Fox Cities Book Festival: Connecting Writers and Readers


Abayomi Animashaun

Abayomi Animashaun is an immigrant from Nigeria. He is the author of three poetry collections and editor of three anthologies. A recipient of the Hudson Prize and a grant from the International Center for Writing and Translation, Animashaun has an MFA from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin and teaches at UW-Oshkosh.


Jerry Apps

Jerry Apps was born and raised on a central Wisconsin farm. He is a former county extension agent and professor emeritus for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Today he works as a rural historian, full-time writer, and creative writing instructor.

Authors Poetry

Ruth Awad

Ruth Awad is an award-winning Lebanese-American poet whose debut poetry collection Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press 2017) won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry.


E.A. Aymar

Anthony Award-nominated E.A. Aymar’s next thriller, They’re Gone, will be published in November under his pseudonym E.A. Barres.

His past thrillers include The Swamp Killers and The Night of the Flood. He has a monthly column in the Washington Independent Review of Books and runs the D.C. Noir at the Bar series.


Andrea Bartz

Andrea Bartz is a Brooklyn-based journalist and author of The Lost Night and The Herd. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Women's Health, Martha Stewart Living, Redbook, Elle, and many other outlets, and she’s held editorial positions at Glamour, Psychology Today, and Self, among other titles.


Anne Basting

Anne Basting (Ph.D.) is a scholar and artist whose work focuses on the potential for the arts and humanities to transform our lives as individuals and communities. For over 20 years, Basting has researched ways to infuse the arts into care settings with a particular focus on people with cognitive disabilities like dementia.

Young Adult

Kalynn Bayron

Kalynn Bayron is an author and classically trained vocalist. She grew up in Anchorage, Alaska. When she’s not writing you can find her listening to Ella Fitzgerald on loop, attending the theater, watching scary movies, and spending time with her kids. She currently lives in San Antonio, Texas with her family.


Kathy Buchen Beson

Kathy Buchen Beson is a native of the Fox Valley and writes under the name of Kathy Buchen. Her first book was a historical novel called Rainmaker, set in Montello and published in 1995. Since then she has published nine novels in the Rhiannon Nolan cozy mystery series, and a women’s fiction, Bless Me Father for I Have Sinned. The latest Rhiannon Nolan mystery is Marriage is Murder: The Door County Special.

Science Fiction/Fantasy

r.r. campbell

r.r. campbell is an International Book Awards finalist, a writing coach, and the founder of the Writescast Network. His published novels include Accounting for It All and Imminent Dawn, which debuted as the number one new release for its genre on Amazon.


Emily Carpenter

Emily Carpenter is the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of suspense novels, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls, The Weight of Lies, Every Single Secret, Until the Day I Die and her most recent release REVIVING THE HAWTHORN SISTERS, published by Lake Union.


Janie Chang

Janie Chang writes historical fiction that draws from family history. Her novels have been nominated for the BC Book Prizes Fiction Award, the International Dublin Literary Award, and been on national bestseller lists in Canada. Her latest novel is The Library of Legends.


Christina Clancy

Christina Clancy is the author of The Second Home. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin and has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her forthcoming novel, Shoulder Season, will be published July, 2021.


Cathryn Cofell

Cathryn Cofell is the author of eight books of poetry including Stick Figure with Skirt, winner of the 2019 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. She is founder of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission and its endowment, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poetry Chapbook Prize and the Poetry Unlocked reading series.

Weina Dai Randel

Weina Dai Randel is the award-winning author of two historical novels, The Moon in the Palace and The Empress of Bright Moon, historical novel series of Empress Wu (Wu Zetian), China’s only female emperor. Since the publications, the novels have received starred reviews from Library Journal, Booklist, and ShelfAwareness. BookReporter believed the two books were “most beautifully written, impeccably researched and well-constructed historical fiction novels released this year.”


Lori Degman

Lori Degman is the author of the award-winning books: 1 Zany Zoo, Cock-a-Doodle Oops, and Just Read, as well as Norbert’s Big Dream, Like a Girl, and Travel Guide For Monsters. Lori enjoys presenting at schools, libraries, festivals and writing conferences. You can find her online at

Fiction Romance

Sonali Dev

USA Today Bestselling author Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that let her explore issues faced by women around the world while still indulging her faith in a happily ever after. Sonali’s novels have been on Library Journal, NPR, Washington Post, and Kirkus’s Best Books of the year lists.


Judy DuCharme

Judy DuCharme loves writing, worshiping the Lord, walking by the water, being on the water, and being with her grandson. She has many quirks and many qualities, but there’s no time to list them here. Check out her books. Or go to her Facebook page.

