Literary Events

Writers Reading Series

December to March

Wednesdays: 7 - 9 pm

writers read from & discuss their work

Writers in residence will read from and discuss their work Wednesday evenings from December 2019 to March 2020. It’s the perfect mid-week pause to reconnect with meaningful language.

Winter Writers Reading Series events are held Wednesdays, at 7:00 p.m. in the Lind Pavilion, 411 Commerce St. – stop in for snacks, literature, and inspiration!

This is a rare opportunity to engage award-winning authors in small group conversation. Don’t miss out!

2019-2020 Schedule

We are delighted to announce a nearly full schedule has already been confirmed. Details are available below, but the schedule is as follows:

December 18: Robert Russell

January 8: Christina Clancy

January 15: Marilyn Annucci

January 22: Laura Jean Baker

January 29: Steve Fox

February 26: Margaret Rozga

March 4: Kathryn Gahl

March 18: Liam Callanan
CANCELED: we hope to reschedule with the 2021 Winter Writers Reading Series

March 25: William Stobb
CANCELED: rescheduled for the 2021 Winter Writers Reading Series

Other writers and/or open mic nights or special Big Read events may be scheduled on open Wednesdays during the Winter Writers Reading Series. Check back here, follow us on Facebook, or better yet, sign up for the Shake Rag Alley News below and we’ll send you monthly updates!

Our Winter Writers Reading Series Partners

Postponed: TBD

We are sorry to postpone this series of events due to coronavirus concerns.

Shake Rag Alley is a recipient of funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, in partnership with Arts Midwest, to introduce the NEA Big Read program to Mineral Point, in 2020. Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book. The NEA Big Read in Mineral Point will focus on “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine in activities that will take place in April and May 2020. “Shake Rag Alley is honored to be awarded an NEA Big Read grant and looks forward to reading Claudia Rankine’s ‘Citizen’ with our community,” said Executive Director Sara Lomasz Flesch. “Together with our partners at the Mineral Point Public Library and Mineral Point School District libraries, we chose ‘Citizen’ from among more than 30 books for its use of poetry and art to explore the impact words have on concepts of identity and inclusion.” “It is inspiring to see both large and small communities across the nation come together around a book,” said National Endowment for the Arts Acting Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “We always look forward to the unique ways cities, towns, and organizations explore these stories and encourage community participation in a wide variety of events.” Due to coronavirus concerns, Big Read programs have been delayed until the fall of 2020, Unfortunately, author Claudia Rankine will not be able to visit and deliver the keynote address as planned. The NEA Big Read grant has contributed to the costs of providing 1,000 free copies of “Citizen” and Shake Rag Alley, along with our NEA Big Read partners – Mineral Point Public Library, Mineral Point School District, Multicultural Outreach Program and Mineral Point Opera House  – plan to reschedule numerous book discussions at regional libraries, a film series, school programs, art making, art conversations, and a poetry slam with open mic when, and where, doing so safely is possible. Watch this space for program specifics closer to the month of September 2020. Information will also be posted to our
Big Read event page and on social media.

Beginning June 2020, we are hosting Virtual Community Conversations focused on race.

Send an email using the button below to be added to the email list and receive login information.

September 25-27

Friday - Sunday

Now Virtual!

write alongside other writers

Join us for the fourth annual Writing Retreat at Shake Rag Alley, open to writers of all levels. Enrich your talent and prospects in this charming art community and old mining town. Choose one of three genres taught by either Patricia Ann McNair (Memoir and Personal Essay; Retreat Artistic Director), Christine Rice (Short Story), or Shawn Shiflett (The New Novel) for an in-depth workshop that will challenge you across the three days. These workshop directors are award-winning published authors and active, experienced teachers of writing.

Interwoven around these main workshops will be optional and inspiring creative activities, including talks on Writing About Race with Eric May, and Baldwin in Paris with Philip Hartigan, a panel discussion on Alternatives in Publishing, a Faculty and Local Author Reading, Open Mics, and a craft talk on narrative distance with Sarah Hammond that will make for a retreat jam-packed with opportunities to learn, share, network and write.

