Lost and Found

February 6, 2012
Kurt Vonnegut UW Madison 2003

Author Kurt Vonnegut speaks in the Wisconsin Union Theater as part of the Wisconsin Union Directorate's 2003-04 Distinguished Lecture Series. Photo by Michael Forster Rothbart.

“If you want your child to be a writer, go bankrupt.”

The theme of the upcoming 2012 Wisconsin Book Festival is “Lost and Found.”  Every year the Wisconsin Book Festival accepts and encourages submissions from writers around the state and the country who would like to present at the annual fest in Madison. Publishers and groups can also submit ideas for authors and events. This year’s Festival is November 7-11.   It is a gathering for creative and passionate voices working and writing today in all genres. The deadline for submissions is March 30, 2012.

I’ve been thinking about writers lately. I’ve been on a kick since I saw “Midnight In Paris,” written and directed by Woody Allen. The main character of the film is quite lost. He then finds his courage and voice by interacting with the “lost generation” of writers living in Paris in the 1920s. It’s a humanities movie, in a fun way!

According to an article by David Kipen in the latest issue of the magazine of the National Endowment for the Humanities, losing a fortune is one formula for raising kids who are writers. He cites various examples of well-known authors who had that experience (like Kurt Vonnegut and John Steinbeck) and went on to make their mark in American literature.

Davy Rothbart at the Wisconsin Book Festival 2007

Davy Rothbart, founder of “Found” Magazine, at a Wisconsin Book Festival event in 2007. Photo by Michael Forster Rothbart.

In Paris or in a daydream, we wander and get lost. We lose a penny, or a fortune. We find hope. We find treasures.

What does the “Lost and Found” bring to mind for you?

Mark your calendars for November 7-11, 2012! Visit www.wisconsinbookfestival.org.

by Jessica Becker, Director of Public Programs at the Wisconsin Humanities Council