Fiction Mystery/Thriller

Amy Engel

Amy Engel is the author of The Familiar Dark, The Roanoke Girls and The Book of Ivy series. A former criminal defense attorney, she lives in Missouri with her family.


Jill Esbaum

Jill Esbaum lives in eastern Iowa. Her latest picture books are We love Babies!, Frog Boots, and Where’d My Jo Go? In addition to pictures books, she writes nonfiction for National Geographic and has a goofy graphic early reader series debuting in June 2021. More works are in the publishing pipeline.


Allen Eskens

Allen Eskens is a bestselling and award-winning author. His most recent book, Nothing More Dangerous, was published in 2019. Allen grew up on the hills of central Missouri. He now lives with his wife, Joely, in greater Minnesota where he recently retired after practicing criminal law for 25 years.


Leota Ester

Leota Ester's poetry captures love and loss, gives comfort to those caring for loved ones with Alzheimer's. A former teacher, she was founder and owner of Landmark, The Staffing Service. Leota lived in Appleton over 40 years. Retired, she resides in Evanston, IL

Science Fiction/Fantasy

Matt Forbeck

Matt Forbeck is an award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author and game designer. His latest work includes Minecraft Dungeons: The Rise of the Arch-Illager, Rage 2, the new Dungeons & Dragons: Endless Quest books, and the Shotguns & Sorcery roleplaying game based on his novels. For more, visit

Fiction Young Adult

Natalie Frank

Natalie Frank is an artist, violinist, a writer on many platforms, and a student leader. When Sea Becomes Cemetery is her first novel. Currently, she is hard at work creating new content, though not a book yet!


John Galligan

John Galligan is the author of the recently released Dead Man Dancing (Atria, 2020), Bad Axe County (2019) and five other novels: Red Sky, Red Dragonfly; The Nail Knot; The Blood Knot; The Clinch KnotThe Wind Knot.


Johanna Garton

Johanna Garton is a mother, Wisconsin native, writer and long distance runner. Before the publication of her first book, she dabbled in nonprofit consulting, college teaching and had a brief but quickly extinguished career as a lawyer. She's moved her family to China, been charged by an elephant, run 20-plus marathons and is addicted to sweaty, 6:00 AM yoga classes. She and her husband share their home in Denver with their two children.


Luke Geddes

Luke Geddes holds a PhD in comparative literature and creative writing from the University of Cincinnati. He is the author of the novel Heart of Junk, released by Simon & Schuster in January 2020. Originally from Appleton, Wisconsin, he now lives Cincinnati, Ohio.


Matthew Graham

Matthew Graham is the current State Poet Laureate of Indiana.


Charles Hagner

Charles Hagner, author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to Birds of Wisconsin, is a Wisconsin native and lifelong birder. He is the director of Bird City Wisconsin and chair of the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory. From 2001 to 2017 he was editor-in-chief of BirdWatching,/em> magazine.


Jennifer Hillier

Jennifer Hillier is the author of six psychological thrillers, including Jar of Hearts, which won the 2019 Thriller Award and was a finalist for the Anthony and Macavity Awards. She lives just outside Toronto with her husband and son. Little Secrets, her newest thriller, is out now from Minotaur Books.


Lora Hyler

Lora Hyler is a former reporter for NPR affiliate, WUWM and ABC affiliate, WISN. Her first book, The Stupendous Adventures of Mighty Marty Hayes (pub. 2018) features multicultural superheroes, science and spy gadgets. Her most recent book (pub. July 2020), Our Bodies Stay Home, Our Imaginations Run Free helps children ages 6-12 cope with coronavirus.

Young Adult

Justina Ireland

Justina Ireland lives with her husband, kid, dog, and cats in Maryland. She is the author of numerous books for kids and teens, including, Dread Nation, a New York Times bestseller. Her most recent book is, Deathless Divide, the sequel to Dread Nation.

Young Adult

Tiffany D. Jackson

Tiffany D. Jackson is the critically acclaimed author of YA novels including the Coretta Scott King — John Steptoe New Talent Award-winning Monday’s Not Coming, the NAACP Image Award-nominated Allegedly, Let Me Hear A Rhyme, and her forthcoming 2020 title GROWN.


Laura Jamison

Laura Jamison is an attorney from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and their four children. When she is not practicing law or writing, she is driving her kids to one of their many activities in her minivan. Laura is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan Law School. All the Right Mistakes is her first book.

Photo Credit: Gary Isaacs

Stephen Graham Jones

Stephen Graham Jones is the author of twenty-five or so novels and collections, and there’s some novellas and comic books in there as well. Most recent is The Only Good Indians. Next is Night of the Mannequins. Stephen lives and teaches in Boulder, Colorado.