Manuscript consultations are available with instructors on a first sign up, first served basis, at a very affordable price.

We are pleased to work in partnership with Hypertext Magazine & Studio, a social justice writing nonprofit organization. 

Second Saturday

2 – 4 pm

workshop new poems & deepen your craft

Driftless Poets meet on the second Saturday of each month at 2 pm either virtually via Zoom or on the Shake Rag Alley campus.

New poets are always welcome, but only those who have submitted work one week prior to the workshop will receive feedback and critique. Poets take turns leading the workshops by sharing a poem that demonstrates a form or craft technique and monitoring time.

What to Expect

In a writing workshop, a group of people engage in intensive discussion during a time set aside to focus on and improve one’s craft. Driftless Poets meet monthly to learn from one another by listening carefully to feedback on work submitted to the group.

How to Participate

The Driftless Poets workshops are free and no registration is required, but an email RSVP is appreciated.

For more information: (608) 987-3292.

Readings & Resources

Creative Writing Library

Several shelves of writing related books are available in the Art Cafe. Most are available for circulation, and include:

  • literary & small press journals
  • poetry, fiction &  nonfiction anthologies
  • craft & marketing guides

Meeting outdoors for social distancing.

Winter Writers Reading Series

Since 2011 Shake Rag Alley has partnered with the Council for Wisconsin Writers (CWW), Wisconsin People & Ideas, and the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission through the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters to offer week-long residencies to their annual writing contest winners.

In the tradition established by Edenfred, the Terry Family Foundation’s artist residence in Madison, writers and poets are provided with a week of uninterrupted time to focus on a project of their choice.

Between the months of December through March, writers stay in Shake Rag Alley’s inspiring lodging facilities surrounded by the nurturing environment of historic Mineral Point’s artistic community. Visiting writers participate in workshops, readings, and/or community outreach activities, including Wednesday evening Winter Writers Reading Series author talks and discussions.

Unless otherwise noted, readings take place in the Lind Pavilion at 411 Commerce St.

About the Council for Wisconsin Writers

CWW is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting local, state, and national awareness of Wisconsin’s great literary heritage and to encouraging excellence among Wisconsin writers today. Founded in 1964, the CWW is operated entirely by volunteer writers, editor, publishers, book sellers, and other supporters who serve on its board of directors. Learn more at

About Wisconsin People & Ideas

Wisconsin People & Ideas is the quarterly magazine of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters. The leading magazine of Wisconsin thought and culture, Wisconsin People & Ideas features articles by and about scientists, scholars, artists, writers, policymakers and others who serve as thought leaders in Wisconsin. The magazine also publishes works from contemporary and classic Wisconsin artists, writers, and poets. More information can be found at

December 18

Robert Russell

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
People & Ideas Poetry Contest Winner

Robert Russell is a recovering economist currently living in Madison. For over ten years he was co-producer of the “Radio Literature” program on WORT-FM, and was coordinator for the CheapAtAnyPrice poetry series. Russell led the Madison National Poetry Slam teams from 1992 to 1994, and has taught poetry in high schools and colleges here and abroad. His short fiction and poetry have been published in various literary magazines and anthologies, and his chapbook, Witness, is available on Amazon.

Robert Russell’s prize winning poem, Greyhound, along with a bonus poem entitled, My Life as a Houseplant, was published in the Fall 2019 issue of Wisconsin People & Ideas Magazine.

The movement in this poem is serene and skillfully done. The poet’s reach for narrative detail and visual poetics drew me into my seat, and the driver’s set, too. Best of all, the poem pulled me into the quiet night. Dasha Kelly-Hamilton

The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters annually recognizes Wisconsin writers of poetry and fiction through their annual writing contest, with publication in their quarterly magazine Wisconsin People & Ideas. Learn more about the contest here.

