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Wisconsin Authors

Wisconsin authors are considered to be those who were born, raised, or lived a significant portion of their lives in Wisconsin. Click on the Author's name to view titles. This is a list of selected authors, and not meant to be a comprehensive list. We welcome any suggestions for additions!

This booklist was contributed by Appleton Public Library Reference and Information Services Staff, 12/2006.  

Stephen E. Ambrose (1936 - 2002) raised in Whitewater

A best-selling historian, Ambrose is known for his books about World War II, the American West, and for presidential biographies. (Online Biography & Criticism)

A. Manette Ansay (1964 -    ) raised in Port Washington

A. Manette Ansay's writing career got off to an auspicious start when she won the prestigious Nelson Algren Award for Short Fiction in 1992 at the age of twenty-seven. In her subsequent novels Ansay explores more deeply the character of small-town Midwestern life. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Jerold Apps (1934-    ) born in Wild Rose

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 15 books, many of them on rural history and country life. Author Web Site

Warren Beck (1896 - 1986) lived in Appleton

Beck was a longtime English professor at Lawrence University, noted for his novels, short stories, and literary criticism (Online Biography & Criticism)

Norbert Blei (1935 -    ) lived in Ellison Bay

A poet and essayist, as well as a writer of fiction, Blei is best known for his Door County trilogy. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Robert Bloch (1917 - 1994) raised in Milwaukee

Best known for Psycho, the novel that formed the basis of Alfred Hitchcock's film classic, Block was an award-winning science fiction and mystery writer. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Fredric Brown (1906 - 1972) lived in Milwaukee

Brown won the Edgar Allan Poe award for his mystery novel "The Fabulous Clipjoint". He also wrote science fiction and television scripts. He published more than 300 short stories an 29 novels. (Online Biography & Criticism)

James Campbell born in Lodi Wisconsin

Author of the book The Final Frontiersman: Hiemo Korth and his family. The family is from right here in the Fox Valley, and is the author's cousin.

Alden Carter born in Eau Claire, lives in Marshfield

A former high school teacher, Carter is known for his mastery of characterization and realistic treatment of personal issues, especially for young adults. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Frederic G. Cassidy (1907-2000) lived in Madison

Cassidy served as a professor of English for more than 40 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While there, he began work on "The Dictionary of American Regional English", an authoritative collection of slang, regionalisms, and folk language. The "Dictionary" can be found in the Appleton Public Library Adult Reference Collection at 427.973 Dic.

Lan Samantha Chang (1965 -    ) born and raised in Appleton

Ms. Chang's fiction has appeared in many publications, including the Atlantic Monthly, Story, and twice in The Best American Short Stories. A graduate of Yale University and the University of Iowa, she has also held Wallace Stegner and Truman Capote fellowships at Stanford University. Chang is the recipient of a Henfield/Transatlantic Review Award and a literature grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Kelly Cherry (1940 -    ) lived in Madison

Cherry, an English professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has written novels, short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Cathryn Cofell (    ) lives in Appleton

Cathryn Cofell's work can be found in Prairie Schooner, Laurel Review, MARGIE, Women, Phoebe and others. She has received numerous awards for her poetry including Outstanding Poem from the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters for two consecutive years.

Marshall Cook (1944 -    ) teaches at UW-Madison

Creative writing professor at UW-Madison. He is the author of several nonfiction books on various topics, and a new series of light mysteries, the Monona Quinn mysteries.

Merle Curti (1897 - 1996) lived in Madison

Curti was a University of Wisconsin-Madison historian known for his work on American cultural and intellectual history. He received the Pulitzer Prize for "The Growth of American Thought". (Online Biography & Criticism)

August Derleth (1909 - 1971) born in Sauk City

Derleth is best known for his books that celebrate nature, and for his warm characterizations and humor. He wrote nonfiction, poetry, fiction and science fiction. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Mark Dintenfass (1941 -    ) lives in Appleton

Though he grew up in Brooklyn, Dintenfass has called Appleton his home since 1968 when he joined the Lawrence University faculty. His novels are known for their New York settings. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Mary Relindes Ellis (1960 -    ) Born in Glidden, lives in Hammond

Author of The Turtle Warrior, a sensitive story about a boy in northern Wisconsin. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Edna Ferber (1885 - 1968) raised in Appleton

