“The idea is that the city that opens the
same book closes it in greater harmony.”

— Mary McGrory, The Washington Post, March 17, 2002

The Fox Cities Book Festival in partnership with the public libraries of the Fox Cities has come together with the goal of building a larger sense of community to promote literacy. Each year, we select an author and title to promote for Fox Cities Reads and encourage the people in our communities to read, think, talk, listen, and grow together.

Please direct questions about Fox Cities Reads to Joe Bongers at bongers@menashalibrary.org or to your local Fox Cities public library.

Highlights of Matthew Desmond’s Visit

April 19th, 2019|

"Think about the brain power, the human creativity that we just squander," Matthew Desmond said, looking out at a crowd in the Lawrence University Memorial Chapel on April 12. Evictions have lasting negative effects on

Our Exciting News

March 19th, 2019|

Mark Your Calendars: Matthew Desmond, Pulitzer-prize winning author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City is here for the Fox Cities Reads April 11 & 12. Please join us for his presentations on April 11 at

Join the Silent Reading Party

February 14th, 2019|

Read, hang out, talk books, repeat. Book lovers rejoice! The Silent Reading Party is coming to a bookstore near you. The Fox Cities Book Festival hosts its first Silent Reading Party on Wednesday, February 27,

Fox Cities Reads 2019 Events

January 21st, 2019|

The Fox Cities Book Festival hosts two annual programs: a spring program, Fox Cities Reads, and a week-long festival in the fall. The Fox Cities Reads program, in its twelfth year, is a one-book, one-community

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Zona Gale (1874 – 1938) was an award-winning, Wisconsin-born author, playwright, activist, and feminist.

Gale was born in Portage, Wisconsin. She identified as a writer at the early age of 7 and even made the bold attempt to get a novel published when she was 13 (though the editors rejected the manuscript). She went on to earn her bachelor’s degree in literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After graduating in 1895, she became one of the first female newspaper reporters in Milwaukee, writing for The Sentinel.

She went on to receive her master’s degree, also from the UW-Madison, in 1901, after which she moved to New York, and wrote for the “Evening World.”

Her assignments at the “Evening World” focused on social events, and Gale’s focus in life, and in her work, drew her back to Wisconsin. Her hometown of Portage would become her home again and inspire the settings in nearly all her works.

Gale was a pioneer. In addition to her fiction writing, she was an active supporter of the La Follettes and progressive causes. She was an active member of the National Women’s Party, lobbying for the 1921 Wisconsin Equal Rights Law. Her contemporary stories complemented her activism on behalf of women. As an activist and feminist, Gale highlighted women in her novels and brought to light the frustration and lack of opportunities they often faced during that time.

Gale published her first novel, ROMANCE ISLAND, in 1906. It was a financial success but was met with criticism. Two years later she published FRIENDSHIP VILLAGE, a collection of stories about the idyllic town life of Portage. Gale’s writing evolved over the course of her career. In 1921 Gale became the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, when she adapted her novel, MISS LULU BETT, for stage.

Gale wrote and published from Portage, until her death in 1938.
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