January 8

Christina Clancy

Council for Wisconsin Writers
Kay W. Levin Award for Short Nonfiction

Christina Clancy lives with her very tall husband John in Madison, Wisconsin, in a 104-yr old Prairie-style home, which means no repair is simple or cheap. As her brother-in-law says, the house makes him tired. She and her husband have a guesthouse, or “granny cottage,” they run as an Airbnb, so she is no stranger to second homes.

Her debut novel, The Second Home, will be published June, 2020, St. Martin’s Press. The novel reflects her obsession with old houses, family, Cape Cod and summer vacation. 

Although Christina loves old houses, instead of fixing them she’d rather spend time with her children, Olivia and Tim, or write, run, cycle, SUP, practice yoga and follow politics. She is a certified spin instructor, and serves on the board of Wisconsin Conservation Voters.

In 2011, Christina received a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a specialty in eco-criticism and suburban literature, and taught creative writing at Beloit College. She goes by Dr. Clancy when vying for a hotel room upgrade; but prefers to be called Christina or Christi. 

Christina Clancy’s prize winning essay, Lost Cause, was published in the April 2018 issue of The Sun and can be read online here.

Christi Clancy narrates a coming of age tale that truly illustrates and reflects life in our country today. In much of contemporary non-fiction, the author tries to lace true events together to make a story, Clancy does so in a way that reflects multiple complicated yet relatable subjects that have haunted Americana for the last few generations: the loss and subsequent search for identity, the class struggle in a seemingly insurmountable economic divide, and the disillusionment that comes from finding that our parents are undeserving of the divinity we assign them in childhood. Clancy doesn’t only tell her story, she tells our story, the story of a latchkey generation trying to find our footing in the world we’ve inherited, the
hand-me-down American Dream.
Sean Davis; McKenzie Bridge, OR

The Kay W. Levin Award for Short Nonfiction goes to the best piece of short non-fiction published by a Wisconsin-based author in the previous year. Read more about the award.

January 15

Marilyn Annucci

Council for Wisconsin Writers
Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award

Marilyn Annucci’s writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Prairie Schooner, Rattle, North American Review, and Indiana Review. Her collection of poems, The Arrows That Choose Us, won the 2018 Press 53 Poetry Award and the Council of Wisconsin Writers’ Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award. She is also the author of Luck, a chapbook of poems from Parallel Press, and Waiting Room, winner of the 2012 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize. Originally from Massachusetts, she worked for ten years as a writer and editor before earning an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a professor in the Department of Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

In The Arrows That Choose Us, Marilyn Annucci’s poems of quiet observation startle with their precision: a curmudgeonly crow trapped in a yard “spreads his wings like a set / of black cards”; the knife at the bottom of a dishpan is “a mute battleship gone down on its side”; Houdini is “holding his breath in your bathtub.” Metaphysical in scope, this collection offers meditations on intimacy and mortality, technology and luck. Annucci finds humor even in places of loneliness or disappointment, reminding us how “the arrows that choose us” never fail “to tear us awake.”

Marilyn Annucci’s The Arrows That Choose Us has a wide sense of range and covers much landscape. She moves through a variety of procedures. She has narrative poems and dialogue poems. Her images are precise, and her forms move from traditional stanzas and couplets to poems that float on the page’s white space. They move from the small intimacy of dishpans and making soup to Saint Petersburg, from an utterly devastating lament of not having a child, to an ekphrasis poem about Jesus speaking to Magdalene, a mediation on a Three Musketeer’s wrapper, to her haunting ghost writer’s sequence—this is a book that carries decades and speaks with those years of art making. Like the other poets here, these are poems of a life, long lived. And I guess what finally spoke to me the most was  that this is a book that notices and sings, as she writes to close, “Who might never believe what can only be mercy—that even the grayest cement stands to glow.”
Sean Dougherty Thomas; Erie, PA

The Edna Meudt Poetry Book Award is given to the best book of poems published by a Wisconsin-based writer in the previous year. Read more about the award.

January 22

Laura Jean Baker

Council for Wisconsin Writers
Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award

Raised by therapists, married to a defense attorney, Laura Jean Baker writes where mental health, crime, and family intersect. She earned her M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Michigan, where she was a Colby Fellow.

