The Fox Cities Book Festival kicks off in three days. From Monday, October 7th at 9am until the headliner event, Elizabeth Letts, on Sunday, October 13th, Fox Cities residents will be treated to a wide array of writing topics and a host of talent. Presentations vary from poetry readings, to panel discussions, to storytelling, and many more. If you have a passion for reading, writing, and learning, check out the schedule, grab your favorite travel mug, and make your way to the nearest library.

The Mill Literary Prizes

The Mill Literary Prizes will be held on Saturday, October 12th at 10:30 am to 11:30 am at the Neenah Public Library.

This event is an annual literary contest awarded and sponsored by The Mill: A Place for Writers. Started in 2013, prizes were awarded in both Fiction and Poetry. The contest is open to all writers in and around the Fox Cities in Wisconsin as well as to previous students of The Mill. In 2017, the Mill Prize for Poetry was renamed the Janet Dee Wullner-Faiss Memorial Award for Poetry in honor of Janet Wullner-Faiss who served generously on The Mill board of directors.

About The Mill: “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.”

Their Mission: “to support the artistic development of writers, foster a writing community, and build an audience for literature.”

A Walk West with Steve Betchkal

Take a walk with Steve Betchkal through the literary, and literal, landscape of America’s National Parks. Betchkal will be presenting “A Walk West: Rediscovering America’s National Parks a Step at a Time,” on October 12th at 3:00pm to 4:00pm at the Elisha D. Smith Public Library in Menasha. In his presentation, he will be discussing America’s National Parks: a national treasure, cherished for their singular natural beauty and rich history.

Betchkal has worked at three national parks and camped and backpacked 67 others. He is an ornithologist, environmentalist, and Emmy and Murrow Award-winning veteran journalist. In addition to his work covering national parks, Betchkal has written books on birds including All of This and Robins Too: A Guide to the 50 or So Best Places to Find Birds in Wisconsin and Birding Trails Wisconsin: 100 Birding Locations Across the Badger State and most recently, Walk the Walk, Camp the Camp, Bird the Bird. He has been a featured guest several WPR shows including “Spectrum West with Al Ross,” “The West Side,” hosted by Dean Kallenbach, and “The Larry Meiller Show.”

I Believe in Yesterday: A Panel

Join authors Scott Winkler, Edward S. Louis (E.L. Risden), and Dan Linssen on Saturday, October 12th, at 2:30pm to 3:30pm, at the Neenah Public Library. During their presentation, Believe in Yesterday: History and Place Illuminate Fiction, the authors will share short excerpts highlighting elements of their works and take questions from the audience. Each has found inspiration for their Wisconsin-based novels in the worlds of our parents and grandparents: Linssen in the transition from innocence to experience in the late 1950s, Louis in the dire circumstances of the Great Depression, and Winkler in the impact the late 1960s on a family living in rural Northeast Wisconsin.  In their panel, these writers will discuss the origins and inspiration of their novels–how they conduct background research and incorporate it in their work–as well as explore how a firm foundation in a particular place and time nurtures and enables works of fiction to explore timeless, universal human themes.

Scott Winkler – In addition to being an author, Scott Winkler is a family man, a teacher and scholar, and a concerned citizen of a nation yet to achieve its potential. Scott is a graduate of St. Norbert College, and he earned both his MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Scott’s work creative and academic work has appeared in publications ranging from The Journal of Popular Culture and Contemporary Short Story Criticism to Elysian Fields Quarterly and Peninsula Pulse, among others. Scott’s novel, The Meadow explores the impact of moral injury and family secrets against the backdrop of the late 1960s in Northeast Wisconsin. His first book, The Wide Turn Toward Home, is a collection of baseball-themed fiction and was published in 2008. Scott lives with his daughter in rural, Northeast Wisconsin.

