Featured Authors

Dasha Kelly Hamilton

Dasha Kelly Hamilton

Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist, and creative change agent who is the author of two novels, three poetry collections, four spoken word albums, and one collection of personal vignettes. An Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy, she has facilitated community building initiatives in Botswana, Toronto, Mauritius, and Beirut. Her touring production, Makin’ Cake, uniquely engages communities in a forward dialogue on race, class, and equity.

Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang

Kao Kalia Yang is the prize-winning Hmong-American author of the memoirs The Latehomecomer, The Song Poet, and Somewhere in the Unknown World. Yang is also the author of the children’s books A Map into the World, The Shared Room, The Most Beautiful Thing, and Yang Warriors. Her work has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Book Critics Circle Award and many others. She lives in Minnesota with her family, and teaches and speaks across the nation.

Melissa Faliveno

Melissa Faliveno

Melissa Faliveno is the author of the essay collection Tomboyland, named a Best Book of 2020 by NPR, New York Public Library, and O, The Oprah Magazine and a recipient of a 2021 Award for Outstanding Literary Achievement from the Wisconsin Library Association. Her work has appeared in EsquireParis ReviewBitchLit HubBrooklyn Rail, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She is currently an assistant professor of English at Denison University and is on the MFA faculty at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.


Liv Marit Haakenstad, AG®

Liv Marit Haakenstad, AG® is a well-known author, speaker, and genealogist who has more than forty years of experience with classic genealogy, heir research, and forensic genealogy. A resident of Hamar, Norway, she offers lectures, workshops, seminars, and tours that bring descendants to their family homesteads in Norway. Haakenstad has written more than one hundred articles on Norwegian emigration and genealogy technology, and ten books on Norwegian genealogy.

Benjamin Percy

Benjamin Percy

Benjamin Percy is the award-winning author of six novels—most recently, The Unfamiliar Garden—three story collections—including Suicide Woods—and Thrill Me, a collection of essays that is widely taught in creative writing classrooms. He co-wrote the feature film Summering and writes Wolverine, X-Force, and Ghost Rider for Marvel Comics; and his work has appeared in Esquire, GQ, Time, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He has also has lectured at Harvard and taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Margi Preus

Margi Preus

Margi Preus is the author of the Newbery Honor book Heart of a Samurai and other books for young readers, including the Minnesota Book Award–winning West of the Moon and The Clue in the Trees, which won a Midwest Booksellers Choice Award. The creator of the Enchantment Lake mystery series, Margi enjoys traveling, speaking, and visiting schools all over the world. Now mostly at home in Duluth, she likes to ski, hike, kayak, or sit quietly with a book in her lap.


Chad Lewis

Chad Lewis

Chad Lewis is a researcher, author, and lecturer on topics of the strange and unusual. Lewis’s background is in the field of Psychology as he did both his Bachelor and Master degree work in the field- but for nearly 30 years he has traveled the globe in search of unique and bizarre stories and history.

Angie Trudell

Angela Trudell Vasquez

Angela (Angie) Trudell Vasquez is the current city of Madison Poet Laureate (2020-2024) and the first Latina to hold the position. Angie received her MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts in 2017. Recently, her poems have appeared in The Slow Down, Yellow Medicine Review, Poem-a-Day, About Place Journal and in several anthologies. In 2018 she was a finalist for the New Women’s Voices series and her collection, In Light, Always Light, was published by Finishing Line Press in May 2019. Finishing Line Press also published her fourth collection of poetry, My People Redux, in January 2022. In the summer of 2021 she became a Macondo Fellow or a Macondista. angietrudellvasquez.com


Eric Dregni

Eric Dregni is the author of 20 books including Vikings in the Attic, Weird Minnesota, Never Trust a Thin Cook, Let’s Go Fishing!, For the Love of Cod, and Impossible Road Trip. He wrote about his 15-year experience running one of the Concordia Language Villages in You’re Sending Me Where? Dispatches from Summer Camp. As a Fulbright fellow to Norway, he survived a dinner of rakfisk (fermented fish) thanks to 80-proof aquavit, took the “meat bus” to Sweden for cheap salami with a busload of knitting pensioners, and compiled the stories in In Cod We Trust: Living the Norwegian Dream.

