Books by authors born in Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is (and has been) home to many writers, authors, poets, and playwrights. Some grew up here, some attended school here, some moved here from other places, but surprisingly few were born here.

This list is a Quintessential Madison work-in-progress featuring books by writers born in Madison, Wisconsin (even if they didn’t live here very long). Some their names you’ll recognize. Others have been “forgotten,” but are worth rediscovering. If a book is out-of-print, you may have to check your local library for a copy, or search used book stores (local and online). Some of the older books have expired copyrights and are now in the public domain as free downloads.

If you know about a Madison-born author who isn’t on this list, please join the conversation by sending an e-mail to

List of published authors born in Madison, Wisconsin:

Georgia Beaverson (aka Aiden Beaverson) – Author of young adult fantasy novel “The Hidden Arrow of Maether”

Berton Braley (1882-1966) – More than 20 books of poetry and stories; a memoir, Pegusus Pulls a Hack: Memoirs of a Modern Minstrel (1934)

Glen Thomas Hierlmeier (b. 1945) – A graduate of Madison Central High School and the Air Force Academy, Hierlmeier has published two novels — Honor and Innocence: Against the Tides of War and Lazlo’s Revenge — and several memoirs, including We Had to Live: We Had No Choice…, which has several chapters about Glen ‘n’ Ann’s Cozy Inn, a popular local tavern near the UW-Madison campus that is now home to The Nitty Gritty.

David Maraniss (b. 1949) – Pulitzer Prize winning journalist for The Washington Post and author of several non-fiction books, including When Pride Still Mattered: A Life Of Vince Lombardi and They Marched into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967

Patrick McGilligan (b. 1951) – Film critic and author of acclaimed biographies of film directors and movie stars, including Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light; Cukor: A Double Life; Jack’s Life: A Biography of Jack Nicholson; Oscar Micheaux, The Great and Only: The Life of America’s First Black Filmmaker. He is also the co-author (with Paul Buhle) of Tender Comrades, A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist. Patrick’s most recent book is Young Orson: The Years of Luck and Genius on the Path to Citizen Kane.

Fred Milverstedt – Journalist and co-founder of Isthmus and author of One More Ride, “a collection of stories and remembrances of a life spent on unique motorcycle journeys on the highways and byways of the Upper Midwest and beyond”

Sonia Nazario (b. 1960) – Pulitzer Prize-winning features writer for The Los Angeles Times and author of Enrique’s Journey, “the unforgettable odyssey of a Honduran boy who braves unimaginable hardship and peril to reach his mother in the United States.”

Leslie W. Quirk ((1882-1960) – Author of Jimmy Goes to War (1931); co-author with Leslie Quirk of Into Thin Air (1929); author of How to Write a Short Story: An Exposition of the Technique of Short Fiction (available as a free PDF download)

Patrick Rothfuss (b. 1973) – Author of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, the first two books in The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy

Alice Seybold (b. 1963) – Author of the memoir Lucky (1999) and two novels, The Lovely Bones (2002) and The Almost Moon (2007)

Thornton Wilder (1897-1975) – Author of seven novels, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Bridge of San Luis Rey; and playwright who garnered Pulitzer Prizes for two of his four major plays, Our Town (1938) and The Skin of Our Teeth (1943)

Horatio G. Winslow (1882–1972) – Editor of The Masses; author of Rhymes and meters: A practical manual for versifiers (1906); Some Wander Songs and Other Verse (available as a free PDF download); The Lost Halo: A Christmas Tale (1941); co-author with Leslie Quirk of Into Thin Air (1929); prolific short story writer

This page was last updated on 12/19/2016