Her essays have appeared at The Washington Post, Salon, Longreads, and Scary Mommy. Her poetry and memoir writing have appeared in literary journals such as The Gettysburg Review; Confrontation; The Connecticut Review; Third Coast; The Cream City Review; Alaska Quarterly Review; So To Speak: A Feminist Journal of Literature and Art; War, Literature, and the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities; and Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature.

Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and her essay “Year of the Tiger” was a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2013.

Her memoir, The Motherhood Affidavits, was released by The Experiment in April 2018. It has been reviewed or mentioned in The New York Times, The Toronto Star, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Shondaland, Electric Literature, and Medium.

She is currently at work on her second book.

The Motherhood Affidavits: With the birth of her first child, soon-to-be professor Laura Jean Baker finds herself electrified by oxytocin, the “love hormone”—the first effective antidote to her lifelong depression. Over the next eight years, her “oxy” cravings, and her family, only grow—to the dismay of her husband, Ryan, a freelance public defender. As her reckless baby–making threatens her family’s middle–class existence, Baker identifies more and more with Ryan’s legal clients, often drug–addled fellow citizens of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Is she any less desperate for her next fix?

Baker is in an impossible bind: The same drive that sustains her endangers her family; the cure is also the disease. She explores this all–too–human paradox by threading her story through those of her local counterparts who’ve run afoul of the law—like Rob McNally, the lovable junkie who keeps resurfacing in Ryan’s life. As Baker vividly reports on their alleged crimes—theft, kidnapping, opioid abuse, and even murder—she unerringly conjures tenderness for the accused, yet increasingly questions her own innocence.

Baker’s ruthless self–interrogation makes this her personal affidavit—her sworn statement, made for public record if not a court of law. With a wrenching ending that compels us to ask whether Baker has fallen from maternal grace, this is an extraordinary addition to the literature of motherhood.

​“Titles,” “Sentences,” “Deeds,” “Memoranda,” a litany of legal terminology, overlaps the precise accoutrements of Laura Jean Baker’s hard-boiled and quarter-sawn aesthetic, deployed here brilliantly—a flowchart of cross-examination, an evidence room furnished by Gustav Stickley. This memoir of motherhood and much more mines, owns, in the best way, the material of the maternal memory, a gridded excavation that is a desirable destruction of desire, that riddles gold filigree out of the spoil of the past.  The Motherhood Affidavits addresses, witnesses, and testifies, I swear, to the staunched and saturated nature of our scuttled and sutured-back-together lives.
Michael Marton; Tuscaloosa, AL

The Norbert Blei/August Derleth Nonfiction Book Award is given to the best nonfiction book published by a Wisconsin-based author in the previous year. Read more about the award.

January 29

Steve Fox

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
People & Ideas Fiction Contest Winner

Steve Fox’s work has appeared in or has been recognized by Narrative Magazine, The Masters Review, The Iowa Review, Midwestern Gothic, and The Midwest Review. Steve’s work was selected winner of the Wisconsin Writers Association Jade Ring Competition, the Great Midwest Writing Contest, the Midwestern Gothic Summer Flash Fiction Contest, and Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, & Letters Fiction Competition. Steve lives with his wife, three boys and one dog in Hudson, Wisconsin and studies creative writing at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. He gets up on Monday morning and goes to bed later that day on Saturday night.

Steve Fox’s short story, Exile, was published in the Fall 2019 issue of Wisconsin People & Ideas Magazine.

Second-person narration is a difficult trick to pull off. But, in “Exile,” the author commits to this point of view from the opening paragraph and brings the story’s ten-and-a-half-year-old protagonist, Arthur, to vivid life. His selective hearing and unhearing of profanity, the physical and social brutality of ice hockey, and his burgeoning awareness of the fine social distinctions of small-town life all help to further draw him as a complex character. And what could be more quintessentially Wisconsin that the cuffs of his sweat-soaked clothes slowly frosting over on a sub-zero night while he scans the road, looking for his dad’s headlights?
Tom Miller

The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters annually recognizes Wisconsin writers of poetry and fiction through their annual writing contest, with publication in their quarterly magazine Wisconsin People & Ideas. Learn more about the contest here.

