The Northwoods Book Festival is a joint project of six libraries in northern Wisconsin: Boulder Junction Public Library, Frank B. Koller Memorial Library in Manitowish Waters, Mercer Public Library, Minocqua Public Library, Presque Isle Community Library, and Winchester Public Library. 

All programs are free and open to the public. The Northwoods Book Festival series is sponsored by a grant from the St. Matthias Thrift Shop in Minocqua.

The lineup for this summer is still being finalized. 

Tuesday, May 28: Karen Dionne, “The Marsh King’s Daughter”

At the Presque Isle Library: refreshments at 5:30 with book talk at 6 p.m. 

When the notorious child abductor, “The Marsh King,” escapes from a maximum security prison in Michigan’s remote Upper Peninsula wilderness, Helena Pelletier is sure she can use the hunting and tracking skills she learned as a child to find him. After all, no one is The Marsh King’s equal when it comes to navigating the marshland — except Helena herself, his daughter.

But as Helena hunts her father to return him to prison, gradually she realizes his escape is the first step in an elaborate scheme to kidnap her and her two young daughters. As their cat and quarry game unfolds, she must use all of her wilderness skills not only to thwart his plan, but to survive it.

Tuesday, June 18: Scott Spoolman: “Wisconsin State Parks”

From 7 to 8 p.m. at the Boulder Junction Library.

In “Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History,” science writer Scott Spoolman takes readers with him to 28 state parks and forests where evidence of the state’s striking geologic and natural history are on display. The author tells stories of events and processes that shaped Wisconsin’s landscapes, including volcanic eruptions, invasions by ancient seas, crushing glaciers, and centuries of erosion. The book includes one or more trail guides for each park, which hikers can take with them on the trail to view evidence of Wisconsin’s geologic and natural history up close for themselves. Wisconsin State Parks was the Wisconsin Historical Society Press’s best-selling title in 2018.

Monday, June 24: Peter Annin, “Great Lakes Water Wars”

From 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Mercer Public Library.

The Great Lakes are the largest collection of fresh surface water on earth, and more than 40 million Americans and Canadians live in their basin. How that water is used by, or diverted from, those people is the story of The Great Lakes Water Wars. These wars are coming. A controversial compact to manage the waters of the Great Lakes through this century will be considered by eight state legislatures and Congress in the years ahead. Peter Annin writes a fast-paced account of the people and stories behind these upcoming battles.

Thursday, July 18: John Bates, “Our Living Ancestors”

From 4 to 5 p.m. at the Winchester Public Library.

Local author and naturalist John Bates, the author of nine books and a contributor to seven others, has worked as a naturalist in Wisconsin’s Northwoods for 29 years. 

Old-growth forests touch the soul of many people. Some hear the echoes of Native Americans or the first settlers. Some feel the great age of the trees and revere them, while others feel they are in the presence of an overwhelmingly rare beauty. Still others understand the profound scientific value of old-growth forests as reference systems for what forests can be.

This book directs visitors to the 50 best old-growth sites left in Wisconsin. Each site has clear directions, a listing of ownership, size, and age, and a description of its ecological features, with perhaps a story of why it was saved. A map and photo(s) illustrates each site. An additional shorter chapter includes the “50 Best-of- the-Rest.”

Thursday, July 25: Chad Lewis, “UFOs of Wisconsin”

From 4 to 5 p.m. at the Winchester Public Library.

Wisconsin has a rich history of UFO and alien encounters. Each year, hundreds of people witness something in the sky they cannot explain. Paranormal researcher Chad Lewis will discuss some of the most amazing UFO encounters WI has to offer.

Tuesday, Aug. 6: Melanie McManus, “Thousand Miler”

From 7 to 8 p.m. at the Boulder Junction Library.

In 36 thrilling days, Melanie Radzicki McManus hiked 1,100 miles around Wisconsin, landing her in the elite group of Ice Age Trail thru-hikers known as the Thousand-Milers. In prose that’s alternately harrowing and humorous, “Thousand-Miler” takes readers on an “into-the-wild” experience through Wisconsin’s forests, prairies, wetlands, farms, and far-flung small towns. Follow along as she worries about wildlife encounters, wonders if her injured feet will ever recover, and searches for an elusive fellow hiker known as Papa Bear. Woven throughout her account are details of the history of the still-developing Ice Age Trail — one of just 11 National Scenic Trails — and helpful insight and strategies for undertaking a successful thru-hike. 

For more information on any of these author appearances or the full schedule visit www.northwoodsbookfest. org or find Northwoods Books Fest on Facebook.