© 2024 Milwaukee Public Media is a service of UW-Milwaukee's College of Letters & Science
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
The library is more than just books. Every month, the Milwaukee Public Library joins Lake Effect to share resources, book recommendations and cool stuff you might not know about.

Local author Nghi Vo added to the Wisconsin Writers Wall of Fame

The Wisconsin Writers Wall of Fame at the Milwaukee Public Library Central Branch
Audrey Nowakowski
The Wisconsin Writers Wall of Fame at the Milwaukee Public Library Central Branch

The library is more than just books. For some, it’s a third space to relax, read, research, work, or — in the case of local author Nghi Vo — write award winning books.

Vo's name was added to the Milwaukee Public Library’s Wisconsin Writers Wall of Fame at their Central Library branch, along with Ayad Akhtar and the late Gene DeWeese. The wall pays tribute to a spectrum of literary talents whose work has been influenced by their life and experiences here in Wisconsin.

MPL librarian, Beth Gabriel reveals the foundational history of the wall and what it was established for. "The wall was launched in 1997 and the point was to honor writers who have had literary impact, who have had their impact in part by being either born here in Wisconsin or I've had lived here a significant amount of time," she says. "So, we identify people that have lived here, worked here, played here, written here, and had a Wisconsin presence."

Author Nghi Vo
Photo courtesy of Nghi Vo
Author Nghi Vo

The announcement was welcome news to Vo. Originally from Illinois, Vo moved to Wisconsin in 2007. "I love living here. I love living by the lake," says Vo. "There are a lot of things that brought me to Wisconsin and have made me decide to stay. And I'm just having honestly, the best time here."

Being permanently enshrined in a library is a tremendous honor for Vo that takes her back to being in a library for the very first time. "At the age of about nine is when I took my very first visit to a real library. And I was just so impressed that this whole place was for me, and I remember sitting with this phrase of, 'All I've ever wanted is for libraries to like me.' And that's what [being enshrined] feels like. It feels like the library likes me, and that's wonderful," says Vo.

Vo is the author of the novels Siren Queen, The Chosen and the Beautiful, as well as many other novellas and short stories. She has in fact written a fair amount of her published works at the East Side library.

"The library is a very wonderfully welcoming place that supports its local literally community," says Vo.

Gabriel adds, "And I have to mention too ... I think it's going to mean a lot to a lot of people to see [Nghi Vo] on that wall and Ayad Ahktar's name on that wall. The first author of color was only inducted in 2018, which was John Ridley Jr. So we're coming further here and we want to show that Wisconsin has literary talent from all voices."


Audrey is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Rob is All Things Considered Host and Digital Producer.
Related Content