2024 Presenters

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Al Cornell
About:
AL CORNELL has a degree in natural resource management and is a retired Wisconsin DNR wildlife technician. He is a member of the Wildlife Society and has published more than two hundred articles on wildlife ecology and outdoor inspiration as well as having more than seven hundred wildlife photos appear in magazines, books, and calendars. He and his wife reside on a portion of the farm where he grew up in southwestern Wisconsin.
Melissa Faliveno
Amy Sullivan
About:

Amy C. Sullivan, PhD, teaches the U.S. history of drugs, medicine, race, gender, and childhood at Macalester College in St. Paul. Her oral-history-based research projects highlight narratives rooted in social change, community, and healing. She has worked on projects for the National Library of Medicine, the Bakken Museum, and the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. She lives in Minneapolis but fondly remembers the decade she spent living in Vernon County.

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Anneka Baird
About:
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Ben Riggs
About:

Friend to mortal, beast, and undead alike, Ben Riggs is the hard-bitten yet heroic historian of the tabletop roleplaying-game industry. His first book, Slaying the Dragon: A Secret History of Dungeons & Dragons, which was a 2022 Goodreads Award nominee, unveiled the never-before-told story of how the first company to publish D&D nearly went bankrupt due to disastrous management decisions and was saved by its bitterest rival.

Melissa Faliveno
BJ Hollars
About:

B.J. Hollars is the author of several books, most recently Wisconsin for Kennedy: The Primary That Launched a President and Changed the Course of History, the forthcoming Year of Plenty: A Family’s Season of Grief, and Go West Young Man: A Father and Son Rediscover America on the Oregon Trail. A professor and award-winning columnist, he lives and works in Eau Claire.

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Carol Dunbar
About:

Carol Dunbar is the author of the critically acclaimed novel The Net Beneath Us—winner of the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award—and A Winter’s Rime. A former actor, playwright, and coloratura soprano, she left her life in the city to live off the grid in northern Wisconsin. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the South Carolina Review, Midwestern Gothic, and on Wisconsin Public Radio.

Chad Lewis
Chad Lewis
About:

Chad Lewis is a researcher, author, and lecturer on topics of the strange and unusual. The more bizarre the legend, the more likely it is that you will find him investigating it.

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Christina Clancy
About:

Christina Clancy is the author of The Second Home, selected by booksellers for Indie Next and Indies Introduce, and Shoulder Season. Her novels have been featured on Good Morning America, Travel + Leisure, CNN, the New York Post, and elsewhere. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Sun magazine, and in various literary journals. She has a PhD in creative writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Cynthia Marie Hoffman
About:

Cynthia Marie Hoffman is the author of four collections of poetry: Exploding Head, Call Me When You Want to Talk about the Tombstones, Paper Doll Fetus, and Sightseer. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, and the Wisconsin Arts Board. Her poems have appeared in Electric Literature, the Believer, the Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Madison.

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David Shih
About:

David Shih is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Republic, the Progressive, Slate, Code Switch, Electric Literature, Literary Hub, and Inside Higher Ed, and he has appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, WPR’s The Joy Cardin Show and The Larry Meiller Show, and WNYC’s All In with Alison Stewart. He grew up in Texas and lives in Eau Claire with his family.

Melissa Faliveno
Eric Schlehlein
About:

Eric Schlehlein is an author and freelance writer who is passionate about most things Americana. He is the author of the American Civil War novels Black Iron Mercy and The Dim White Light and makes his living as a firefighter/EMT in Hartland, Wisconsin. He is married to Brenda and has three adult children, one granddaughter, and a grandson on the way.

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Gary Jones
About:

Teacher and writer Gary Jones published his memoir Ridge Stories: Herding Hens, Powdering Pigs, and Other Recollections from a Boyhood in the Driftless with the Wisconsin Historical Society Press in 2019.  He began his teaching career in 1966 at Weston High School and ended it at his alma mater, UW-Platteville in 2014, but his writing continues.  He and his wife Lu summer in Door County and winter in Platteville.

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Inga Witscher
About:

A fourth-generation dairy farmer and local-food enthusiast, Inga Witscher loves milking cows and making cheese on her small farm in Osseo, Wisconsin. When she’s not working on the farm, she is collaborating with her team to tell the stories of Wisconsin’s family farmers on her popular PBS television series Around the Farm Table.

