Recently in Author Talks Category

Meet Sue Monk Kidd @ Centennial Hall

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Sue Monk Kidd (C) Roland Scarpa.jpgSue Monk Kidd is the award-winning and bestselling author of the novels The Secret Life of Bees and The Mermaid Chair. Her newest novel, The Invention of Wings, is about two unforgettable women, a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world. This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at one of the most devastating wounds in American history, through characters whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

Books will be available for sale. A book signing follows the event sponsored by Boswell Book Company.

Date: Monday, February 10th, 2014
Time: 7:00 PM. Doors open at 6:30 PM.
Location: Centennial Hall 733 N Eighth St.

5 Questions for Author Reyna Grande

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1-Reyna-Grande.jpgAuthor Reyna Grande is visiting Central Library this Saturday for a special reading from her memoir, The Distance Between Us. To get to know her better, we asked Reyna 5 questions. A big thank you to Reyna for answering our questions!

1. What inspired you to become a writer?

Stories have always been a way for me to understand the world around me. When I was a little girl in Mexico, we didn't have a television, but we had a radio, and in the evenings I would listen to story time. Usually, the stories were fairy tales, and I remember how much those fairy tales helped me to make sense of what was going on around me. For example, while I was in Mexico as a little girl, my parents were in the U.S. working, trying to make enough money to build us a brick house in Mexico. For a long time I didn't understand why my parents were 2,000 miles away from me just because they wanted to build us a brick house. But then I heard the story of the Three Little Pigs in the radio one day, and I remember how much it impacted me. You see, the first two pigs that got eaten by the big, bad wolf were the ones that lived in shacks made of sticks, like the one I lived in. But the pig that survived the big, bad wolf was the one that lived in a brick house. It was then when I understood my parents' dream, and what that house actually meant for them.

I started writing when I was 13 years old, and I have never stopped writing since. Writing has been my salvation. Writing has been my way of expressing the way I feel about issues that are important to me, such as immigration. Through the stories I tell, I want to help others understand the world around them.

2. Can you tell us about your writing process? How do you approach writing a novel?

I am the kind of writer that doesn't have a routine. I write when I want to, whenever I want to, wherever I want to. Because I travel so much, I have learned to write just about anywhere at any time. I write at airports, airplanes, hotel rooms. I write when my kids are at school. I write when my kids are asleep. As a mother, it is hard to juggle my career with my family life but I do the best I can. The way I approach my novels is this: If I have an interesting character with an interesting premise, I start writing. I don't need to know how it's going to end. I don't need to know what the middle section is going to be. I just need to know what the basic idea is and I throw myself into the writing. I discover my characters as I go. And most of the time the idea I start out with isn't the final idea I end up writing about. I discover the story as I go along. Sometimes my character wants to go in another direction and I follow her. Because I am a perfectionist, I do many, many drafts of my book before I'm satisfied.

Even once the book is going through the publication process, I will still make changes, rewrite, cut and delete sentences, paragraphs, scenes, etc... When I write I give 100 percent of myself to my story. Which means that a lot of times I don't know what's going on in the "real" world because I am so immersed in the world that I am creating it's hard for me to pull out of it. That can be a good thing and a bad thing!

3. Who are some of your favorite authors? What book or books have had a strong influence on you or your writing?

I like all kinds of books. but I especially love books with beautiful lyrical writing, such as The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, The Prophet by Khalil Gibran, Caspian Rain by Gina B. Nahai, Mother Tongue by Demetria Martinez, The Autobiography of my Mother by Jamaica Kincaid, A Country Called Home by Kim Barnes, among others.

4. Your first two books were works of fiction, but your most recent, The Distance Between Us, is a memoir. When and why did you decide to write The Distance Between Us? What was it like to write about your past?

My fiction is very autobiographical, but because it is fiction, it is easier to write. I write about very painful stuff, and in fiction I get to create a character to stand in for me, so when the writing gets tough, I tell myself, "this is happening to my character, not to me," and that helps me to break through that wall of pain. When I wrote the memoir, I obviously couldn't do that. I was writing about myself, and every time I sat down to write it was the equivalent of cutting my wrists opened and bleeding all over my computer. There were many times when I almost gave up on the memoir. But when I finished I felt so free, so liberated from all the emotional baggage I had been carrying inside me for years and years.