Born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Ferber was raised in appleton and wrote glowingly of the city in the first volume of her memoirs, "A Peculiar Treasure". A best-selling novelist, she won the Pulitzer Prize for "So Big", and was also a prominent playwright. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Zona Gale (1874 - 1938) born in Portage

Gale frequently wrote about small town life, exposing the procincialism common in the early 1900s. She won the Pulitzer Prize for drama after turning her novel "Miss Lulu Bett" into a play (Online Biography & Criticism)

Robert Gard (1910 - 1992) lived in Madison

Gard was a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, achieving fame for his collections of Wisconsin folklore, as well as nonfiction books about Wisconsin, children's books and plays. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Hamlin Garland (1860 - 1940) born in West Salem

Garland was a novelist, short story writer, and essayist, but is best known for his autobiographical "Middle Border" series, which includes the Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Daughter of the Middle Border". (Online Biography & Criticism)

Barbara Jo Gauthier (1932 -    ) lives in Appleton

An Appleton resident and poet

Horace Gregory (1898 - 1982) born in Milwaukee

Gregory was a poet and critic, known for his essays, biographies and children's books. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Frances Hamerstrom (1907 - 1998) lived in Plainfield

In addition to being an award-winning nature writer, Hammerstrom was a biologist with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and a researcher at UW-Steven's point. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Jane Hamilton (1957 -    ) lives in Rochester

Hamilton is a novelist whose work expresses the difficulties of contemporary society as reflected by characters living in small, midwestern towns. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Lori Handeland (    )

Lori is a best selling author and recipient of many awards. She writes in a number of genres, among wich are romance, paranormal romance and urban fantasy. She lives in Wisconsin with her family and pets.

Robert Haveman (1936 -    ) lives in Madison

Haveman is a professor of Economics at UW-Madison. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Walter Havighurst (1901 - 1994) born in Appleton

An English professor, editor, historian and novelist, Havighurst also wrote children's books. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Kevin Henkes (1960 -    ) born in Racine, attended UW-Madison, lives in Madison

Best known for his children's books and illustrations, Kevin Henkes' fiction and picture books for young readers have been praised by many critics for their light-hearted, yet sensitive portrayal common occurrences in young children's lives. (Online Biography & Criticism)

William Best Hesseltine (1902 - 1963) lived in Appleton

Hesseltine served as a professor of history at the UW-Madison for over 30 years. Specializing in the Civil War, Hesseltine wrote more than a dosen books and hundreds of articles (Online Biography & Criticism)

John Hildebrand (1949 -    ) lives in Eau Claire

Writer, educator and naturalist, Hildebrand has lived in Wisconsin since 1977 and is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire. His essays and books, including Mapping the Farm, focus on how people relate to the natural world.

C. J. Hribal A Hortonville native

A Milwaukee resident, he recently appeared at the Appleton Public Library to discuss his book "The Company car". He is a graduate of Hortonville High School, and often incorporates the names of area communities and locations in his novels.

Lesley Kagen (    ) Born, raised and lives in Milwaukee

Born and raised in Milwaukee, she has left behind a glorious (?) show business career to go back to her roots and write. You can listen to her presentation about her book "Whistling in the dark" here at the Appleton Public Library.

George F. Kennan (1904 - 2005) raised in Milwaukee

A prominent historian, writer and diplomat, Kennan's place in diplomatic history is assured by his development of the Cold War policy of containment. Kennan twice won the Pulitzer Prize, for "Russia Leaves the War" and his "Memoirs". (Online Biography & Criticism)

Edmund Kern (1963 -    ) lives in Appleton

A history professor at Lawrence University, Kern provides a fresh perspective on "Harry Potter".

David Kherdian (1931 -    ) born in Racine

Kherdian is a poet, novelist and children's author. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Ellen Kort (1936 -    ) lives in Appleton

Local Appleton poet. Wisconsin's first Poet Laureate.

