Book Festival brings writers to Appleton

Caitlin Williamson

The First Annual Fox Cities Book Festival will be held April 16-20, coinciding with National Library Week and National Poetry Month. The festival will feature events with over 40 local, regional and national authors, as well as a book fair.
Some of the authors include Charles Baxter, author of “The Feast of Love,” Billy Collins, US Poet Laureate 2001-2003, Alex Flinn, author of “Breathing Underwater,” and Alice Hoffman, author of “Here on Earth,” featured on Oprah’s Book Club.
Several Lawrence professors will be speaking, including Marcia Bjornerud, Professor of Geology, Tim Spurgin, Associate Professor of English, and David McGlynn, Assistant Professor of English.
The events will be held at a variety of different places in the Fox Cities, including Lawrence University’s Memorial Chapel, Harmony Café, and the Appleton, Kaukauna and Neenah Public Libraries, as well as other locations in the area. For a complete listing of all of the events and locations, please visit
Ellen Kort, Wisconsin’s Poet Laureate 2000-2004, and co-chairperson of the event, came up with the idea for a book festival while serving as Poet Laureate.
Kort said that the inspiration for the book festival “goes back a little ways — I served four years as Wisconsin’s first Poet Laureate, and during those years, I thought, ‘Madison has had several book festivals, and so has Milwaukee, and it’s time that the Fox Cities has one.'”
Kort noted that her vision for the book festival came from her hopes to connect readers and writers together and to celebrate the literary arts.
“I hope not only that it’s going to be a great event that people are going to be excited about, but also that it will encourage people to read,” Kort said.
“We hear about how people aren’t going to read books anymore, it’s going to be all technology — but I don’t think that’s true. What I’m finding from the people being excited about the book festival is that people enjoy holding a book in their hand.”
Kort also believes that the book festival will help bring the Fox Cities community together. There is a wide variety of authors, and there is something at the festival for everyone, children and adults alike.
“A lot of people have helped fund it and it has a community feel to it,” Kort said.