Book Lovers Prepare for the Return of the 16th Annual Great Midwest Book Fest in Milwaukee

Filling the Opportunity

Milwaukee is filled with book lovers and for Radiah Hubbert, the co-founder of Urban Reviews Online, that love is often overlooked by major book festivals traveling across the United States.

Alongside her late husband, Charles Hubbert, the couple decided to create the Great Midwest Book Fest based in the city of Milwaukee to ensure that the city’s bookworms have access to a wide range of book genres and the opportunity to meet local and award-winning authors.

“People get a chance to hear about the authors and talk to them and it feels good to see something extremely positive,” said Hubbert. “People have a good time and for some of the authors, it’s like a reunion. It’s very gratifying.”

The festival is presented by Urban Reviews Online, Hubbert’s online site that provides reviews of the latest fiction by Black authors. 

Sixteen Years Strong

Radiah Hubbert, third from the left, and participants of the 15th annual Great Midwest Book Fest. (Picture by Radiah Hubbert)
Radiah Hubbert, third from the left, and participants of the 15th annual Great Midwest Book Fest. (Picture by Radiah Hubbert)

The book festival began in 2008 on Milwaukee’s Northside in an old hall that no longer exists.  At first, the festival drew in around 30 to 40 visitors. This year, the festival will be held at the Xchange Event & Creative Space located at 334 N. Holton St. with an expected attendance of around 80 to 100 people.

The festival will be held on June 22, 2024, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. with an admission cost of $10. Children are free.

Similarly to her online book review site, Hubbert wanted the festival to specifically highlight Black authors. Each year the festival invites headline authors to represent their work.

“There’s thousands and thousands of authors, but what I seen is we need that representation and African-American authors need that outlet,” said Hubbert. “ Here in Milwaukee too, people get the chance to see that yeah there are authors that look like me and letting people know that there are African-American authors have science-fiction, they write romance, they write mysteries.”

This year’s headlining authors are New York Times Bestselling author Kimberla Lawson Roby and USA Today Bestselling author Naleighna Kai. Other authors include Tony Lindsay, Jeffery Roshell, Kay Shanee, Vivian King, Barron Smith, Eugene Pitchford, and more.

For more information about the Great Midwest Book Fest click here

Maria Peralta-Arellano is a Milwaukee-native journalist who focuses on sharing news from her local communities. She dedicates her work to accessibility and producing bilingual coverage focused on arts, culture, and politics. She looks to explore her community through a journalistic and creative lens.

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