The Wisconsin Humanities Council this morning announced the presenting authors authors for the 2007 Wisconsin Book Festival, and it's an impressive quintet indeed. Rick Bass, Michael Cunningham, Jane Hirshfield, Rabbi Harold Kushner and Terry Tempest Williams are the headliners for the sixth annual event, scheduled for Oct. 10-14.
An author of both fiction and non-fiction, Bass is perhaps best known as a Pushcart Prize- and PEN/Nelson Algren Award-winning short-story writer, but his non-fiction work, including The Lost Grizzlies and The Ninemile Wolves, are masterful, reasoned arguments in defense of habitats for species widely viewed with fear and suspicion.
Cunningham's novels include The Hours (winner of both a Pulitzer Prize and PEN/Faulkner Award and the basis for the Oscar-winning movie starring Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore), Flesh and Blood and Specimen Days, and he is also the author of the non-fiction Land's End: A Walk Through Provincetown.
A poet, essayist and translator, Hirshfield has written six poetry collections (one of which, After, was short-listed for a T.S. Eliot Prize and another, Given Sugar, Given Salt, named a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award), and the essay collection Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry.
Kushner, the congregational rabbi at Temple Israel in Natick, Mass., is the best-selling author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, as well as Overcoming Life's Disappointments and How Good Do We Have to Be?
Williams is a profound advocate for wilderness and free speech whose essay collection The Open Space of Democracy fuses her passions for both, while Red makes the case for protecting Utah's most inhospitable landscapes and Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place, has become a classic of environmental literature.
These authors represent a fraction of the writers who will participate in this year's festival, many of whom will address this year's theme, "Domestic Tranquility." Start your reading now: This year's Wisconsin Book Festival begins a mere 121 days hence.