Edward S. Louis – E. L. Risden is an Associate Professor of English at St. Norbert College, where he teaches medieval and Renaissance literature. He is the author of a dozen books, including Beasts of Time, Beowulf in Faithful Verse, Beowulf for Business, and The Heroes and the Gods. He writes scholarship on the early periods of literature, literary theory, and medievalism. He also writes fiction and poetry (some under the pen name Edward S. Louis) and occasionally drama. He and his wife, a painter, live in Wisconsin and enjoy travel in Europe, Mediterranean cooking, small-town life, and amateur archeology.  They belong to Bingley, a buff tabby cat, who rules their home benignly.

Dan Linssen – Dan Linssen enjoyed a diverse executive career, spanning Fortune 500 companies, privately held corporations, and non-profits. In between, he spent over eight years in management consulting, assisting over 100 different clients in manufacturing, healthcare, financial services, public school districts, and utilities. He’s also taught full-time upper-division business courses at universities in both the U.S. and France, and for two years wrote a weekly editorial column for the Green Bay Press Gazette. As author of Who’s to Blame – Living Along Society’s “Fault” Line he’s led workshops on eliminating the blame game, and presented keynote sessions at numerous conferences. Dan recently turned his attention to a new interest – fiction. (After all, there’s no shortage of good material in real life.) He’s published several short stories, and his debut full-length novel, Leaving Juneau County, was released in early 2018. He is currently working on a sequel. Hobby interests have included playing guitar, auto racing, flying, skiing, travel, history, and trying to figure out what makes the world tick.

The Art of Anxiety: A Panel

Join authors Sarah Read, Kathrin Köhler, and David Rank for their presentation, The Art of Anxiety, on Saturday, October 12th at 12:00pm to 1:00pm at the Kaukauna Public Library.

During The Art of Anxiety, Read, Köhler, and Rank explore how writers manipulate our emotions to keep the pages turning. Whether it’s a thriller, mystery, romance, or literary fiction, a good book keeps you turning the pages. Learn what tools writers use (and how they use them) to move our emotions, create anxiety, and make us need to know what happens next. Join members of the Horror Writers Association Wisconsin Chapter in this discussion for readers and writers alike.

Sarah Read is a dark fiction author, editor, and librarian living in the frozen north of Wisconsin with her husband, two sons, a cat, and thousands of spiders. Her novel The Bone Weaver’s Orchard was released from Trepidatio Publishing in early 2019. Her short stories can be found in Gamut, Black Static, and other places, and in various anthologies including Exigencies, Suspended in Dusk, BEHOLD! Oddities Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders, and The Best Horror of the Year vol 10. Her debut collection Out of Water will be released this upcoming November 1st.

She is the Editor-in-Chief of Pantheon Magazine and of their associated anthologies, including Gorgon: Stories of Emergence. She is an active member of the Horror Writers Association.

When she’s not staring into the abyss, she knits.

Kathrin Köhler is a writer of speculative fiction and poetry interested in intersectionality, the interstitial, and ideas interdisciplinary. They are most comfortable writing in places ‘between’ – between genres, between realities, between the lines.

Kathrin is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Odyssey Fantasy Writing Workshop. Work of theirs has appeared in Pantheon Magazine, Shimmer, Interfictions, The Book Smugglers, and other fine places. Their work tends to explore the internalization of social power structures and how people conceive of and interact with nature, usually through the lens of outsiders and characters who don’t quite “fit”.

It wasn’t until Kathrin read Shirley Jackson and M. Rickert that they realized how strange, powerful, and creepily beautiful horror could be. After that, they were hooked.

David J. Rank is a published author of dark fiction, editor, and recovering journalist. His short stories, flash fiction, and micro stories have been published in regional literary publications and online in The Absent Willow Review, Acidic Fiction, AlienSkin, Apollo’s Lyre, Bewildering Stories, Every Day Fiction, Flashes in the Dark, Macabre Cadaver, MicroHorror, Pulchritude Press, and the print anthologies The Grays, published by JWK Fiction, and Wisconsin Review II, published by the WWA Press. Founder and director of the nonprofit Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp & Retreat residential writing programs, he is a member of the Horror Writers Association and both the Wisconsin Writers Association and Chicago Writers Association, president of the WWA from 2013 to 2016. A resident of eastern Wisconsin, he is working on a horror novel, a Gothic romance novel, and a science fiction mystery series.