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Kathy Kuderer
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Kevin Alderson
About:
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Credit: John Fisher

Kimberly Blaeser
About:

Kimberly Blaeser, a past Wisconsin Poet Laureate and the founding director of Indigenous Nations Poets, is the author of six poetry collections—including Ancient Light and Copper Yearning. An enrolled member of the White Earth Nation, she is an Anishinaabe activist and environmentalist. Blaeser serves as the 2024 Lois and Willard Mackey Chair in Creative Writing at Beloit College and is a Vassar College Tatlock Fellow. She is an MFA faculty member at the Institute of American Indian Arts and a professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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Larry Scheckel
About:

Larry Scheckel grew up on a family farm, attended eight years of a one-room country school, served in the military, and taught high school physics. Retired and living in Tomah, he and his wife, Ann, have published nine books and write columns for local newspapers and several magazines.

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Marty Schreiber
About:

Former Wisconsin Governor Martin J. Schreiber is an award-winning crusader for Alzheimer’s caregivers and those with dementia. Reaching audiences nationwide via live events and various forms of media, Schreiber uses humor and compassion as he shares lessons from his decade-plus journey as a caregiver. Net proceeds from his book, My Two Elaines, go to caregiver support programs. He and his wife, Elaine, who died in 2022, are the parents of four children and have thirteen grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

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Melinda Myers
About:

Nationally known gardening expert, TV and radio host, author, and columnist Melinda Myers has more than thirty-five years of horticulture experience and has written more than twenty gardening books, including the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts the Melinda’s Garden Moment radio program and How to Grow Anything DVD series. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms and hosted The Plant Doctor radio show for more than twenty years and PBS’s Great Lakes Gardener for seven seasons. More at melindamyers.com.

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Mollie Morning Star
About:

Mollie Morning Star is an evidential psychic medium who communicates validating messages from loved ones in the afterlife that reduce the pain of grieving. With a personable approach and self-effacing humor, she has hosted group events and created an online community that looks to her for daily inspiration. She lives in Kohler, Wisconsin, and has two grown children.

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Nicholas Petrie
About:

Nick Petrie is the author of eight novels in the Peter Ash series, most recently The Price You Pay. His debut, The Drifter, won both the ITW Thriller Award and the Barry Award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Edgar Award and the Hammett Prize. A husband and father, he lives in the Milwaukee area.

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Quan Barry
About:

Quan Barry is the Lorraine Hansberry Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of eight books of fiction and poetry, including the recent collection Auction, which the New York Times named one of the five best poetry books of 2023. A recipient of NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, Barry is currently Forward Theater’s first-ever writer-in-residence. The world premiere of her play, The Mytilenean Debate, was staged in spring 2022.

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Said Shaiye
About:

Said Shaiye is an autistic + ADHD Somali author, photographer, professor, and disability advocate in Minneapolis. He is a 2024 MacDowell Colony Fellow. His debut book, Are You Borg Now?, was a 2022 Minnesota Book Award Finalist in creative nonfiction and memoir. His work has appeared in the Indiana Review, the Texas Review, Obsidian, Brittle Paper, Pithead Chapel, 580 Split, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere. He teaches writing at Twin Cities community colleges and can be reached at saidshaiye.com.

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Stephen Shaskan
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Stephen Shaskan is the author and illustrator of several picture books, including Big Choo, Toad on the Road, Max Speed, The Three Triceratops Tuff, A Dog Is a Dog, and the wildly popular graphic chapter book series starring Pizza and Taco. He also illustrated the picture book Punk Skunks and the graphic novel series featuring Q and Ray, written by his wife Trisha Speed Shaskan. They live in Minneapolis.

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Steve Johnson
About:

The author of more than forty books from destination guides to children’s titles, Steve Johnson writes for National Geographic, Outside, Backpacker, and Forbes as well as partnering with national and global influencers to write their riveting stories.

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Sue Berg
About:

Sue Berg began her writing career after retiring from teaching. She has published five titles in her Driftless Mystery series set in the beautiful Driftless region of Wisconsin, and several of her books have received regional recognition. She lives in rural Viroqua with her husband, Alan.

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Tamara Dean
About:

Tamara Dean, a former Kickapoo Valley resident, writes both fiction and nonfiction. Her stories and essays have appeared in the American Scholar, Creative Nonfiction, the Georgia Review, the Guardian, One Story, Orion, the Southern Review, and other publications. Her article “Safer Than Childbirth” received a 2024 Pushcart Prize special mention and “Slow Blues” was named a 2021 National Magazine Award finalist. Her essay collection, Shelter and Storm, is forthcoming in 2025. More online at tamaradean.media.

McIntosh Memorial Library

 

205 South Rock Avenue, Viroqua, Wisconsin

 

(608) 637-7151 Ext. 8