October 12-18, 2020 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.

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 3:30 pm Seahorses

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.

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 5:00 pm Ruth Awad Poetry Reading

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.

Upcoming Events October 12, 2020 @ 1:30 pm Transforming Caregiving with Creativity
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.

Upcoming Events October 15, 2020 @ 8:00 pm Women in Writing Panel October 17, 2020 @ 11:30 am YA Novelists Panel

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.

Upcoming Events October 14, 2020 @ 9:30 am Booked for Murder

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.

Upcoming Events October 14, 2020 @ 5:30 pm Writing the New Southern Gothic

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.

Upcoming Events October 18, 2020 @ 4:30 pm Turning History into Historical Fiction

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.

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 4:15 pm Stick Figure with Skirt

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.”

Upcoming Events October 13, 2020 @ 9:30 am Panel: Where Ideas Come From — and how we turn them into books!

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 Loridegman.com.

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 9:00 am Picture Book Panel
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.

Upcoming Events October 13, 2020 @ 6:30 pm A Conversation with Sonali Dev

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.

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 9:00 am Picture Book Panel

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.

Upcoming Events October 13, 2020 @ 10:30 am A Reading with Author, Allen Eskens

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

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 2:00 pm Leota Ester Poetry Reading
Children Family-Friendly Kids Publishing

Stephanie Feuerstein


Stephanie Feuerstein has been a naturalist since 1999, sharing nature with audiences of all ages. She began sharing her love of nature through children’s books with The Monarch's Gift in 2008, and has followed with a second book celebrating the 50th Anniversary of 1000 Islands entitled Ella, Eddie, and Egg.

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 Forbeck.com.

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 1:00 pm A Chat With Matt Forbeck

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.

Upcoming Events October 12, 2020 @ 9:00 am The Mountain Life of a Fox Cities Woman

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.

Upcoming Events October 13, 2020 @ 12:00 pm Wisconsin: A Great State for Birdwatching

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.

Upcoming Events October 15, 2020 @ 8:00 pm Women in Writing Panel October 18, 2020 @ 12:00 pm An Author’s Journey

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.

Upcoming Events October 16, 2020 @ 8:00 pm Debut Author Panel

Gary Jones


Gary Jones has written professionally as a freelancer since the 1970s, publishing in the Milwaukee Journal, Milwaukee Sentinel, Milwaukee Magazine, and several Door County publications. He taught high school English for many years and in retirement has taught college composition courses at University of Wisconsin–Platteville.

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.

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 6:15 pm And This is How I Got Here.

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.

Upcoming Events October 14, 2020 @ 11:00 am Every Now and Then

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.

Upcoming Events October 15, 2020 @ 6:30 pm A Discussion with E.G. Scott
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.

Upcoming Events October 15, 2020 @ 4:00 pm You Don’t Have to Live in New York to Be a Published Author October 17, 2020 @ 11:30 am YA Novelists Panel
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.

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 11:30 am YA Novelists Panel

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.

Upcoming Events October 15, 2020 @ 8:00 pm Women in Writing Panel October 16, 2020 @ 8:00 pm Debut Author Panel October 17, 2020 @ 7:30 pm Writing Realistic Characters
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.

Upcoming Events October 14, 2020 @ 7:00 pm Reading from the novel We Were Restless Things

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 baptistepaul.net.

Upcoming Events October 12, 2020 @ 6:00 pm Write What You Know October 17, 2020 @ 9:00 am Picture Book Panel

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.

Upcoming Events October 15, 2020 @ 2:00 pm Dark History Lives! Murder and Mayhem

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.

Upcoming Events October 15, 2020 @ 6:30 pm A Discussion with E.G. Scott
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.

Upcoming Events October 17, 2020 @ 5:15 pm The Lesson, a reading

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.

Upcoming Events October 18, 2020 @ 9:00 am A Discussion with Jen Waite

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.

Upcoming Events October 15, 2020 @ 6:30 pm A Discussion with E.G. Scott
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.

Upcoming Events October 12, 2020 @ 4:30 pm Book Illustration and Working with Authors
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.

Upcoming Events October 13, 2020 @ 1:30 pm Writing the Dual-Time Story
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.

Upcoming Events October 13, 2020 @ 8:00 pm 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.

Upcoming Events October 16, 2020 @ 6:30 pm Latin American Literature at the End of the World October 17, 2020 @ 10:00 am So, You Want to Make a Literary Magazine?!