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Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books

David Zucker and his new book
David Zucker discusses his new book, “Surely You Can’t Be Serious” at the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books.

The Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books is an annual community celebration of literacy and the arts held the first weekend of November. It is an event where local and national authors and readers of all ages come together to enjoy presentations, performances, creativity and conversation. This year’s keynote speaker is David Zucker, the legendary filmmaker of “Airplane!” which he created with partners Jim Abrahams and Jerry Zucker. They’re out with a new book, “Surely You Can’t be Serious: The True Story of Airplane” on sale October 3, 2023. Zucker will be interviewed by Gino Salamone at the festival on Friday, November 3.

This event is free for the public to attend. Numerous authors will provide presentations and panel discussions and there will be book signings and opportunities to meet the authors and buy books throughout the event.

The festival officially runs November 3-4, but there are two pre-festival events:

  • October 13 at 7:00 pm: Film historians David Fantle and Tom Johnson will give an in-person talk on their latest book: C’mon, Get Happy the Making of Summer Stock. Summer Stock is a 1950 MGM musical starring Judy Garland and Gene Kelly and it was Garland’s final film at the studio she called home for 15 years. They will trace the history of this “troubled” production as well as provide insights into the mechanics of MGM’s famous musical film factory system.
  • November 2 at 7:00 pm: Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Bob Woodward, famous for his Watergate reporting at the Washington Post and decades of stellar reporting, will be speaking about, “The Past, Present and Future of the American Presidency.”

Some presentations require pre-registration. See the Festival website for the full description of the event and schedule.

  • Event Organizer: Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books
  • Start Date: October 13, 2023
  • End Date: November 4, 2023
  • Registration Website:
Hours Open

October 13: 7:00 – 9:00 pm

November 2: 7:00 – 9:00 pm

November 3: 5:00 – 9:00 pm

November 4: 8:45 am – 5:00 pm

See the full schedule

  • Street Address: UW-Milwaukee at Waukesha
    1500 N. University Drive