He is Professor of English, Journalism, & Italian at Concordia St. Paul and, in the summer, dean of the Italian Concordia Language Village, Lago del Bosco. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three kids.

Franciszka Voeltz

Franciszka Voeltz

Franciszka Voeltz writes poems to go on a portable typewriter for magnificent strangers, and has been facilitating community writing events and workshops for 20 years.

Voeltz’s chapbook 8 August is available from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, and their work has appeared in journals including Dark Mountain, Analecta Literary Journal, and Adrienne. Voeltz is the recipient of multiple poetry fellowships including those granted by the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Santa Fe Art Institute, and Art Farm. Voeltz earned an MFA in Writing from the University of California, San Diego

John Armbruster

John Armbruster

John Armbruster grew up in a small town outside Marshfield, Wisconsin.

After he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a journalism degree, he began his career writing for a public radio program, and later, two Wisconsin newspapers: the La Crosse Tribune and the Marshfield News-Herald.

John returned to UW-Madison and earned a degree in secondary education-social studies, and later, a master’s in education from Viterbo University. Since 1993, John has taught high school and middle school social studies courses. He currently teaches at the Westby School District.

John has two sons: Matthew, a police officer in Madison, and Joe, a student at UW-Madison studying wildlife ecology.

Tailspin is John’s first book.

Nikki Wallschlaeger

Nikki Wallschlaeger

Níkki Wallschlaeger is the author of 3 books of poetry and numerous chapbooks. Her recent book is Waterbaby (Copper Canyon Press, 2021). She recently held a Visiting Associate Professorship in Poetry at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop from 2021/2022 academic school year. Her next book of poetry, Hold Your Own is forthcoming in 2024 also from Copper Canyon Press. She lives in the Driftless.


Matt Cashion

Matt Cashion’s story collection, Last Words of the Holy Ghost, won the 2015 Katherine Anne Porter Prize for short fiction, and his novel Our Thirteenth Divorce won the 2017 Edna Ferber Book Prize. A former journalist, bartender, piano mover, and third-shift convenience store clerk, he earned a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Oregon, and since 2006 has enjoyed hiking, biking, skiing, snow-shoeing, kayaking, and running through the beautiful Driftless region of western Wisconsin, where he’s happy to have a job as Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. (mattcashion.com)


J Ryan Stradal

J Ryan Stradal is from a small town in southeastern Minnesota, used to produce TV shows (Deadliest Catch, Storage Wars, Ice Road Truckers) and because of his mom’s influence, he’s been a writer his whole life. His debut novel, Kitchens of the Great Midwest, was a New York Times bestseller, and his follow-up, The Lager Queen of Minnesota, was a national bestseller.


Bao Xiong

Bao Xiong is the founder of Moth House Press, an indie publishing house focused on dark genres, folklore, non-traditional, and female lead stories. Bao was born in Thailand in a refugee camp. Her family, like many Hmong families from Laos, were involved in the Secret War during the Vietnam War. They migrated to the U.S. in the late ’80s. She majored in Visual Communications and pursues a career in literature, media, and theatre.

Pao Lor

Dr. Pao Lor

Pao Lor, author of Modern Jungles, is Wood Baer Professor of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Prior to joining UW-Green Bay in 2005, Pao was a middle and high school administrator and teacher, high school and college soccer head coach, and university academic advisor. He resides in Kimberly, Wisconsin and enjoys time with his family and friends, traveling, biking, motorcycling, and playing soccer.


Jane Schmidt

With over 45 years experience in the fitness industry, Jane owns and operates Fitness Choices from her home in rural Viola, Wisconsin. The focus of her work is to help women overcome obstacles to maintain healthy habits for life. Her award-winning column, “Jane’s World,” appears weekly in the Crawford County Independent & Kickapoo Scout newspaper. Jane’s books include two essay collections, Not a Perfect Fit and Thunderstorms & Tiny Turtles, as well
as a series of books for children written in collaboration with her rat terrier mix, Finnegan. When not working, she enjoys hiking, biking, backpacking, and spending time with her critters.

McIntosh Memorial Library


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