the town and make occasional visitations, trying to connect with and prod to life those they left behind. "See how small a thing it is that keeps us apart," they say. A master of compression and lyrical precision, Scott Blackwood has surpassed himself with this haunting, beautiful, and enormously powerful new novel.
"In a story line based on an actual event, three teenage girls (two sisters and their friend) are brutally murdered and then set on fire in an ice-cream shop in Austin, Texas… Both sad and dispassionate, the novel has much to say about the mysteries of the human psyche, the far-reaching effects of violence, and the disparate ways grief works on people." —Booklist
"Horrible deaths of the innocent, and the various means and tactics by which the living manage to go on in the aftermath of unsolved horror, form the heart of Scott Blackwood’s haunted and haunting novel, See How Small. His prose is crisp and his narrative approach is fresh and inventive, calmly pushing forward, with characters rendered so convincingly you think about sending cards of condolence or calling with advice on the investigation." —Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone and The Maid’s Version
About the Author: Scott Blackwood is the author of two previous books of fiction, In the Shadow of Our House and We Agreed to Meet Just Here, and the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award, the AWP Prize for the novel, and The Texas Institute of Letters Award for best work of fiction. He’s also the author of The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records, Volumes I & II, two works of narrative nonfiction featured in NPR’s Weekend Edition, Sound Opinions, and in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Rolling Stone, among others. A former Dobie Paisano Fellow and long-time resident of Austin, Texas, Blackwood now lives in Chicago and teaches fiction writing in the MFA program at Southern Illinois University.
Wisconsinite Quan Barry, author of She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, for a reading and signing with local author and opening reader Steph Kilen
Tuesday February 17, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome award-winning author and professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Quan Barry, who will read from and sign copies of her stunning debut novel, She Weeps Each Time You’re Born, the tumultuous history of modern Vietnam as experienced by a young girl born under mysterious circumstances a few years before reunification—and with the otherworldly ability to hear the voices of the dead.
At the peak of the war in Vietnam, a baby girl is born on the night of the full moon along the Song Ma River. This is Rabbit, who will journey away from her destroyed village with a makeshift family thrown together by war. Here is a Vietnam we've never encountered before: through Rabbit's inexplicable but radiant intuition, we are privy to an intimate version of history, from the days of French Indochina and the World War II rubber plantations through the chaos of postwar reunification. With its use of magical realism—Rabbit's ability to "hear" the dead—the novel reconstructs a turbulent historical period through a painterly human lens. This luminous fiction debut is the moving story of one woman's struggle to unearth the true history of Vietnam while simultaneously carving out a place for herself within it.
Here’s what Boswellian Todd had to say about the book: "Barry reveals a Vietnamese people who are easy to imagine as characters in a post-apocalyptic novel a la The Road—except the sting is that these are images of people from our past, those who survived war and being carted about their country. Spanning 30 years, the novel features an artful narrator who poetically reveals the landscape while unwinding the life of Rabbit: daughter, friend, lover, ghost-whisperer, and more to those around her. It’s easy to revel in Barry’s language and story—lingering on description like it was dessert, attending scenes that coalesce as footage of a life of endless searching for what calls."
"Quan Barry’s She Weeps Each Time You’re Born is lyrical, luminous, and suspenseful all at once. Rabbit’s experience of wartime and reconciliation in Vietnam is one that I haven’t yet encountered in fiction, and it is rendered with shocking clarity and pathos on the page. Like Rabbit’s Goddess of Mercy, who has many manifestations, this is a Vietnam of myriad faces, myriad aspects, beautiful and terrible all at once." —Jesmyn Ward, author of Salvage the Bones
Our opening reader for this event is local author Steph Kilen, winner of Phoebe’s 2014 Fiction Contest, who will read from her award-winning story, "Pie Girl."
About the Author: Born in Saigon and raised on Boston's north shore, Quan Barry is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of four poetry books; her third book, Water Puppets, won the AWP Donald Hall Poetry Prize and was a PEN/Open Book finalist. She has received two NEA Fellowships in both fiction and poetry, and her work has appeared in such journals as The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Ms., and The New Yorker. Barry lives in Wisconsin.
Local Author Brittany Cavallaro, author of Girl-King
Thursday February 19, at 7:00 pm
Please join us for an exciting event with UWM PhD candidate and local author, Brittany Cavallaro, who will read from and sign copies of her latest collection of poems, Girl-King, which explore themes of femininity, power, sexuality, and marginalia throughout history.
The poems in Brittany Cavallaro's Girl-King are whispered from behind a series of masks, those of victim and aggressor, nineteenth-century madam and reluctant magician's girl, of truck-stop Persephone and frustrated Tudor scholar. This "expanse of girls, expanding still" chase each other through history, disappearing in an Illinois cornfield only to reemerge on the dissection table of a Scottish artist-anatomist. But these poems are not just interested in historical narrative: they peer, too, at the past’s marginalia, at its blank pages as well as its scrawls and dashes. Always, they return to the dark, indelicate question of power and sexuality, of who can rule the city where no one is from. These girls search for the connection between "alive and will stay that way," between each dying star and the emptiness that can collapse everything.
