October 2011

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liveIn the Moment with Alison Jones Chaim Turning the page on another eventful year at the Wisconsin Book Festival Plastered across the wall in a downtown offi ce, an array of Post-it notes holds the key. Color-coded to represent an author or event, the notes have found their fi nal resting places in the time slots of a schedule that spans several days and many well- loved Madison venues. All together they create the rainbow of events slated for this month's Wisconsin Book Festival. Now entering its 10th year, the im- Book It! Mark your calendars for the 10th annual Wisconsin Book Festival, Oct. 19-23. Visit wiscon- for more information. pressive roster is the handiwork of Alison Jones Chaim, director of the festival, and her staff, who spent the last year booking the nearly 20 headlining authors (includ- ing literary stars Jeffrey Eugenides, Myla Goldberg and Jacquelyn Mitchard) and countless others. "I was working last night until 3 a.m.," Jones Chaim confesses. "I just got on a roll." If Jones Chaim is exhausted by the work, you'd never notice. Both en- ergetic and articulate, the 44-year- old mother of twin sons is at home in the literary world. A native of Michigan, Jones Chaim earned her bachelor's degree in English before landing a managing position at Borders in Madison. When she learned that the Wis- consin Humanities Council was hiring a director for the book festival, Jones Chaim was quick to throw her hat in the ring. And while the book publishing world is chang- ing, she sees a bright future ahead. "With e-books coming in [many wonder if] there will be a need for the Book Festi- val,'' Jones Chaim explains. "If anything, I think [the interest in books has risen, and] will increase [interest in the festival]." Th e nonprofi t event draws estimated crowds of more than 10,000 bibliophiles to connect with authors at readings, panel discussions and more. But Jones Chaim is always looking for ways to expand their reach, building partnerships with the Goodman and Atwood Community Cen- ters, Centro Hispano and others. For Jones Chaim, the festival's mission all comes back to a simple premise. "We're always trying to broaden the conversation ... and make sure [more] peo- ple [get to hear] each other's stories." October 2011 11 Photo by Shanna Wolf

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