Monthly Archives: June 2015

Green Bay Children’s Author Features Diversity

Miranda Paul has already made a name for herself in the world of children’s book publishing. Her One Plastic Bag, published in February, was named a Junior Library Guild Selection and received great reviews by Kirkus Review, The Horn Book, School Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly. She’s the Executive VP of Outreach for We Need Diverse Books™ (, administrator of, a site for aspiring writers, was the cover story of Women Magazine‘s January issue, and is the new co-Regional Adviser of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Wisconsin chapter.

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Now comes word that The School Library Journal has put Miranda’s new book, Water is Water, on its Summer Prediction for Caldecott/Newbery- award list.

These two picture books help children understand environment issues facing the world.

Learn more about Wisconsin writers at the Council for Wisconsin Writers website Membership information is at

The Council receives no state or other public funding, but relies on private contributions and member fees to carry out its mission.


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Author Following in Father’s Footsteps

They were both at Milwaukee’s Boswell Book Company Monday night. Former Madison resident Andrew Maraniss, now of Nashville, Tenn., talked about the genesis, development and subject of his book, Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and and Sports in the South.

Among the nearly fifty people who had come to hear him was longtime and Pulitizer Prize-winning Washington Post journalist and author of 12 books, David Maraniss. Maraniss, the elder, was once a full-time and is now a part-time Madison resident.

Inside Strong, published in December by Vanderbilt University Press, received an RFK “Special Recognition” Award last month — Maraniss was notified by Robert Kennedy’s widow Ethel Kennedy herself.

Folks in Madison will have an opportunity to hear both son and father tomorrow (Wednesday, June 24) at HotelRED, 1501 Monroe St. at 7 p.m. David Maraniss will join Andrew in conversation at an event sponsored by Mystery to Me booksellers to discuss Inside Strong.

And just who is Perry Wallace? Andrew not only acknowledges that most people don’t know. Indeed, when he asked the group at Boswell who had ever heard of him before they learned about his book, no hands went up. The same is true when he talks to high school students. 

Perry Wallace was a trail blazing pioneer. He was the first American of African descent to play on a Southeast Conference basketball team. He was to college basketball in the South what Jackie Robinson was to major league baseball.

He spent his four-year college career pretty much shunned by classmates and faculty and, even though he was a member of the basketball team, he found neither support nor encouragement from his fellow players. Once he graduated, Wallace left his native Nashville and after a brief stint in professional basketball, earned a law degree at Columbia University and is now a law professor at the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C.

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Sailboat (mis)Adventures is Subject of Honor Book

Among the many excellent writers recognized by the Council for Wisconsin Writers at its awards luncheon in May was Tom Pamperin. Tom received  a Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award honorable mention for his book, Jagular Goes Everywhere: (mis)Adventures in a $300 Sailboat [Cedar Street Press]

Following is an except of Tom’s book:

Some weeks later—never mind how long precisely— having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.

“I see you’ve been to the library again,” Jagular says.

“Nonsense,” I tell him. “I’m done with all that for now. It’s time to go off into the world and see what there is to be seen, do what there is to be done. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation.”

“What does that even mean?”

I stop for a moment and look around. The lawn needs another mowing. The door to the carriage house or garage or whatever it is has fallen off again. The walls are buckling and the whole structure is sinking slowly into the ground. The house isn’t much better. Roof. Windows. Furnace. Floors.  Everything falling into ruin.

“It means Thoreau was right when he wrote that the trappings of domesticity are more easily acquired than got rid of,” I say. “So, with a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.”

“You might be better off throwing yourself on your sword,” the boat says.

More about Tom and his book is at

Information about CWW, its annual contests and the winners for work published in 2014 is at

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Sections from 2014 CWW Poetry Book Award Winner

Madison resident Sean Bishop, winner of the Council for Wisconsin Writers’ 2014 Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award, reads from his book of poems, The Night We’re Not Sleeping In (Sarabande Books) at the CWW Awards Luncheon in May. Below are the two poems he read.


Here’s to killing. Here’s to screeching
rubber-burned through happy standers-by,
to the bomb like a small sun
born above the city. Here’s to murder,

manslaughter, the lexicon of –cides: where Cain
slinks back from the lamb-specked pasture,
a prince goes epileptic over bitter wine, or a boy
drops the gun by his wound-bleached mother.

Here’s to the noose, to the mortar, to the spear
so patient in its palm-draped pit,
to the death ray arriving from a distant planet
to melt the trees into brownish scum. Friends,

here’s to killing—not because it’s fun,
but because the days fill up with static,
because the limbs go numb from sitting,
because anyway we can’t run

from the inside-out gas creeping through the city
or the tumors that swallow our bowels as we sleep—
because, at last, we must succumb. And so
we have a duty: To break. To bleed. To go

quietly dumb in our book-lined studies
or cough ’til our lungs give up their longing.
Which is to say, we must receive.
So here’s to giving.



The way the anglerfish might rather be
just the light it hangs in the Atlantic night,

or the moon might want to live as only
the cloistered stones adored by NASA,

today in this inner-life dusk I’d like
to become a smaller, simpler portion of myself.

Pretty soon now the day will dim down
to its little black dress and slink toward darker needs,

lurching high-heeled with a cruel thug ’til dawn
and smashing all the neighbors’ windows.

For once, dear bitterness, I think I’d like
not to forgive it, exactly, but at least allow its fact—

the way the girl burned by the bombings learns
to live only among her basic beauties,

and not the way the pilot opening the hatch
inhabited entirely the motive for the war.

What today wants, maybe, is no part of itself
at all, but the idea of its dayness,

like the couple in bed who want so much
to be for an hour the space they’ve built between them.

