Monday, April 29, 2019

Weekly event blog: poet Stephen Anderson, Anna Quindlen in conversation with Carole E Barrowman at the Sharon Lynn Wilson Center, Diane Guerrero at UWM, Louis Bayard at Boswell, Best of the Undergraduate Writers, mystery novelist Jeffrey Siger, Bailey-the-cat-companion Erin Merryn, Jennifer Robson at the Lynden

Here's what's going on at Boswell this week:

Monday, April 29, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Stephen Anderson, author of The Dream Angel Plays the Cello

Prize-winning Milwaukee poet Stephen Anderson visits Boswell with his new collection of poetry, The Dream Angel Plays the Cello.

Anderson has traveled widely, taking notes, gathering landscapes and images, and his poetry reflects his travels to Europe and the Caribbean, his time spent in residence abroad as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Chile, and a university lecturer in London. Lyrical and often ekphrastic, in his poems you will find Isadora Duncan, Winslow Homer, Wim Venders, Mozart and Lorca, all challenging the current political myopia, offering cultural critique, and turning back to reminiscence on time passing.

Stephen Anderson spoke to Mitch Teich at Lake Effect, where he read a few poems and talked about his work, his inspirations, and significance in the mundane.

Stephen Anderson is a Milwaukee poet and author of Montezuma Resurrected And Other Poems, Navigating in the Sun, and In The Garden Of Angels And Demons. His work has appeared in Southwest Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Verse Wisconsin.

Tuesday, April 30, 7:00 pm, at Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, 19805 W Capitol Dr, in Brookfield's Mitchell Park:
A ticketed event with Anna Quindlen, author of Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting, in conversation with Carole E Barrowman

The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts, Oconomowoc's Books and Company, and Milwaukee's Boswell Book Company present a grand evening with Anna Quindlen, the acclaimed novelist and journalist known for her candid, frank, and illuminating writing. She’s now appearing for Nanaville: Adventures in Grandparenting, a bighearted book of wisdom, wit, and insight, celebrating the love and joy of being a grandmother.

Tickets are $31 and include admission to the event, all taxes and fees, and a copy of Nanaville, available at

Before blogs even existed, Anna Quindlen became a go-to writer on the joys and challenges of family, motherhood, and modern life, in her nationally syndicated column. Now she’s taking the next step and going full nana in the pages of this lively, beautiful, and moving book about being a grandmother. Quindlen offers thoughtful and telling observations about her new role, no longer mother and decision-maker, but secondary character and support to the parents of her grandson. She writes, “Where I once led, I have to learn to follow. Eventually a close friend provides words to live by: Did they ask you?”

Everything you love about Anna Quindlen is here in this special new book - her singular voice has never been sharper or warmer. With the same insights she brought to motherhood in Living Out Loud and to growing older in Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, this new nana uses her own experiences to illuminate those of many others. Helen McAlpin reviews Nanaville on NPR.

Anna Quindlen has written nine novels, including Object Lessons, One True Thing, and Alternate Side. She received the Pulitzer Prize for her work as a columnist at The New York Times. Carole E Barrowman is Director of Creative Writing Studies at Alverno college. She hosts the Morning Blend's book segment and writes a periodic mystery column for Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and with her brother John is coauthor of the Hollow Earth series.

Bonus alert - Wednesday, May 1, 7:00 pm, at UWM Union Wisconsin Room, 2200 E Kenwood Blvd:
Diane Guerrero, author of In the Country We Love: My Family Divided and the memoir for kids, My Family Divided: One Girl's Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope.

The Distinguished Lecture Series and Organizing for Change presents Diane Guerrero, an outspoken advocate for comprehensive immigration reform. In her memoir, In the Country We Love, she details her life as the citizen-daughter of undocumented parents and her long struggle dealing with the consequences of the broken immigration system. Guerrero will speak at UWM about her personal story of how she transformed her terrible situation into a platform for advocacy and activism.

Guerrero is best known for her role as Maritza Ramos in the award-winning, Emmy and Golden Globe nominated Netflix series, Orange is the New Black, as well as roles in Jane the Virgin and Lina. She also has worked with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the New American Leaders Project, Mi Familia Vota, and was named an Ambassador for Citizenship and Naturalization by the White House.

Advance tickets are available to the general public on Eventbrite for $10, or you can buy at the door for $12.

Thursday, May 2, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Louis Bayard, author of Courting Mr. Lincoln

The prizewinning author of Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye comes to Boswell with Courting Mr. Lincoln, the surprising novel of a young Abraham Lincoln and the two people who loved him best: a sparky, marriageable Mary Todd and Lincoln’s best friend, Joshua Speed. Boswellians Jane Glaser and Kay Wosewick are fans of this novel.

Carol Memmott writes in The Pioneer Post: "Lincoln is the novel’s anchor, but Speed is its most intriguing character. In a scene in which now-President Lincoln and Speed meet 20 years after the bulk of this novel takes place, the men make polite conversation until Lincoln plops himself down on Speed’s hotel bed and promptly falls asleep. Speed lies next to him and does the same. When they awake, Speed looks into Lincoln’s face and notices 'the same downturn of lip and residues of salt, like tracks across a desert. Why, he thought, it was like watching a heart break twice over.'"

