Introduction Kelly Dwyer

In the fall of 2012, the members of the Summerset Festival of the Arts Literary Committee— which then consisted of UW-BSC Senior Lecturer Kelly Dwyer, Academic Librarian Ann Vogl, and Village Booksmith owner Annie Randall—were tossing around ideas about how we could bring literature to the greater Sauk county community. Ann Vogl suggested a community novel, based on an article she read by David Lee King and Michael Porter in American Libraries Magazine. But how would the committee come up with a concept for the novel? “I’ll have my students do it,” said Kelly.

And so Kelly went to her “Boo-U” English 203/204 Creative Writing class and made a pitch. The students responded with plenty of pitches of their own, and finally, during a vibrant discussion, the class settled on an idea: a two-lane highway in a small town in Wisconsin is going to be expanded into a four-lane highway as a thoroughfare to a larger city. What if writers wrote different chapters detailing the stories of the businesses, farms, and homes that would be destroyed due to eminent domain? What if each author could choose the type of place that would be demolished—maybe a home, or a beauty parlor, or a church, or a farm, or a bar—and … what if each building housed a secret?

College students and writers throughout the community responded, and the first ever community novel of Baraboo and its surrounding areas was born.

The literary committee has since grown to also include Baraboo Public Library Director Meg Allen; UW-BSC Library Director Marc Boucher; and UW-BSC student Candice Wade. This book would not exist without the hard work of the committee members, as well as that of Asso- ciate Dean David Armstrong; Director of Summerset Festival of the Arts Dr. Lauren Love; and Director of Development Bridget Morrey-Seals. We are grateful to them, and for the writers who responded so enthusiastically with their beautiful and interesting responses.

We hope you enjoy Eminent Domain as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it. And if you want to find out about how to submit to 2014’s community novel project, please contact Kelly Dwyer at




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