Milwaukee bookseller, Boswell Book Company, routinely hosts author book events. Here is what’s coming up with Wisconsin authors in March. This book store has become a mecca for authors to showcase their work and for book lovers to meet and hear the people who write the books they love, and to get signed copies. Venues like Boswell are especially important in shrinking opportunities for author events. More info about Boswell events is at http://boswell.indiebound.com/upcoming-events
Bridget Birdsall, author of Double Exposure
Sunday March 1, at 3:00 pm
We’re honored to welcome to the Boswell stage Madison author Bridget Birdsall, who will discuss and sign copies of her stunning young adult novel great for ages thirteen and up, Double Exposure, which brings to light complex gender issues, teenage insecurities, and overcoming all obstacles.
Fifteen-year-old Alyx Atlas was raised as a boy, yet she knows something others don’t. She’s a girl. And after her dad dies, it becomes painfully obvious that she must prove it now—to herself and to the world. Born with ambiguous genitalia, Alyx has always felt a little different. But it’s after she sustains a terrible beating behind a 7-Eleven that she and her mother pack up their belongings and move from California to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to start a new life—and Alyx begins over again, this time as a girl.
“Told in clear, straightforward prose, this riveting story of Alyx, and the gauntlet she has to run in order to discover who she truly is, shines a brilliant light on the truth that we are all queer in some way. All of us. In Double Exposure, Bridget Birdsall has given us a story that is courageous, intense, and full of heart. It’s a score from the outside, and everyone who reads it wins!” —Kathi Appelt, author of the Newbery Honor winner The Underneath, Keeper, andThe True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
About the Author: Bridget Birdsall is an author, artist, educator, and inspirational speaker. Despite dyslexic challenges, Bridget made a midlife decision to pursue her dream of writing books that touch hearts, especially those of young people. She earned her MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College and now teaches creative, contemplative, and business writing skills throughout the Midwest. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, is the author of Ordinary Angels, and is known as a writer willing to tackle tough topics. Birdsall lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Melissa Falcon Field, author of What Burns Away
Tuesday March 3, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is proud to present Madison author Melissa Falcon Field, who will read from and sign copies of her brilliant debut, What Burns Away, in which a depressed new mom transplanted from Connecticut to Madison, Wisconsin, gives in to her latent teenage-arsonist fantasies and her first love.
Upon relocating to snowy Madison with a distant physician husband, New England native Claire Spruce is besieged by a dark past when her first love finds her again. Breaking decades of silence, old flame Dean offers an intoxicating, reckless escape from motherhood’s monotony. Enchanted by his return, while yearning for her own mislaid identity, she agrees to repay a favor that could incinerate her marriage and her child’s well-being. What Burns Away is a story of loyalty, family and the realization that the past is nearly always waiting for us in the future.
“What Burns Away is a study of safety, loyalty, and heart. But it’s also the story of what happens when those things run up against boredom, when they gaze in the smoky glass of lost mirrors and see soulful shadows of passion, freedom, and risk. A new mom’s fiery first love is back, and he challenges all she’s built for herself, revealing the fragility of suburban dreams—I mean nightmares. In scorching prose, Melissa Falcon Field reminds us that when trouble flies out to the far reaches of the solar system, we’d best not forget it’s coming back.” —Bill Roorbach, author of The Remedy for Love and Life Among Giants
About the Author: Melissa Falcon Field received her MFA in Creative Writing at Texas State University, where she received the Katherine Anne Porter Writer-in-Residence Award two years consecutively. She has been a professor of fiction and nonfiction writing at Texas State University. She grew up in Connecticut, and she lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her family.
Local Author Gina Cilento, author of Mitzi Boo & Mia, Too: Go to England
Saturday March 7, at 2:00 pm
Keep Calm and Carry On—to Boswell for a talk and signing with local author and tennis pro, Gina Cilento, who will debut the first book in her Mitzi Boo & Mia, Too series, Go to England, a unique traveldogue in which adorable English Bulldog sisters Mitzi Boo and Mia guide readers on a sightseeing adventure across England, great for kids of all ages!