About the Author: Brittany Cavallaro’s poems have appeared in AGNI, Gettysburg Review, Tin House, the Best New Poets anthology, and elsewhere. She received her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was awarded the Milofsky Prize in Creative Writing. Recently, she is the recipient of scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference as well as fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she is currently a PhD student.
David Treuer, author of Prudence
Friday February 20, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome the son of an Ojibwe Indian mother and an Austrian Jewish father who fled the Holocaust, David Treuer, who will read from and sign copies of his latest novel, Prudence, which pushes the boundaries of identity as it crosses boundaries of race, gender, and sexual orientation to tell a haunting story of love, loss, and desire in World War II-era America in the vein of classics like Atonement and The English Patient. This event is co-sponsored by UWM's American Indian Student Services.
On a sweltering day in August 1942, Frankie Washburn returns to his family’s rustic Minnesota resort for one last visit before he joins the war as a bombardier, headed for the darkened skies over Europe. Awaiting him at the Pines are those he’s about to leave behind: his hovering mother; the distant father to whom he’s been a disappointment; the Indian caretaker who’s been more of a father to him than his own; and Billy, the childhood friend who over the years has become something much more intimate. But before the homecoming can be celebrated, the search for a German soldier, escaped from the POW camp across the river, explodes in a shocking act of violence, with consequences that will reverberate years into the future for all of them and that will shape how each of them makes sense of their lives. With Prudence, Treuer delivers his most ambitious and captivating novel yet. Powerful and wholly original, it’s a story of desire and loss and the search for connection in a riven world; of race and class in a supposedly more innocent era. Most profoundly, it’s about the secrets we choose to keep, the ones we can’t help but tell, and who—and how—we’re allowed to love.
"A wondrous and mesmerizing narrative—intricate, seductive, and wholly gratifying." —Toni Morrison
About the Author: David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. The author of three previous novels and two books of nonfiction, he has also written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Slate, and The Washington Post, among others. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology and teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California. David Treuer lived—on and off—in Milwaukee from 1996 to 1999, east-side and west-side. He was lucky enough to get his very first teaching job at UWM. He wrote much of his second novel (an urban tale) while living in Milwaukee. And he is very excited to come back to a city that remains very close to his heart.
Boris Fishman, author of A Replacement Life
Thursday February 26, at 7:00 pm
Fulbright scholar and celebrated journalist, Boris Fishman, is coming to Boswell to read from, discuss, and sign copies of his highly acclaimed literary debut novel, A Replacement Life, in which a failed journalist is asked to do the unthinkable: forge Holocaust restitution claims for older Russian Jews in Brooklyn, New York. This event is co-sponsored by the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM.
Yevgeny Gelman, grandfather of Slava Gelman, "didn’t suffer in the exact way" he needs to have suffered to qualify for the restitution the German government has been paying out to Holocaust survivors. But suffer he has—as a Jew in the war; as a second-class citizen in the USSR; as an immigrant to America. So? Isn’t his grandson a "writer?" High-minded Slava wants to put this immigrant scraping behind him. Only, the American Dream is not panning out for him—Century, the legendary magazine where he works as a researcher, wants nothing greater from him. Slava wants to be a correct, blameless American—but he wants to be a lionized writer even more. Slava’s turn as the Forger of South Brooklyn teaches him that not every fact is the truth, and not every lie a falsehood. It takes more than law-abiding to become an American; it takes the same self-reinvention in which his people excel. Intoxicated and unmoored by his inventions, Slava risks exposure. Cornered, he commits an irrevocable act that finally grants him a sense of home in America, but not before collecting a price from his family.
"A memorable debut by a wonderfully gifted young writer… Boris Fishman has written a beautifully nuanced, tender, and often very funny novel about conscience and familial loyalty that will linger long in the memory." —Joyce Carol Oates
"Boris Fishman fearlessly tackles the grandest subjects, among them the nature of honor and the transferability of suffering. That he succeeds this well, and with so much style and grace, marks him as a writer not only to watch but envy." —Tom Bissell
About the Author: Boris Fishman was born in Belarus and immigrated to the United States at the age of nine. He is the editor of Wild East: Stories from the Last Frontier, and his work has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, the New Republic, the Wall Street Journal, the London Review of Books, and other publications. He lives in New York City. A Replacement Life is his first novel.
Other Confirmed Author Appearances
Wednesday, March 11, 7:00 pm - Joseph Kanon, author of Leaving Berlin
Thursday, March 12, 7:00 pm - Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, at the Frank L. Weyenberg Library, located 11345 North Cedarburg Road in Mequon
Thursday, March 26, 7:00 pm - Liam Callanan, author of Listen & Other Stories
Tuesday, April 7, 7:00 pm - Mark Wisniewski, author of Watch Me Go
Thursday, April 16, 7:00 pm - Nicholas Butler, author of Shotgun Lovesongs, at the Shorewood Public Library, located 3920 N. Murray Avenue in Shorewood