Herbert Kubly (1915 - 1996) born in New Glarus

Kubly has written essays, short stories, novels and plays, but is best known for his travel writing, featuring vivid descriptions and sharp personal portraits. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Gunnard Landers (1944 -    ) born in Tomahawk

A Wisconsin native, Landers has written a series of novels about undercover game wardens. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Aldo Leopold (1886 - 1948) lived in Madison

A professor of zoology and foresty, Leopold achieved fame for his graceful writing about nature. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Gerda Lerner (1920 -    ) lives in Madison

Lerner served as a professor of history at the UW-Madison, specializing in women's studies. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Mike Loew lives in Madison

Editor of "The Onion". Need we say more?

Ben Logan (1920 -    ) born near Seneca

Logan is best known for his autobiographical classic "The Land Remembers", a nostalgic look at farm life during the Depression.

Paul Lachlan MacKendrick (1914 - 1998) lived in Madison

A classics professor at the UW-Madison, MacKendrick achieved fame for his use of archeology to bring ancient cultures and civilizations to life. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Joseph McBride (1947 -    ) born in Milwaukee

McBride is a screenwriter and biographer of some of the great figures in film history. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Edna Meudt (1906 - 1989) born in Wyoming Valley

Meudt has been described as combining the skills of a folklorist, historian, and raconteur in her poetry. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Jacquelyn Mitchard (1953 -    ) lives in Madison

Mitchard achieved fame when her first novel, "The Deep End of the Ocean", was the first selection of Oprah Winfrey's Book Club. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Lorrie Moore (1957 -    ) lives in Madison

Moore is a novelist and short story writer known for her witty dialog, incisive characters and outrageous plots. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Jorge Vital de Brito Moreira (    )

Former Lawrence Professor. Longtime Appleton Resident

John Muir (1838 - 1914) raised in Fox River Valley

One of America's greatest naturalists, and the founder of the Sierra Club, Muir was also a noted writer. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Lorine Niedecker (1903 - 1970) born in Fort Atkinson

Niedecker's poetry has been compared to that of Emily Dickinson for her spare use of words. She also wrote essays, short stories and radio plays. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Sterling North (1906 - 1974) born in Edgerton

North's books for children and adults present a nostalgic view of rural life early in the twentieth century,as illustrated by his most famous children's book, "Rascal". (Online Biography & Criticism)

Michael Perry (1964 -    ) lives in New Auburn

A free lance writer who draws on his life experiences, especially those as a volunteer firefighter, which was the basis for the popular "Population 485: meeting your neighbors one siren at a time" (Online Biography & Criticism)

Margot Peters (1933 -    ) raised in Wausau

Peters has achieved success with her biographies of literary and theatrical figures. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Felix Pollak (1909 - 1987) lived in Madison

A native of Vienna, Austria, Pollock was a prominent poet and essayist, and curator of the Rare Book Room and Little Magazine Collection at the University of Wisconsin–Madison Memorial Library. The Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry was founded in 1994. It is awarded annually to the best book-length manuscript of original poetry submitted in an open competition. The award is administered by the University of Wisconsin–Madison English department, and the winner is chosen by a nationally recognized poet. The resulting book is published by the University of Wisconsin Press. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Francis Paul Prucha (1921 -    ) raised in River Falls

Pruchas is both a Catholic priest and a professor of history at marquette University. His specialty is the American West, particularly American Indian policy. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Sara Rath (    ) born in Manawa

Born in Manawa, Wi, Rath is a versatile talent in a wide range of genres, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, print, radio, and television. (Online Biography & Criticism)

George Reedy (1917 - 1999) lived in Milwaukee

Reedy lived a life in politics, including service as a special assistant to President Lyndon Johnson (Online Biography & Criticism)

William H. Rehnquist (1924 - 1986) born in Milwaukee

Rehnquist served as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. As one would expect, his books deal with American law. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Craig Rice (1908 - 1957) raised in Fort Atkinson

"Craig Rice" is a pen name of Georgia Ann Randolph. Under the Rice name, she wrote a series of mysteries, known for their hard-boiled detectives and witty dialog. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Jess Riley (    )

Her debut novel, Driving Sideways, has been described as "embracing both highs and lows, alternately hilarious, humiliating, and heartbreaking, often within the same sentence. Smart and funny without being forced, sentimental without being maudlin" A new talent to watch in the future Wisconsin native