Two English Bulldogs—the charismatic and ever-stylish Mitzi Boo and her even-keeled sister, Mia—journey to England after landing their first assignment for World Travel Magazine. From Stonehenge to Buckingham Palace, the two traipse across England desperate to see the Queen, sampling local cuisine, and working through sibling rivalry. Appealing to travel lovers, animal enthusiasts, and kids of all ages, Mitzi Boo & Mia, Too: Go to England is a humorous, off-beat approach to sibling stories, travelogues, and fundraising, with a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every book goes to help fight against animal cruelty.
About the Author: Wisconsin born and raised, Gina Cilento has always been passionate about the wellbeing of animals: one of her lifelong dreams is to open a sanctuary for unwanted and abused animals of all kinds. For two decades, Gina has played tennis professionally in Oregon and Wisconsin. Still teaching and playing competitively, she’s found joy in reviving her art background as the author of Mitzi Boo & Mia, Too: Go to England, starring her two English Bulldogs, Mitzi and Mia.
A Frank L. Weyenberg Library Event (Note: Not at Boswell on Downer in Milwaukee) with Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival and Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule
Thursday March 12, at 6:30 pm
Please join us at the Frank L. Weyenberg Library (located at 11345 N. Cedarburg Road in Mequon) for an evening with beloved Madison author, Jennifer Chiaverini, who will read from and discuss her latest historical novel, Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule, which treats readers to the inner life of Julia Grant, beloved as a Civil War general’s wife and the First Lady, yet grappled with her profound and complex relationship with the slave who was her namesake—until she forged a proud identity of her own.
In 1844, Missouri belle Julia Dent met dazzling horseman Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant. Four years passed before their parents permitted them to wed, and the groom’s abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony. Since childhood, Julia owned as a slave another Julia, known as Jule. Jule guarded her mistress’s closely held twin secrets: she had perilously poor vision but was gifted with prophetic sight. So it was that Jule became Julia’s eyes to the world. And what a world it was, marked by gathering clouds of war. The Grants vowed never to be separated, but as Ulysses rose through the ranks—becoming general in chief of the Union Army—so did the stakes of their pact. During the war, Julia would travel, often in the company of Jule and the four Grant children, facing unreliable transportation and certain danger to be at her husband’s side.
Yet Julia and Jule saw two different wars. While Julia spoke out for women—Union and Confederate—she continued to hold Jule as a slave behind Union lines. Upon the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Jule claimed her freedom and rose to prominence as a businesswoman in her own right, taking the honorary title Madame. The two women’s paths continued to cross throughout the Grants’ White House years in Washington, DC, and later in New York City, the site of Grant’s Tomb. Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule is the first novel to chronicle this singular relationship, bound by sight and shadow.
About the Author: Jennifer Chiaverini is The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincon’s Dressmaker, The Spymistress, Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival, and the Elm Creek Quilt series. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
Wisconsinite Gavin Schmitt, author of The Milwaukee Mafia: A Mobsters in the Heartland
Saturday March 14, at2:00 pm
Please join us for an exciting event with Wisconsinite, research enthusiast, and Images of America author, Gavin Schmitt, who will talk about and sign copies of his latest groundbreaking work, The Milwaukee Mafia: Mobsters in the Heartland, the long-awaited history drawing from thousands of police reports, nearly a million confidential FBI pages, and years of meticulous research to shed light on the dark history of Milwaukee’s criminal underworld. For more information, check out the Facebook Event page.
Milwaukee’s Sicilian underworld is something few people speak about in polite company, and even fewer people speak about with any authority. Everyone in Milwaukee has a friend of a friend who knows something, but they only have one piece of a giant puzzle. The secret society known as the Milwaukee Mafia has done an excellent job of keeping its murders, members, and mishaps out of books. Until now. From the time Vito Guardalabene arrived from Italy in the early 1900s, until the days the Mob controlled the Teamsters union, Milwaukee was a city of murder and mayhem. Gavin Schmitt relies on previously unseen police reports, FBI investigative notes, coroner’s records, newspaper articles, family lore, and more to bring to light an era of Milwaukee’s history that has been largely undocumented and shrouded in myth.
Crime historian Thomas Hunt (DiCarlo: Buffalo’s First Family of Crime) calls The Milwaukee Mafia “comprehensive and entertaining,” and “a long overdue assessment of the substantial role of Milwaukee underworld figures in the evolution of American organized crime,” and The Mob and the City author C. Alexander Hortis calls Schmitt “an excellent researcher.”