February 26

Margaret Rozga

Wisconsin Poet Laureate

Life-long Wisconsin resident Margaret Rozga, Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2019–2020, lives in Milwaukee. She earned her BA at Alverno College and an MA and PhD in English at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. An emeritus professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Waukesha, she continues to teach a poetry workshop for Continuing Education at what is now the UWM–Waukesha campus.

Rozga’s poems draw on her experiences and interests as an educator, avid reader and researcher, parent, and advocate for social and racial justice. Her first book, 200 Nights and One Day (Benu Press 2009), was awarded a bronze medal in poetry in the 2009 Independent Publishers Book Awards and named an outstanding achievement in poetry for 2009 by the Wisconsin Library Association.

Rozga has published three additional collections of poems:  

  • Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad (Benu Press 2012), named an outstanding achievement in poetry for 2012 by the Wisconsin Library Association; 
  • Justice    Freedom    Herbs (Word Tech Press 2015); 
  • Pestiferous Questions: A Life in Poems (Lit Fest Press 2017). Research for Pestiferous Questions was supported by a creative writer’s fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society. 

Rozga has also been a resident at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology and at the Ragdale Foundation. Her work was nominated for inclusion in the 2005 Best New Poets anthology and for a Pushcart Prize.

Rozga served as an editor for three poetry chapbook anthology projects, most recently Where I Want to Live: Poems for Fair and Affordable Housing (Little Bird Press 2018), a project of the 50th anniversary commemoration of Milwaukee’s fair housing marches. Her poetry craft essays have appeared in the Whale Road Review, the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Museletter and other venues. Her poems have been included in eight collaborative exhibits with visual artists and other poets.

Rozga reviews poetry books and has served as a judge for poetry and writing contests for in Wisconsin and nationally. She serves on the program committee for the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books. She especially enjoys offering poetry workshops for middle and high school students.

Wendy Vardaman, past poet laureate of Madison writes that Rozga’s poetry “is both personal and communal, and above all, purposeful.”

Chicago poet Martha Vertreace-Doody says of Rozga’s poems: “Each voice speaks with immediacy impossible to ignore.”

Chloe Yelena Miller, reviewing Though I Haven’t Been to Baghdad notes that “Rozga gives us poetry and news together in this beautiful, meaningful book.”

Reviewer Kathleen Fagley praises Pestiferous Questions, concluding that Rozga “is more than successful in melding voices, modes of writing, language, image, and personal and political history in this impressive book of poetry.”

Mark Zimmerman also writing about Pestiferous Questions, says: “Because Rozga is such a skilled poet and storyteller, multifaceted lives of people gradually emerge as the book progresses”

“I love the vibrant community of poetry readers and writers in Wisconsin,” says Rozga. I”n the spirit and with the enthusiasm of past poet laureates, I want to continue helping that community grow. Poets who write from a deeply felt sense of what enriches our lives make those qualities palpable for all of us. I look forward to sharing and extending this love of poetry throughout Wisconsin.”

Rozga envisions three main ways to share her enthusiasm for poetry and grow interest in poetry in Wisconsin. One is an initiative to encourage public officials, business and community leaders, those attending poet laureate readings, and people generally to “Name Your Fave,” that is, claim a favorite poem or poet. It is a way to start poetry conversations that go beyond a response Rozga often hears: “Poetry? I don’t get it.” She believes it is a way to begin to realize that yes, you do; yes, you can.

Another way Rozga sees to further the reading of poetry is to encourage existing book clubs to have at least one meeting each year focused on poetry. She will also build a Wisconsin poetry presence on social media, using, for example, Twitter to spread the word about Wisconsin poets, poetry events, and the “Name your Fave” initiative and to connect with ongoing poetry-related threads.

Read more about the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission.

