Monday, June 17, 2019

Event alert: Dani Shapiro, Kelsey Rae Dimberg, Victor Grossman, Janet Galloway, Charlotte Sullivan Wild

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

Monday, June 17, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Victor Grossman, author of A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee

Journalist and author Victor Grossman appears at Boswell to discuss his autobiography, which recounts the circumstances that impelled him to flee a military prison sentence during the icy pressures of the McCarthy Era. Cosponsored by the Milwaukee Turners.

While a US Army draftee stationed in Europe, Grossman, born Stephen Wechsler, left his barracks in Bavaria one August day in 1952, and, in a panic, swam across the Danube River from the Austrian U.S. Zone to the Soviet Zone. Fate (ie, the Soviets) landed him in East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic. There he remained, observer and participant, husband and father, as he watched the rise and successes, the travails, and the eventual demise of the GDR socialist experiment.

A Socialist Defector is the story, told in rare, personal detail, of an activist and writer who grew up in the U.S. free-market economy, spent thirty-eight years in the GDR’s nationally owned, centrally administered economy, and continues to survive, given whatever the market can bear in today’s united Germany. Journalist, traveling lecturer, and the only person in the world to hold diplomas from both Harvard and the Karl Marx University, Grossman offers insightful, often ironic, reflections and reminiscences, comparing the good and bad sides of life in all three of the societies he has known.

Tuesday, June 18, 7 pm, at Boswell: Dani Shapiro, author of of Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love, in conversation with Boswell's Daniel Goldin

Acclaimed memoirist Dani Shapiro, author of Hourglass, Devotion, and Slow Motion, is coming to Boswell for her New York Times bestselling book Inheritance. Cosponsored by the Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies at UWM and the Harry and Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center.

Registration is free at through June 17 or upgrade to a registration-with-book option for $26.35, including taxes and fees. The upgrade will get you first on the signing line.

Inheritance is an emotional detective story that begins when Shapiro receives the results of a DNA test and notes that some of her relatives don't match up. Her entire history, the life she had lived, crumbled beneath her. From Sandee Brawarsky's notes in Jewish Week: "For the reader, there’s a sense of suspense in Shapiro’s unraveling of details, even as she is thrown by her discovery and plagued by urgent questions about why her parents didn’t tell her - and how much they actually understood or how much they buried the truth in their own ways."

Barbara Spindel continues the thread The Christian Science Monitor: "Eventually Shapiro arrives at the belief that her mother and father had known but had buried the truth and settled on deep, shared denial. These days, of course, assisted reproductive technologies are out in the open. Still, as sites like Ancestry and 23andMe gain popularity, more people will receive results that shock them to the core."

Wednesday, June 19, 7 pm, at Boswell: Janet Burroway, author of the tenth edition of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, in conversation with Kim Suhr

Janet Burroway, Distinguished Professor Emerita at Florida State University and author of the most widely used creative writing text in America, visits for a conversation with Red Oak Writing Director Kim Suhr about the Tenth Edition of Writing Fiction. This book has been selling very strongly since we announced this event!

A creative writer’s shelf should hold at least three essential books: a dictionary, a style guide, and Writing Fiction. For more than 30 years, Burroway’s classic has helped hundreds of thousands of students learn the craft. Burroway offers a master class that calls on us to renew our love of storytelling and celebrate the skill of writing well. There is a very good chance that one of your favorite authors learned the craft with Writing Fiction.

The new edition continues to provide advice that is practical, comprehensive, and flexible. Moving from freewriting to final revision, Burroway, who has also written eight novels, plays, and numerous essyas, addresses “showing not telling,” characterization, dialogue, atmosphere, plot, imagery, and point of view, with examples and quotations that feature a wide and diverse range of today’s best-known authors. Thanks to Red Oak Writing for cosponsoring this event.

Thursday, June 20, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Book launch for Kelsey Rae Dimberg, author of Girl in the Rearview Mirror

Milwaukee author Kelsey Rae Dimberg appears at Boswell with her debut thriller about the young nanny for a prominent political family who gets drawn into a web of deadly lies, including her own. This event is cosponsored by Crimespree magazine.

They are Phoenix’s First Family: the son of the sitting Senator, destined to step into his father’s seat, his wife, the stylish and elegant director of Phoenix’s fine arts museum, and their four-year-old daughter Amabel, beautiful, precocious, and beloved. Finn Hunt eagerly agrees to nanny for Amabel, thinking she’s lucked into the job of a lifetime. But when a young woman approaches Finn, claiming a connection with Philip and asking Finn to pass on a message, Finn becomes caught up in a web of deceit with the senate seat at its center. And Finn, too, has a background she has kept hidden, but under the hot Phoenix sun, everything is about to be laid bare.