Patrick Rothfuss (1973 -    ) Lives in Stevens Point

According to his webpage...Patrick Rothfuss had the good fortune to be born in Wisconsin where long winters and lack of cable television brought about a love of reading and writing. His mother read to him as a child, and his father taught him to build things. If you are looking for the roots of his storytelling, look there. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Richard Schickel (1933 -    ) born in Milwaukee

Film critic for "Time" magazine, Schickel has written many books about movies and the arts. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Mark Schorer (1908 - 1977) born in Sauk City

Schorer was a literary critic, biographer and novelist. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Larry Shue (1946 - 1985) lived in Milwaukee

Shue was the resident playwright of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater. His plays are noted for their wild comedy and have been performed around the world. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Clifford Simak (1904 - 1988) born in Millville

Considered one of the greatest writers of science fiction, Simak won three Hugo Awards and two Nebula Awards, and was named a Grand Master by the Science Fiction Writers of America. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Red Smith (1905 - 1982) born in Green Bay

Red (Walter Wellesley) Smith is considered one of America's greatest sportswriters. His many honors include a Pulitzer Prize. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Peter Straub (1943 -    ) born in Milwaukee

Straub is one of America's most popular writers of horror and suspense. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Gladys Bagg Taber (1899 - 1980) raised in Appleton

Taber grew up in Appleton as the daughter of a Lawrence professor. She is best known for her warm-hearted books about everyday life. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Reuben Gold Thwaites (1853 - 1913) lived in Madison

Thwaites was a librarian, editor, educator and historian who specialized in Wisconsin history. He is credited with creating the modern Wisconsin Historical Society. (Online Biography & Criticism)

John Toland (1912 - 2004) born in LaCrosse

Toland was a prominent American historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for The Rising Sun. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Frederick Jackson Turner (1861 - 1932) born in Portage

One of America's greatest historians, Turner achieved fame with his paper "The Significance of the Frontier in American History." He studied and was later a professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Thorstein Veblen (1857 - 1929) born in Cato

Veblen is considered one of America's greatest economists and social scientists. (Online Biography & Criticism)

George Vukelich (1927 - 1965)

Vukelich has a passion for the outdoors, where he focused on writing engaging accounts about hunting and fishing in the remote areas of Wisconsin. In the late 60s and early 70s, Vukelich was a local radio celebrity for a show called "Pages from a North Country Notebook," which called attention to environmental issues. He also wrote for newspapers including the Wisconsin State Journal and Wisconsin Trails Magazine.

Ronald Wallace (1945 -    ) lives in Madison

A nationally acclaimed poet, Wallace is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Larry Watson (1947 -    ) lives in Stevens Point

Watson, a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin - Steven's Point, is a poet and novelist. His fiction deals with life on the western plains; "the dark side of Lake Woebegone," in his words (Online Biography & Criticism)

S. Kay Weber (    )

SANJA GEISE writing as S. KAY WEBER, author of SPAGHETTI WITH MURDER and DOUBLE TRUFFLE, "culinary mysteries" featuring chef and amateur sleuth Terri Springe.

Glenway Wescott (1901 - 1987) born in Kewaskum

A poet, novelist and critic, Wescott made his reputation with "The Grandmothers and Good-bye, Wisconsin, autobiographical novels set in his native state. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Thornton Wilder (1897 - 1975) born in Madison

One of America's favorite playwrights, Wilder won the Pulitzer Prize for "Our Town" and again for "The Skin of Our Teeth." (Online Biography & Criticism)

T. Harry Williams (1909 - 1976) born in Portage

Williams was a noted Civil War historian. (Online Biography & Criticism)

Betty Ren Wright (1927 -    ) Lives in Racine

Wright is a life-long fan of ghost tales and mysteries, although she enjoys reading--and writing--other kinds of stories as well. She weaves the supernatural with the real in her mysteries. Wright also continues to demonstrate her knack for telling interesting tales and remains a popular choice for young readers. As reviewer Candace Smith pointed out in Booklist, "Wright is popular for good reason: she knows how to spin a story and capture her young audience." (Online Biography & Criticism)

Wayne Youngblood (1959 -    ) lives in Scandinavia

A Scandinavia resident, he has published many feature articles on subjects ranging from American Indians, colonial history and stamp collecting, to works on famous individuals in history. Now the author of several books, including subjects Mark Twain, Mathew Brady and Edward Curtis.