March 4

Kathryn Gahl

Council for Wisconsin Writers
Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award

Kathryn Gahl is a writer, dancer, and registered nurse. Born to an Irish nurse and German farmer, she grew up with seven siblings in a farmhouse located at the end of a half-mile gravel drive. She earned a B.S. in English at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a B.S. in Nursing at Syracuse University (NY). After 25 years in nursing and nursing management, she became a full-time writer, studying at Bread Loaf, Stonecoast, Sewanee, Iowa Writers’ Workshop Fiction Intensive, Iowa Summer Festival, Vermont College, and Taos.

Her poems and stories are widely published in small journals, including Eclipse, Hawaii Pacific Review, Permafrost, Porcupine Literary Arts Magazine, and Willow Review. Twice a Glimmer Train finalist, she received honorable mention from The Council of Wisconsin Writers and Wisconsin People & Ideas . Margie named her a finalist for the Marjorie J. Wilson Award. Other finalist awards include poetry at Lumina and Chautauqua , the Arthur Edelstein Prize for Short Fiction, the William Richey Short Story Winner, and the Flash Fiction finalist at Talking Writing .

Mother of two young adults and Oma to one, she loves red lipstick, the tango, and home cooking. Her readings have been described as “lively and pulsating. Even if you don’t like poetry, you will get goosebumps when you hear Kathryn.” She participates in Reading Buddies, a Wisconsin program supplying readers and picture books to preschoolers.

Gahl recently finished her first novel (hooray)! Inspiration flows from her father, who would have been a writer if it weren’t for frozen barn pipes, sows farrowing at midnight, rust in the wheat field, cows breaking into the raspberry patch, and eight children wanting lunch money. That, and his devotion to his wife and Saturday night dance partner, Kathryn’s mother.

Kathryn Gahl was awarded the Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award for five individual poems. Her work can be found here.

Kathryn Gahl’s narrative poems speak from several perspectives: her own (presumably, from “40”, a memoir in verse), a third-person rhyming couplet riff on a line from a letter written by Van Gogh, a conversation between “he” and “she” about buying paper towels (the “he” stricken with dementia), a moving poem in the voice of a hair stylist about a friendship with a client who dies, and a first- person poem in the voice of a farmer expressing his wishes: “Put me where I am useful / just beneath the topsoil…/There’s work to be done.” The poet renders each speaker so aptly that the reader knows these characters. Gahl’s precise diction, specific imagery, and occasional effective rhyme breathe life into these characters whom the reader will not quickly forget.
Susan Spear; Centennial, CO

The Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award is given to the best collection of up to five poems published in literary magazines by a Wisconsin-based writer in the previous year. Read more about the award.


Liam Callanan

Council for Wisconsin Writers
Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award

We are sorry to cancel this reading due to coronavirus concerns.
We hope to reschedule Liam Callanan during the 2021 Winter Writers Reading Series.

Liam was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Los Angeles, but now calls Wisconsin home, and roots for every last one of its teams, especially the Brewers.

He is the author of two previous novels — The Cloud Atlas, an Edgar Award finalist set in WWII Alaska, and All Saints, set in a beachfront high school in California, as well as a short story collection, Listen and Other Stories. He teaches in the English department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and also writes shorter things, including essays and public radio commentaries. He doesn’t write poetry, but envies those who do, and is generally a big fan, which is how he came to create and co-executive produce the Poetry Everywhere animated film series, which you can view on iTunes and Youtube, and founded the Eat Local::Read Local program, which distributes local poets’ poems to diners at local restaurants during National Poetry Month.

Paris by the Book, published by Dutton, was released in April 2018.

When eccentric novelist Robert Eady abruptly vanishes, he leaves behind his wife, Leah, their daughters, and, hidden in an unexpected spot, plane tickets to Paris.

Hoping to uncover clues–and her husband–Leah sets off for France with her girls. Upon their arrival, she discovers an unfinished manuscript, one Robert had been writing without her knowledge . . . and that he had set in Paris. The Eady girls follow the path of the manuscript to a small, floundering English-language bookstore whose weary proprietor is eager to sell. Leah finds herself accepting the offer on the spot.

