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Stephen Merritt

Stephen Merritt of the band Magnetic Fields will appear at this year's Wisconsin Book Festival.

An indie rock legend, a mortician and some teen hip-hop artists will join a roster of New York Times best-selling authors and local scribes at this year’s Wisconsin Book Festival.

The festival, sponsored by the Madison Public Library, will take place Oct. 16 to Oct. 19, using the Central Library as its hub, along with events at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery, A Room of One’s Own bookstore and elsewhere. The schedule for the free festival was posted this week at

Those taking part in this year’s festival include:

Stephen Merritt, who will delight Words with Friends players with his book "101 Two-Letter Words," a collection of 91 four-line poems about two-letter words, each with an illustration by New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast. (Oct. 18, 9 p.m., Central Library)

Gail Sheehy, author of the biography “Hillary’s Choice,” will talk about her own choices in “Daring,” a memoir of her time as a female journalist in the male-dominated world of 1960s newspapers. (Oct. 17, 7:30 p.m., Central Library)

Reginald Gaines, Grammy- and Tony-nominated writer of “Bring in Da Noise, Bring in Da Funk,” will appear as part of the “First Wave” program featuring poetry slam and hip-hop artists. (Oct. 16, 7:30 p.m., Overture Center Promenade Hall)

Sean Lewis, author of “We Make Beer,” a book about America’s craft beer movement. And, yes, this reading will be held in a venue that serves beer. (Oct. 17, 5 p.m., Great Dane on Doty Street)

Curtis Sittenfield, author of “Prep” and “American Wife,” will read from her new novel “Sisterland” as part of a Madison Writers’ Studio panel with Michelle Wildgen and Susanna Daniel. (Oct. 18, 11:30 a.m., Central Library)

Anthony Doerr, author of “All the Light We Cannot See,” the intertwining stories of a young French girl and a young German boy trying to survive the horrors of World War II (Oct. 18, 6 p.m., Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery)

Michael Perry, humorist and author of nonfiction books like “Coop,” will present his first young adult novel, “The Scavengers.” (Oct. 19, 11 a.m., Central Library)

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Caitlin Doughty, a mortician who has written her first book about her funeral home experiences, “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Other Lessons From the Crematory.” (Oct. 17, 9 p.m., Central Library)

Jim Moore, an award-winning poet whose new book “Underground” collects new and selected poems from his acclaimed 30 year body of work. (Oct. 17, 7 p.m., Central Library)

Aneesh Chopra, President Obama’s appointee as the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer, will discuss his new book “Innovative State,” a prescription for how governments can use technology to innovate the way private industry has. (Oct. 18, 1:30 p.m., Central Library)

In addition, there will be several events in the weeks leading up to the festival, including the premiere of “Take It Off the Shelf” (Sept. 24), a serious of monologues about banned books by Forward Theatre Company, and an appearance by “The Art of Racing in the Rain” author Garth Stein (Oct. 3) talking about his new book “A Sudden Light.”

Rob Thomas is the features editor and social media editor for the Capital Times, as well as its film critic. He joined the Cap Times in 1999 and has written about movies, music, food and books.