Lesley Kagen

Lesley Kagen is an actress, sought-after speaker, audio book narrator, and award-winning New York Times bestselling author of nine novels. Her work has been translated into five languages. A mother of two, a grandmother of two, she lives in a hundred-year-old farmhouse in a small town in Wisconsin. Her award-winning, New York Times bestselling new novel Every Now and Then is both a nostalgic coming-of-age story and a mystery that tackles issues like mental illness, racism, friendship, guilt, and the power of hope.

Elizabeth Keenan

Elizabeth Keenan is a writer and publishing consultant based in New York City. She has worked in book publishing for eighteen years for imprints of Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, and Macmillan. Her work has been published in multiple anthologies and online. The Woman Inside is her first novel.

Publishing Teens Young Adult

Nicole Kronzer

Nicole Kronzer is the author of the young adult novels Unscripted and the forthcoming The Roof Over Our Heads. She is also a high school English teacher and former professional actor. She loves to knit and run (usually not at the same time) and lives with her family in Minneapolis.

Christopher Kunz

Christopher Kunz searches for the meaning of life and is fascinated by our short existence. When diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, he decided to send his writing out into the world. Christopher believes every story should have a happy ending and continues to write stories of hope and wonder, if a bit twisted.

Young Adult

Lori M. Lee

Lori M. Lee is the author of Forest of Souls, first in the Shamanborn series, as well as Gates of Thread and Stone and The Infinite. She’s also a contributor to the anthologies A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and Color Outside the Lines. She considers herself a unicorn aficionado, enjoys marathoning TV shows, and loves to write about magic, manipulation, and family.


Roselle Lim

Roselle Lim is a Filipino Chinese writer who came to Canada from the Philippines as a young teen and learned English by watching wrestling shows on television. She has a degree in humanities and history from York University.


Jeni McFarland

Jeni McFarland holds an M.F.A. in Fiction from the University of Houston, where she served as a fiction editor for Gulf Coast magazine. She is a 2016 Kimbilio Fellow living in rural Michigan. The House of Deep Water—out now from G.P. Putnam’s sons—is her first novel.

Fiction Science Fiction/Fantasy Teens

Cole Nagamatsu

Cole Nagamatsu is the author of the novel, We Were Restless Things (Sourcebooks Fire). Her short stories have been featured online and in print at publications such as Tin House, West Branch, and Cream City Review. She is a professor of creative writing and an editor at Psychopomp Magazine.


Baptiste Paul

Baptiste Paul is a Caribbean-born author of three books for children. His debut picture book, The Field, received starred reviews from Kirkus, The Horn Book, and Booklist. Born and raised on the island of Saint Lucia, Baptiste is a native Creole/Patois speaker who enjoys reading his books and sharing about his experiences with anyone who will listen. Learn more about Baptiste at


Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hank Phillippi Ryan is investigative reporter for Boston's WHDH-TV, winning 36 EMMYs. National bestseller of 11 thrillers, Ryan's won five Agathas and the Mary Higgins Clark Award. Her novels are Library Journal's Best of 2014, 2015 and 2016; Trust Me is a 2018 Agatha Nominee. Her newest: The First Lie .

Crafts Workshop

The Mill: A Place for Writers

The Mill: A Place for Writers was founded to create a center that would encourage the growth of the literary community and provide learning opportunities for writers at all levels, by offering a broad range of classes and workshops for interested adults. The Mill offers classes in the writing of Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Nonfiction taught by experienced teachers, themselves accomplished and widely-published writers. The Mill sponsors The Mill Prizes, a writing contest for both short stories and poetry.

Young Adult

Sarah Read

Sarah Read is a dark fiction writer in the frozen north of Wisconsin. Her debut novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard (winner of the Bram Stoker Award and This is Horror Award) is now out from Trepidatio Publishing, and her debut collection, Out of Water was released in late 2019.


Amy E. Reichert

Amy E. Reichert, author of The Coincidence of Coconut Cake,The Optimist's Guide to Letting Go, the forthcoming The Kindred Supper Club, and more, is a lifelong Cheesehead and serves on her library’s board of directors. She's a member of Tall Poppy Writers.


Gregory Renz

Fire Captain Gregory Lee Renz gained induction into the Fire and Police Hall of Fame in 2006 for a dramatic rescue of two children. In 2008 Gregory traded his turnout gear for a writing desk to pursue his passion; storytelling. His international-award-winning novel BENEATH THE FLAMES was published in 2019.


Joy Ann Ribar

What do retired English and writing instructors do with all their free time? Write, of course. When Joy Ann Ribar retired in 2017, she never imagined her first mystery novel would be published two years later! There are currently three titles in the Deep Lakes Cozy Mystery Series, and Joy’s working on the fourth.