How every atom envies light.
How the moon, now that I think of it,

might rather be the golf ball abandoned on its surface,
or one just like it: a dimpled concept of itself

the people of Earth can hold and consider,
so it might feel at last what I

am feeling for you right now,
secret reader.

Here’s a link to Sean’s book:

Congratulations to Sean. More information about CWW and its annual contests is at

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Short Story Places First

Thanks to fellow writer and CWW Tofte/Wright Children’s Literature contest honorable mention and former first-place winner Janet Halfmann for writing this article.

SM Author Jerrianne Hayslett’s Short Story Wins First-Place Prize


Hayslett serves on the CWW Board of Directors and author of the award-winning book, Anatomy of a Trial.

Learn more about CWW and its mission at


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Animals Teach in CWW Honor Book

Among the many truly superb writers in Wisconsin are those whose works were recognized by receiving honor mentions in the Council for Wisconsin Writers 2014 contests.

Below is publisher Blue Apple’s summary of Toffte/Wright Childrens Literature honorable mention winner Animal Teacher by Janet Halffmann. Below that is the cover and first four pages of the book, which also is an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio 2014 Gold Seal Best Book Award winner:

How Do Animals Learn To Swim, Fish, Box, Or Build?

In the forest, in the pond, in caves, prairies, and jungles, in all the world’s outdoor “classrooms,” baby animals are…learning! They are taking lessons on how to be an expert swimmer, alarm-sounder, racer-chaser, or hide-and-seeker. They don’t have books, or desks, or computers. But they do have teachers!
With clear, graceful prose and striking illustrations,  Animal Teachers showcases the teacher-student dynamic between adult and young animals as they are taught crucial skills needed to handle daily challenges.
An entertaining combination of science and storytelling, this instructive title presents skills that a dozen different young animals have to learn.
Will the animals earn an “A”for their efforts? No!
But a banana or a good hiding place might be even better!

More information about Janet, Animal Teachers and her other books is at









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CWW Board Member Wins Poetry Award

Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine announced today that Council for Wisconsin Writers board member Lisa Vihos of Sheboygan, Sean Avery of Madison and Kathleen Dale of Milwaukee are winners of the magazine’s 2015 Poetry Contest. Vihos took first place for her “Lessons at the Checkpoint,” Avery’s “Prayer ( Song ) for Magic,” placed second, and Dale won third place for her “The Self-organizing Universal Nail Salon,”  In addition, Vihos and Dale received honorable mentions for other poems they entered in the contest.  Here is the WP&I  news release:

Congratulations to the Winners of the
Wisconsin People & Ideas 2015 Poetry Contest
Winners of the 2015 Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry Contest receive cash awards of $500 (first place), $250 (second place), and $100 (third place). The first-place author also receives a one-week artist residency at Shake Rag Alley School for Arts and Crafts in Mineral Point, and all three award-winning poets will read at the 2015 Wisconsin Book Festival in Madison and will have their prizewinning poems (and one other, selected by the editor) appear in Wisconsin People & Ideasmagazine.
Our 2015 contest honorable mention poems and poets:
  • “Hooked,” by Sharon Foley—Whitefish Bay
  • “Annunciation,” by Lisa Vihos—Sheboygan
  • “Neighbors,” by Jeri McCormick—Madison
  • “Sand County,” by Jessi Peterson—Eau Claire
  • “What Remains,” by John Pidgeon—Green Bay
  • “Let’s Intuit Something,” by Jess Williard—Madison
  • “Some People,” by Molly Murphy–Madison
  • “A Few Miles Outside Warroad, Several Weeks Before the Fall,” by Christine Holm—Oconomowoc
  • “We Were Wrong, But Were Given Five Ruins to Consider for Winter,” by Christine Holm—Oconomowoc
  • “Homeless in August,” by Kathleen Dale—Milwaukee
Wisconsin People & Ideas publishes fiction and poetry from Wisconsin writers, highlights new works from our visual artists and photographers, and covers science and environmental issues that affect Wisconsin’s people, lands, and waters. The magazine hosts annual fiction and poetry contests that award cash prizes up to $500, publication in the magazine, and a reading at the Wisconsin Book Festival, and more.  Since 1954, the independentWisconsin People & Ideas magazine has been a trusted resource for people who care about the issues and ideas that shape life in Wisconsin. Wisconsin People & Ideas is available at Wisconsin Academy events and exhibitions as well as selected bookstores, and is delivered quarterly to Wisconsin Academy members and libraries across the state.
This year the poetry contest lead judge is Kara Candito (right). The 2015 contest was coordinated by Jason A. Smith, editor, Wisconsin People & Ideas, and the preliminary judges were John Lehman, Zachary Carlson, and CX Dillhunt . The contest received 568 poem submissions from across the state of Wisconsin. All judging was done blindly and ranking was done solely on the merit of individual stories in the opinion of our judges.
Thank you to everyone who submitted their work to the 2015 poetry contest. Your participation is what has made this contest one of the best showcases for Wisconsin poets for over twenty years. Look for the first- through third-place poems to appear in the forthcoming spring/summer double issue of  Wisconsin People & Ideas . Honorable mention poems will appear in subsequent issues of the magazine, beginning with the Fall 2015 issue. Congratulations to all our winners and honorable mention poets—and keep on writing!
Wisconsin People & Ideas thanks lead and preliminary judges for volunteering their time and efforts to the 2015 contest, and extends a special thanks to 2015 contest sponsors Shake Rag Alley School for Arts and Crafts in Mineral Point for donating a weeklong artist residency for the first-place winner, the Wisconsin Book Festival for hosting our contest winners’ reading, and Wisconsin Public Radio for promotional support. More information on the contest, prizes, and sponsors can be found at
Thanks to our contest sponsors!
Wisconsin People & Ideas  l  1922 University Avenue  l  Madison, WI  53726  l  608.263.1692

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