I decided to write The Distance Between Us because I wanted people who don't know much about immigration to see how complex immigration is and how it affects the entire family unit, not just the immigrants who come here but the family that stays behind. My story puts a human face on an issue that most of the time people see it only as political.

5. What's next for you?

I am writing a young adult novel and I'm a fourth of the way into a novel for adults. They both deal with the immigrant experience in a way, though that isn't the focus of the story. I would love to say what the books are about, but because my stories tend to change as I write them I won't know what they are really going to be about until I finish them!

4-Reyna-Grande.jpgAward winning author and memoirist Reyna Grande will visit Central Library on Saturday, July 13th at 2:00 p.m. for a special reading from her recent memoir, The Distance Between Us, an inspirational coming-of-age story about the pursuit of a better life.

Reyna's first novel, Across a Hundred Mountains, (Atria, 2006), received a 2010 Latino Books Into Movies Award, a 2007 American Book Award, and the 2006 El Premio Aztlán Literary Award. Her second novel, Dancing with Butterflies (Washington Square Press, 2009) was critically acclaimed and was the recipient of a 2010 International Latino Book Awards. The Distance Between Us (Atria, 2012) is a National Book Circle Critics Award finalist.

You can see Reyna in the Mozart's Grove area (see the highlighted portion of the library floor plan below) of Central Library, Saturday, July 13th at 2 p.m.


UFOs and Government at the Central Library

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The phenomenon of UFOs isn't just the subject of Milwaukee Public Library's extensive science fiction collection. We here at the library would like to invite you for a special presentation by local author Richard Thieme on his co-authored book UFOs and Government: An Historical Inquiry. Richard will be presenting all about the real government reaction to UFO sightings and incidents on Saturday, April 27th at 1:00 pm. Seating is limited, so please reserve a seat by either calling the library at 286-3011 or by registering online.

Location: Richard E. and Lucile Krug Rare Books Room, Central Library
Date: Saturday, April 27, 2013
Time: 1:00 pm. Presentation Will Last Approximately 1 Hour, followed by Q&A.

Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses

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Historic_Milwaukee_Public_Schoolhouses.jpgJoin local author Robert Tanzilo as he discusses his new book Historic Milwaukee Public Schoolhouses.

Date: Sunday, April 21
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: Central Library, Meeting Room 1, 814 W. Wisconsin Ave.

It's no surprise we feel a connection to our schools, where we learn to read, write and forge social bonds of all kinds. They are potentially the scenes of our first crushes (and the second and third). They are where we learn to create ourselves. For more than a century, Milwaukee has taken its schoolhouses seriously, and it has a matchless variety of gorgeous landmarks to prove it.

Robert Tanzilo pays homage to some long-lost schools, salutes veteran survivors, and examines the roles they play in their neighborhoods. Learn a little about some remarkable Milwaukee architects and see what the future may hold for some of the city's most beloved old buildings.

Sponsored by Milwaukee Public Library and Boswell Book Company.

Street parking is free on Sundays at Central Library.

Come Meet Zane @ Centennial Hall This Wednesday!

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index_zane.gifZane, bestselling author, editor and publisher of urban fiction, will talk about her latest book, Z-Rated: Chocolate Flava 3, the third installment in Zane's New York Times bestselling series. Zane is the author and editor of dozens of titles and is the publisher of Strebor Books. Her television series, Zane's Sex Chronicles, is broadcast on Cinemax and her bestselling novel, Addicted, has been adapted for a major motion picture. She lives in the Washington, DC, area with her family. Her popular website is

Doors will open at 6 p.m. Book sales and signing will follow the program. Parking meters are free after 6 p.m. Sponsored by Boswell Book Company. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

Date: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Time: 6:30 P.M. to 8 P.M.
Location: Centennial Hall of the Milwaukee Public Library

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Vanderbilt Cup Grand Auto Races of 1912

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Are you an auto racing enthusiast? 2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the historic Vanderbilt Cup and Grand Prix races in Milwaukee. "Milwaukee's Speed Carnival" was an international road race run on country roads just northwest of Milwaukee's city limits.

Come celebrate this historic event with John Haydon, auto and racing enthusiast and author of Historic Road Racing in Milwaukee: The 1912 Vanderbilt Cup, Grand Prize and Related Road Races. The event will be held on Tuesday, June 12 from 6:30 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. in the Krug Rare Books Room in the Central Public Library.

Seating is limited, please call 414.286.3011 to register.

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