"Fairy tales were and still are comfort reading to me," said Gregory Maguire, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West during a special library-sponsored appearance at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre on Wednesday evening, March 9.
More than 200 people turned out to hear Maguire deliver a lively 75-minute exploration of creativity and storytelling titled, "No Rest for the Wicked: On Reading and Writing Fantasy....and the Magic of Broadway."
"Life itself is the most wonderful of fairy tales," began Maguire by quoting one of his favorite fairy tale authors, Hans Christian Andersen. From there Maguire candidly shared his story of a tough childhood in Albany, New York, "All the fairy tales I came across as a child seemed to be secret biographies of me." With equal parts wit and wisdom, Maguire took the audience on an intimate journey by projecting family photographs and images of his earliest stories already filled with adventure and fantasy. "I wrote more than 100 stories between fourth and tenth grade. I'd finish one and say that was fun, let's do it again."
That same enthusiasm continues today. Maguire has published 38 books including his latest novel, After Alice
, a new twist on the Lewis Carroll classic Alice in Wonderland.
Since its publication in 1995, Wicked has sold five million copies and became the basis for the smash hit Tony-award winning Broadway musical. Maguire showed the audience the original draft of the award-winning novel, a handwritten manuscript. "Look, it's pen, paper, I'm using notebooks. I'm still writing much like I did in fourth grade."
Following his animated presentation, Maguire took questions from the audience and shared insights on his writing process.
"All of my stories begin with a moral or intellectual question like what is evil and where does it come from or what is beauty," said Maguire.
The evening ended with a book signing and meet and greet with the author in the lobby of the Metropolis.