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Wednesday, August 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 62.0° F  A Few Clouds


The white perspective: Why Marian Fredal devotes herself to fighting racism

On a recent day in my Facebook feed, a photo rolled up of three preschoolers " two black, one white " gleefully hugging. The caption read, "No one is born racist." Shortly after, someone posted an article by a black woman offended when white people want to touch her hair. >More
 Michelle Wildgen crafts delicious Bread and Butter from memories of working at L'Etoile

By any standard, Michelle Wildgen is having a very good year. Her third novel, Bread and Butter, comes out on Feb. 12; classes are full at Madison Writers' Studio, the writing school she founded last year with fellow Madison author Susanna Daniel; and a movie of her first novel, You're Not You, starring Hilary Swank, Josh Duhamel and Emmy Rossum, is slated to hit theaters in early summer. >More
 Kevin Henkes receives Newbery Honor for new children's book, The Year of Billy Miller

Madison author and illustrator Kevin Henkes has been named a 2014 Newbery Honor recipient for The Year of Billy Miller, his latest book for young readers. Newbery Honor Books are a short list of runners-up to the Newbery Medal, which the American Library Association awards yearly to the most distinguished American literature for children. >More
 UW-Madison creative writing program adds Danielle Evans to its faculty roster

Danielle Evans, a former Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing Fellow, will join the faculty of the UW-Madison creative writing program as an assistant professor in the fall of 2014. A position opened about a year ago when Lorrie Moore, a revered fiction stylist who was also recognized as a rising star when she came to Wisconsin in the 1980s, quietly accepted a professorship at Vanderbilt University. >More
 The story behind Wisconsin Book Festival 2013: Madison historian Jody LePage explores racial injustice

Madison historian Jody LePage met Sylvia Bell White in 1973, when they were both selling vegetables at the farmers' market on the Capitol Square. She was one of the most fun people I had ever met," says LePage, who did not learn for 10 years that White's brother, Daniel Bell, had been gunned down by a Milwaukee police officer in 1958. >More
 Wisconsin Book Festival gets intimate: The 2013 event celebrates more Madison-area authors

The most surprising part of this year's Wisconsin Book Festival (Thursday-Sunday, Oct. 17-20) is how much a celebration of homegrown talent it will be. Clearly, great care has been taken to highlight books that reflect a wide range of voices and reading interests. And yet, with notable exceptions, most presenters live and work in right here in Wisconsin. >More
 Kashmira Sheth's children's fiction makes connections between worlds

Madison's Kashmira Sheth has written four award-winning novels for middle grade and teen readers, and a popular chapter book for six- to nine-year-olds, but right now her picture books are what she's excited to talk about. >More
 Meditation tools for the home

The successful meditation spaces in the homes I visited were as unpretentious as they were distinguished by personal touches, some governed by the traditions or disciplines of the practice, and others purely by aesthetic preference. There are, however, basic tools and accoutrements that can make meditation space more usable and inviting. >More
 How to create a meditation space in your home

As much as I love my weekly meditation class, I still struggle sticking to a daily home practice. When I meditate regularly, I feel balanced and everything in my life appears to run more smoothly, though the truth is probably that I'm reacting to life's events with greater equanimity. >More
 A glimpse of Wisconsin Book Festival 2013

Wisconsin Book Festival events coordinator Conor Moran has been a book lover for longer than he can remember. There are, he says, baby photos of him reading his Richard Scarry books at the breakfast table while his dad read the newspaper. Hired March 1 by the festival's new host, the Madison Public Library Foundation, Moran has hit the ground running. >More
 Wisconsin Historical Society Press takes a fresh approach to telling Badger State stories

By now, you've probably gotten used to hearing bad news from the world of publishing. Mergers, layoffs and declining sales have been in the headlines for more than a decade. But not all the recent developments have been negative. Many independent booksellers are seeing sturdier bottom lines, according to industry publication Publishers Weekly, and total book readership has held steady, according to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. >More
 Countdown to Wisconsin Book Festival 2012: An interview with Michael Lowenthal

It's one thing for a fiction writer to take on large and knotty subjects like pedophilia, surrogacy, and the intersection of Judaism and sexual identity. It is quite another to tell these stories with the sort of nuanced and fully fleshed-out characters that make Michael Lowenthal and his work both important and eminently readable. During a recent phone call, I asked him about The Paternity Test, his new novel from the University of Wisconsin Press, about a gay couple who attempt to save their marriage by engaging a surrogate to have their baby. >More
 Eight local authors share their best bets for Wisconsin Book Festival 2012

Though there's pleasure to be found in the cocoon-like nature of reading and writing, there's also a certain tedium. Luckily, an antidote appears each year in the form of the Wisconsin Book Festival (Wednesday, Nov. 7, through Sunday, Nov. 11). Here, I can delight in the fellowship of other book lovers as I indulge in the rhythms of the spoken word. >More
 Wisconsin Book Festival seeks new leaders and funding sources

In Isthmus' Oct. 26 Wisconsin Book Festival supplement, festival director Alison Jones Chaim announced that she will relinquish her role at the end of this year. >More
 Laugh, cry, shout: Madison poetry readings get 'gloriously messy'

In the fall of 2009, some poets were concerned about the lack of contemporary poetry at the Wisconsin Book Festival. They addressed the omission by putting together a reading of their own. They invited friends and favorite local poets, and because it was nearly Halloween, they called the reading Monsters of Poetry. When over 100 people showed up, it dawned on them that they had a monster of a new poetry reading series on their hands. >More
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