Gavin Schmitt

Gavin Schmitt has been called the go-to expert on organized crime in Wisconsin. With books including Milwaukee Mafia and Shallow Grave, he has brought long-classified documents into public view. Interviewed in newspapers, on the radio, and online, Schmitt recently appeared in the documentary Milwaukee Mob.

E. G. Scott

E. G. Scott is a pseudonym for two writers, who have been friends for over twenty-years, and have been writing plays, screenplays, and short stories separately since they were kids. They've collaborated on multiple projects from the beginning of their friendship, but this is their first published work together. This book came out of their shared love of thrillers and noir and wanting to collaborate on a novel for a long time. They are currently working on their next thriller.


Robert Silbernagel

Robert Silbernagel studied journalism at the University of Wisconsin and spent his newspaper career in Colorado. He writes a bimonthly history column for The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colorado, and has published on Aldo Leopold and Colorado history.

Claire Swinarski

Claire Swinarski

Claire Swinarski is the author of multiple books, including What Happens Next and The Kate In Between. Her writing has been featured in The Washington Post, Seventeen, Milwaukee Magazine, and many other publications. A born and raised Wisconsinite, she lives just outside of Milwaukee with her husband and two kids. You can follow her on Instagram @claireswinarski.

Science Fiction/Fantasy

Cadwell Turnbull

Cadwell Turnbull is the author of The Lesson. His short fiction has appeared in The Verge, Lightspeed, Nightmare, and Asimov’s Science Fiction and several anthologies. His debut novel The Lesson was a finalist for the Neukom Institute Literary Award, shortlisted for VCU Cabell Award, and longlisted for the Massachusetts Book Award.


R. Richard Wagner

Scholar and activist R. Richard Wagner was the first openly gay member of the Dane County Board of Supervisors, where he served for fourteen years. In 1983, he co-chaired the Wisconsin Governor’s Council on Lesbian and Gay Issues—the first such council in the nation. And in 2005, he joined the board of Fair Wisconsin to fight the constitutional amendment against marriage equality.

Jen Waite

Jen Waite grew up on the coast of Maine. After graduating from Vassar College, she moved to New York City for ten years, where she first worked in finance and then pursued acting and modeling. She moved back to Maine in 2015, shortly after the birth of her daughter. She is the author of the international bestseller, A Beautiful, Terrible Thing, which details her discovery that her ex-husband was leading a double life. Since the memoir’s publication, Jen has worked with many people who have experienced similar betrayals. Her latest book, Survival Instincts, was a New York Post ‘best book of the week’ and is in stores now. She lives in Maine with her young daughter and is currently at work on her third book.

Greg Wands

Greg Wands writes for the page and screen. An avid lifelong reader, he grew up in Sag Harbor, NY, and now calls Manhattan home. Greg is excited to have a novel, television series and feature film project in the works.

Heather Webb

Heather Webb is the USA Today bestselling author of historical fiction. Her next novel reveals the dark secrets of Ellis Island as two unlikely friends challenge a corrupt system, altering their fate and the lives of the immigrants after them. Heather’s books have been translated to over a dozen languages.

Fiction Teens

Liza Wiemer

Liza Wiemer is an award-winning educator. Her second young adult novel, The Assignment, was published by Random House, August 2020. Other published work includes her debut YA novel, Hello?, two adult nonfiction books and several short stories. A graduate of UW-Madison, Liza is married and lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Graphic Novel

Shawn Williams

Shawn Williams is a working graphic designer that uses design, illustration, photography, and video to help clients communicate their messages. He’s worked with dozens of authors to publish
or self-publish their book projects, often including illustration. Shawn also wrote, illustrated, and self-published a graphic novel called Five Pounds & Screaming.

Fiction Mystery/Thriller

Jaime Jo Wright

Jaime Jo Wright is winner of the Christy, Carol, Daphne du Maurier, and INSPY Awards. She's also the Publishers Weekly and ECPA bestselling author of three novellas. Jaime works as a human resources director in Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and two children. Jaime Jo Wright loves to read—and write—fiction with elements of mystery, faith, and romance from her home in Wisconsin.

Photo of Richie Zaborowske
Events Storytelling

Richie Zaborowske

Richie Zaborowske is a librarian at the Neenah Public Library. As the parent of 2 young children, his lack of sleep has inspired some interesting library programs: Fortnite Fest featuring a dance contest, a screening of The Big Lebowski with a noted Lebowski PhD scholar, and the unconventional antics of Short Story Night.


Michael Zapata

Michael Zapata is a founding editor of the award-winning MAKE: Literary Magazine. He is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for Fiction; the City of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist Program award; and a Pushcart Nomination. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and has lived in New Orleans, Italy, and Ecuador.

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