About the Author: Gavin Schmitt has been a life-long resident of Wisconsin, and has written about the Midwest’s dark history for many years. He has been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines, including Informer, and interviewed on the radio. He is the author of Images of America: Milwaukee Mafia (a pictorial companion), Images of America: Neenah, and Images of America: Kaukauna.
Local Author Phillip C. Naylor, author of North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present
Monday March 16, at 7:00 pm
Boswell is proud to welcome Marquette Professor of History and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of North African Studies, Phillip C. Naylor, for a talk and signing of the revised edition of his latest book, North Africa: A History from Antiquity to the Present, the most comprehensive history of North Africa to date, covering the Paleolithic period to the current “North African Spring” uprisings and everything in between.
North Africa has been a vital crossroads throughout history, serving as a connection between Africa, Asia, and Europe. Paradoxically, however, the region’s historical significance has been chronically underestimated. In a book that may lead scholars to reimagine the concept of Western civilization, incorporating the role North African peoples played in shaping “the West,” Phillip Naylor describes a locale whose transcultural heritage serves as a crucial hinge, politically, economically, and socially. Ideal for novices and specialists alike, North Africa begins with an acknowledgment that defining this area has presented challenges throughout history. Naylor’s survey encompasses the Paleolithic period and early Egyptian cultures, leading readers through the pharonic dynasties, the conflicts with Rome and Carthage, the rise of Islam, the growth of the Ottoman Empire, European incursions, and the postcolonial prospects for Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, and Western Sahara. Emphasizing the importance of encounters and interactions among civilizations, North Africa maps a prominent future for scholarship about this pivotal region. Now with a new afterword that surveys the “North African Spring” uprisings that roiled the region from 2011 to 2013, this is the most comprehensive history of North Africa to date, with accessible, in-depth chapters covering the pre-Islamic period through colonization and independence.
About the Author: Phillip C. Naylor is a Professor of History at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he has directed the Western Civilization program. His previous books include The Historical Dictionary of Algeria and France and Algeria: A History of Decolonization and Transformation. Professor Naylor is publications officer of the American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS) and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of North African Studies and a recipient of the Reverend John P. Raynor, S.J., Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence.
Local Author Liam Callanan, author of The Cloud Atlas, All Saints, and his latest collection Listen & Other Stories
Friday March 27, at 7:00 pm
Boswell Book Company is proud to welcome beloved local author and professor, Liam Callanan, who will read from and sign copies of his latest book, a collection of stories titled Listen & Other Stories, which has already earned rave reviews as “a wonderfully readable and hugely pleasurable collection” (Margo Livesey) of “lovely stories, indeed” (Alix Ohlin) that is “necessary and timeless” (Michael Parker).
Listen & Other Stories is a book where characters ask readers to do just that: listen to their stories, especially because many aren’t the type of people who often get listened to—even though they should be. These characters’ trials, missed connections, and sundry challenges are full of surprises—some good, some bad, some funny, some wise, and some all this at once. Even more surprising, there’s tenderness here and a lot of heart—which often gets the collection’s characters into a lot of trouble.
“Here is what makes these stories necessary and timeless: Liam Callanan’s incisive ability to render not just our desires and the choices we make to fulfill or thwart those desires, but the mystery behind those choices. These stories glow, backlit by the author’s generous and discriminating vision, his ability to contrast doubt and faith in our actions and interactions, all in the service of an abiding grace. And lest all of the above sound unduly serious, let me assure you: there is humor here of the most vital stripe, wherein halfway through your laughter you realize you’re laughing not only at the characters, but at your own foolish, if well-intentioned, ways.” —Michael Parker, author of The Watery Part of the World
“Over and over Callanan finds that moment when a character’s past, their deepest longings, their most intimate fears, emerge from the flood-waters of daily life and stand exposed. These richly imagined and beautifully written stories transport the reader from TV studios to lonely woods, from an old convent to a new gym, from war-time Alaska to the beach at Santa Monica. The result is a wonderfully readable and hugely pleasurable collection.” —Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy
About the Author: Liam Callanan is the author of the novels The Cloud Atlas, a finalist for an Edgar Award, and All Saints, a Target Bookmarked Breakout book. A frequent public radio essayist, Liam has taught at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. Born in Washington, DC, and raised in Los Angeles, he now calls Wisconsin home.