And here's Kay's take: "Mary Todd arrives at her sister’s home in Springfield, Ill. with the reluctant understanding that she is to find herself a suitable husband. A prominent town hostess applies a touch of subterfuge to help bring about the improbable courtship of Mary and Abraham Lincoln. Their courtship rapidly runs the gamut from hesitant to glorious to perilous, and then ends abruptly. It seems that only the strident bullheadedness of both parties is responsible for bringing them together again, this time for life. Bayard succeeds in giving the reader a nerve-wracking, but ultimately satisfying, rollercoaster ride!"

Louis Bayard was a finalist for the Edgar Award for The Pale, Blue Eye. You will also recognize his name from his Washington Post reviews, many of which we've referenced in this blog. Bayard teaches fiction writing at George Washington University.

Friday, May 3, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Best of the Undergraduate Writers I

Boswell is happy to once again host our semi-annual celebration of student writers from Milwaukee area colleges and universities, featuring an evening of readings from students of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction.

On Friday, our program will feature writing by Saul Lopez, Aishah Mahmood, Cain Schmitz, and Abby Vakulskas of Marquette University and Zach Small, Rachel Radomski, Tesia Zietlow, and Tyler Odeneal of UWM.

Saturday, May 4, 6:00 pm, at Boswell:
Best of the Undergraduate Writers II

Part two of our semi-annual celebration of student writers from Milwaukee area colleges and universities, features student reading from Cardinal Stritch, Carroll, and Mount Mary University. To our knowledge, this is the only multi-school, independent-bookstore-curated, undergraduate reading series in the country!

On Saturday, our program will feature writing by Kateri Duncklee and Jessica Hurtgen of Cardinal Stritch University, Lauren Brandmeier and Gabriel Mundo of Carroll University, and Quinn Clark and Brandi Kehl of Mount Mary University.

Saturday, May 4, 2:00 pm, at Boswell:
Jeffrey Siger, author of The Mykonos Mob

Siger appears at Boswell with the tenth installment of his internationally bestselling series of Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mysteries, this time revealing the dark side of a Greek island playground for the world's rich and famous.

When a corrupt former police colonel on Mykonos is gunned down, Kaldis is suddenly face to face with Greece's top crime bosses, all just as surprised and baffled as he is at the assassination. Someone is making a move to take over the island's vice operations.

The New York Times calls Siger’s mysteries, "thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales," and dubbed him Greece's thriller writer of record. The Greek Government’s General Secretariat of Media and Communications selected Siger as one of six authors, and the only American, writing mysteries that serve as a guide to Greece.

Jeffrey Siger is author of the Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mystery series, including Murder in Mykonos and An Aegean April, as well as the Inspector Keen Dunliffe mysteries, including Assassins of Athens. He contributes to the Murder Is Everywhere crime-fiction-travel blog and has served as Chair of the National Board of Bouchercon.

Sunday, May 5, 3:00 pm, at Boswell:
Erin Merryn, author of Bailey, No Ordinary Cat

Erin Merryn comes to Boswell with her new book, Bailey, No Ordinary Cat, about the heartwarming antics that launched Bailey’s internet stardom, as seen in videos shared by Ellen, CBS News, and Good Morning America.

For fans of Grumpy Cat and Cats on Instagram, there's a new cat in town. What makes Bailey more addictive than catnip? In addition to his adorable expressions, Bailey has a penchant for doing things that are characteristically uncatlike. Things like enjoying bubble baths, getting a "pet"-icure, and his unending patience while co-raising his human siblings - yes, there is photographic evidence that Bailey helped with potty-training.

Erin Merryn is an author, activist (she is behind the sexual abuse prevention program Erin's Law), and speaker named Glamour Magazine’s Woman of the Year in 2012 and a People magazine Hero Among Us. Bailey was a tabby cat who enjoyed bubble baths, joy rides in toy cars, and accessorizing with the latest footwear.

Monday, May 6, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30 talk, at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd:
A ticketed event with Jennifer Robson, author of The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding

The Lynden Sculpture Garden’s Women’s Speaker Series, cosponsored by Milwaukee Reads and Boswell, are pleased to present Jennifer Robson, author of Somewhere in France, takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces three unforgettable heroines and their alternating and intersecting points of view, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.

Tickets cost $23, $18 for Lynden members, and include an autographed paperback copy of The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding, light refreshments, and admission to the sculpture garden. Register by phone at (414) 446-8794 or online, at

Jennifer Robson is author of five novels, including Goodnight from London, Moonlight Over Paris, and After the War is Over. She holds a doctorate in British economic and social history from Saint Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

More info available at the Boswell upcoming events page.

Photo credits!
Anna Quindlen: Maria Krovatin
Louis Bayard: Tim Coburn Photography
Jennifer Robson: Natalie Brown

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