‘Wicked’ celebration planned
Camden — This month marks the 10th anniversary of the Broadway sensation “Wicked,” based on the same-titled book by Gregory Maguire. Camden Public Library joins in the celebration by hosting a personal appearance by Maguire Thursday, Nov. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Camden Opera House. A Wicked Evening with Gregory Maguire is collaboration with the Farnsworth Art Museum’s “Land of Oz” events that run through March.
The Wicked series offers a new look at the Land of Oz, where animals talk and strive to be treated like first-class citizens; Munchkinlanders seek the comfort of middle-class stability; and the little green-skinned girl named Elphaba grows up to become the infamous Wicked Witch of the West — a smart, prickly, and misunderstood creature who challenges preconceived notions about the nature of good and evil. Having sold three-quarters of a million copies since its 1995 publication, “Wicked” has enjoyed a second life as a big-budget Broadway musical.
Tickets are available at the library and online at librarycamden.org/shop. Tickets are $15, $25 to include a copy of “Wicked” and the book-signing reception following the talk.
The final volume in Maguire’s Wicked books was published two years ago. “Out of Oz” brilliantly reimagined L. Frank Baum’s world over the rainbow as wracked with social unrest — placing Glinda the good witch under house arrest and having the cowardly Lion a fugitive from the law as the Emerald City prepares to make war on Munchkinland. Even Dorothy makes a triumphant return in Maguire’s magnificent Oz finale, tying up every loose green end of the series he began with “Wicked.” Amidst all this chaos, Elphaba’s granddaughter, the tiny green baby born at the close of “Son of a Witch” has come of age.
Since the publication of his first novel in 1978, Maguire has been a popular speaker at schools, bookstores and conferences all across the United States. He has led workshops in creative writing for children and for adults. Nearly all of his presentations, for children and adults alike, touch at least in part on the experiences Maguire had in his formative years.
As a child Maguire was dedicated to reading and writing. He composed more than a hundred stories and novels between age 7 and 17, and he often shows slides illustrating the development of his illustrations — and, by extension, his storytelling prowess — as a way to encourage writers of all ages to “grab authority — as an author.”
Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from Tufts University. His work as a consultant in creative writing for children has taken him to speaking engagements across the United States and abroad. He is a founder and codirector of Children’s Literature New England, Incorporated, a nonprofit educational charity established in 1987. Maguire also is a contributor to “Am I Blue?: Coming Out From the Silence,” a collection of short stories for gay and lesbian teenagers.
Other “Oz” events at the library include a talk by John Fricke, author of “The Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of an American Classic,” recently re-published by Down East Books. Fricke is a historian/author on “The Wizard of Oz” and Judy Garland. Tik Tok, the robot featured in the Oz books, will be on display at the library, on loan from the Oz collection of Tom Wilhite and Willard Carroll.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or firstname.lastname@example.org.