As the family settles into their new Parisian life, they trace the literary paths of some beloved Parisian classics, including Madeline and The Red Balloon, hoping more clues arise. But a series of startling discoveries forces Leah to consider that she may not be ready for what solving this mystery might do to her family–and the Paris she thought she knew.

Charming, haunting, and triumphant, Paris by the Book follows one woman’s journey as she writes her own story, exploring the power of family and the magic that hides within the pages of a book.

​What can be more pleasurable than a book about books? Throw in the mystery of a missing person and the pages begin to turn of their own volition. The prose is seamless and the momentum ever-moving, but what is best is listening to Leah, our protagonist. Hers is a gentle, compelling, intelligent and sympathetic voice. In these pages, there is a loveliness and poignancy I’ve not experienced in a long time.
Bob Olmstead; Delaware, OH

The Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award is given to the best fiction book published by a Wisconsin-based author in the previous year. Read more about the award.

March 10, 2021

This March 2020 reading has been rescheduled due to coronavirus concerns.

William Stobb

Council for Wisconsin Writers
Zona Gale Short Fiction Award

William Stobb is a poet and fiction writer, professor, editor, and audio art enthusiast. He holds a Ph. D. in Rhetoric, and works as Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. He is also part of the editorial team at Conduit magazine and its book publishing arm, Conduit Books & Ephemera.

William Stobb was awarded the Zona Gale Award for Short Fiction for his short story, “All the Bodies,” published in North Dakota Quarterly.

His work can be read online here.

​This is a story about bodies. Bodies that live, bodies that die, bodies that sleep, that swim, that kill, that are killed. The lyric pace of William Stobb’s prose seamlessly weaves each detail into a plot that’s both poignant and painful. Bodies don’t last forever. Life is tragic, short, and beautiful. This is a story to read and to remember. I won’t soon forget it.
Jill Alexander Essbaum; Austin, TX

The Zona Gale Award for Short Fiction goes to the best piece of short fiction published by a Wisconsin-based author in the previous year. Read more about the award.

Hold Your Own Events at Shake Rag Alley

Choose your favorite historical building, the spacious Lind Pavilion, lush gardens & outdoor spaces, Alley Stage, or the entire campus!

Campus Map: Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts

Coach House
18 Shake Rag Street

1 of 32

Art Café

2 of 32

Ellery House

3 of 32


4 of 32
restrooms 5 of 32

Open Air Parking

6 of 32

Lind Pavilion Parking

7 of 32
Roadside Parking
allowed on Commerce Street 8 of 32

Smejas’ Studio parking

9 of 32

Smejas’ Studio
30 Doty Street

10 of 32
Curbside Parking
as indicated 11 of 32

Accessible Parking
with curb cut

12 of 32

Alley Stage

13 of 32

Cabinet Shop

14 of 32

French Cabin

15 of 32

1830 Log Cabin

16 of 32

Potter’s House

17 of 32

Blacksmith Barn

18 of 32

Federal Spring

19 of 32

Monarch Garden

20 of 32

Lind Pavilion
411 Commerce Street

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two blocks to

High Street & Commerce Street
Restaurants, Shops & Galleries

22 of 32
To Grocery Store
Point Foods
622 Dodge Street 23 of 32

Street Parking with Additional Parking behind Smejas’ Studio

24 of 32
The Green
open air park 25 of 32
Stair Steps
Cabinet Shop & Lind Pavilion 26 of 32
Stair Steps
to Alley Stage 27 of 32
Stone Bridge
Federal Spring 28 of 32

Roland’s Loft

223 Commerce St.

29 of 32

The Tuckpoint

223 Commerce St.

30 of 32

The Sardeson Pottery Studio

225 Commerce St.

31 of 32

Weaving & Fiber Arts Studio

Cannery Row Arts Incubator
121 Water St.

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ADA compliant buildings: Lind Pavilion, Coach House, Smejas’ Studio