Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books

I first attended the SEWI Festival of Books in the fall of 2011. Over thirty years of teaching before this, my life revolved around young children and good books. I loved taking my students and my young son to imaginary worlds, learning about people and places, giggling at poems by Shel Silverstein and even curling up with a variety of genres myself in the evenings when I wasn’t busy planning or correcting student work. The summer before my retirement, I joined a workshop group to dip my toes in the waters of the writing community. I loved meeting published authors and other aspiring writers, honing my own craft and encouraging others. I found out about this free festival, right in town, where my writing teacher, Kathie Giorgio, would be discussing her own first novel, The Home for Wayward Clocks. I went to check it out. And I never looked back.

I walked wide-eyed through the halls, lined with tables of books, and listened to authors talking about their inspiration. The program brochure was filled with author panels comprised of various genres, and panels devoted to topics of interest to writers as well. Every time slot had more than one program I would have liked to attend. I listened to Kathie read from her new book. I felt her love for the characters and her pride at bringing them to life through her words. I talked with writers I knew from my class and met many more, most from right here in our corner of the state. I returned home with a pile books to read and to give as holiday gifts. But I returned with so much more: a joyful heart and the realization that I wanted to be a part of this world, the world of writers, readers, and books. For the past several years, in addition to pursuing my dream of writing, I’ve volunteered on the SEWI Festival of Books Program Committee, helping to plan festival programs, and to arrange author visits from festival authors to area middle school and high school classes.

Join us on Friday, Nov. 5th for a 7:00 pm Keynote Presentation by Elizabeth Berg. Register now!

This year, like last, will be held virtually. On Saturday, Nov. 6th, you can pop in at four different time slots between 10 am and 4:30 pm to see Author Panels featuring novelists, poets, memoir writers and writers of non-fiction discussing topics of Our Own Wisconsin, History, Travel, and Environment. Register for Author Panels here. Sessions will also be available for aspiring writers on topics of crossing over genres from memoir to poetry, using symbolism, writing memoir honestly with difficult subjects, and published authors of all ages. These sessions, sponsored by AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop. will be moderated by founder and owner, Kathie Giorgio. Register for AllWriters’ Panels here.

Author Jim Landwehr and I will be joining Kathie Giorgio at 10:00 am on Saturday, Nov. 6th for a panel discussion, Poetry: From Memories to Lyricism. You’ll hear how we both started writing memoir, became interested in poetry as well, and ended up publishing both. Jim has written several touching memoirs as well as excellent collections of poetry. I hope you’ll be able to join us virtually to meet him and to hear about our writing journeys. Register here if you can make it.

The SEWI Festival of Books is a contribution to the community through the UWM Waukesha Foundation, a charitable organization founded over fifty years ago. The foundation’s mission is “to support the campus and the academic activities of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha by raising, receiving, and distributing funds to benefit and assist the students, faculty, programs and community partners.”

Hope to see you there!

Blessings, Barb

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