From Jim Higgins's profile of Dimberg in Sunday's Journal Sentinel, where she discusses making important decisions about the story: "'I'm going to write this crime novel. It's going to be all these little tropes from noir," she said, remembering her decision. She resolved to play fair with readers: 'I don't like it in novels when it's just the narrator's lying,' she said. Dimberg ended up using index cards to remind herself what Finn did and didn't know, and what other characters were doing, 'so I could keep track of everybody's timeline,' she said."

Kelsey Rae Dimberg received an MFA from the University of San Francisco and studied at Barrett Honors College of Arizona State University, where she was editor-in-chief of the literary magazine, Lux. She is a graduate of Homestead High School in Mequon. Girl in the Rearview Mirror is her first novel.

Saturday, June 22, 11 am, at Boswell:
Saturday Storytime with Charlotte Sullivan Wild, author of The Amazing Idea of You

Boswell hosts a Saturday morning storytime with Charlotte Sullivan Wild, Regional Advisor for the Southwest Texas chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, who will read and present her new picture book. Perfect for children and adults.

The Amazing Idea of You celebrates the glorious potential in living things and in every child. Fans of Emily Winfield Martin will delight in this loving, gorgeously illustrated story. Hidden within a tiny seed is the idea of a beautiful, towering tree. In a nest, curled inside an egg, waits the idea of a bird, of the songs she’ll sing and the skies she’ll fly. Tadpoles, caterpillars, and waddling goslings all hold the promise of leaps, brilliant colors, and migrations. Yet nothing compares to the promise of a child. This gorgeous, lyrical picture book celebrating new life is perfect for any child, parent, or parents-to-be.

Saturday, June 22, 2019, 3:30 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library Central Library, Community Room 1, 814 W Wisconsin Ave: Katherine Connelly, author of A Suffragette in America: Reflections on Prisoners, Pickets and Political Change

Milwaukee Public Library presents editor Katherine Connelly to discuss her latest work, a collection of English Suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst’s writing and reflections on a year spent in Milwaukee during the early 20th century. Connelly did research at the Milwaukee Public Library in putting together A Suffragette in America.

Published for the first time, this book by leading English militant suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst details her tours of America in 1911 and 1912. Unlike other suffragette leaders, who spent their time in the States among the social elite, Pankhurst went right to the heart of America’s social problems. She visited striking laundry workers in New York and female prisoners in Philadelphia and Chicago, and grappled firsthand with shocking racism in Nashville.

Pankhurst biographer Katherine Connelly gathers and curates Pankhurst’s writing from the year-long visit, in which she reveals her shock at the darkness hidden in American life and draws parallels to her experiences of imprisonment and misogyny in her own country. Writer, activist, and Sylvia Pankhurst’s granddaughter Helen Pankhurst says, “This volume affords new insights into her life and work by placing the text in the turbulent political context in which it was written. It is an important contribution to history.”

Next week sneak peek - Monday, June 24, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Dean A Strang, author of Keep the Wretches in Order: America's Biggest Mass Trial, the Rise of the Justice Department, and the Fall of the IWW, in conversation with WUWM's Mitch Teich

Madison criminal defense attorney attorney Dean A Strang returns to Boswell with his latest book, a sharp legal history of the largest mass trial in US history. Cosponsored by Wisconsin Justice Initiative. This will also be WUWM Lake Effect Executive Producer and Host Mitch Teich's last conversation at Boswell before he leaves for New York's North Country Public Radio.

Dean Strang, also author of Worse Than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror, analyzes the fragility of the American criminal justice system as he details United States v. Haywood et al, the fascinating case that had a major role in shaping the modern Justice Department. Before World War I, the government reaction to labor dissent had been local, ad hoc, and quasi-military. When the United States entered the conflict in 1917, the Department of Justice embarked on a sweeping new effort - replacing gunmen with lawyers. Soon, the department systematically targeted the nation’s most radical and innovative union, the Industrial Workers of the World, also known as the Wobblies.

In the first legal history of this federal trial, Strang shows how the case laid the groundwork for a fundamentally different strategy to stifle radical threats and had a major role in shaping the modern Justice Department. As the trial unfolded, it became an exercise of raw force, raising serious questions about its legitimacy and revealing the fragility of a criminal justice system under great external pressure.

More events on our upcoming event page.

Photo credits!
Dani Shapiro - Michael Maren
Janet Burroway - Mary Stephan

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