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Wicked (Maguire) - Author Bio

Author Bio 
Birth—June 9, 1954
Where—Albany, New York, USA
Education—B.A., State University of New York at Albany;
   M.A., Simmons College; Ph.D., Tufts University
Currently—lives in Boston, Massachusetts


Gregory Maguire is the bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror; and Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, the basis for the Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art and culture at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and the DeCordova Museum as well as at conferences around the world. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts, and in Vermont. (From the publisher.)

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Gregory Maguire is the author of four novels for adults and more than a dozen novels for children.

His adult novels, all published by HarperCollins, are Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West (1995), praised by John Updike in The New Yorker as "an amazing novel," Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999), Lost (2001), Mirror, Mirror (2003) and Son of a Witch (2005).

Wicked has been developed as a big-budget Broadway musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, The Prince of Egypt), a book by Winnie Holzman (My So-Called Life) and direction by Joe Mantello (Tony Award winning director for Take Me Out). The original cast recording, released in December 2003, features performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Joel Grey, and Idina Menzel.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister was filmed for ABC/Disney and aired originally in the Spring of 2002. It starred Stockard Channing and Jonathan Pryce.

Mr. Maguire's work for adults and for children has been published abroad in England, Ireland and Australia, and various works have been purchased for translation into French, German, Danish, Dutch, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese.

His children's novels include "The Hamlet Chronicles," a seven book series including Seven Spiders Spinning, Six Haunted Hairdos, Five Alien Elves, Four Stupid Cupids, Three Rotten Eggs, A Couple of April Fools and One Final Firecracker. Though he is best known as a fantasy writer, Mr. Maguire has also written picture books, science fiction, realistic and historic fiction.

For the Sunday New York Times Book Review Mr. Maguire has published signal reviews of significant fantasies by J. K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, and Maurice Sendak. He has also contributed articles, essays and fiction in journals such as Ploughshares, the Boston Review, Christian Science Monitor, Horn Book Magazine, and others.

Mr. Maguire has been the recipient of several awards and fellowships. He was artist in residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, and has received fellowship residencies at Blue Mountain Center, New York; the Hambidge Center, Georgia; The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts; and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Vermont. In addition to writing, Mr. Maguire is a national figure in children's literature education. He was a professor and associate director of the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College, 1979 through 1986. Since 1986 he has been codirector and founding board member of Children's Literature New England, Incorporated, a nonprofit that focuses attention on the significance of literature in the lives of children.

Mr. Maguire received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature at Tufts University (1990). He has lived abroad in Dublin and London, and now makes his principal home in Massachusetts. (From the author's website.)

Extras
From a 2003 interview with Barnes & Noble:

• While I pride myself on trying to be creative in all areas of my life, I have occasionally gone overboard, like the time I decided to bring to a party a salad that I constructed, on a huge rattan platter, to look like a miniature scale model of the Gardens of Babylon. I built terraces with chunks of Monterey jack, had a forest of broccoli florets and a lagoon of Seven Seas salad dressing spooned into a half a honeydew melon. I made reed patches out of scallion tips and walkways out of sesame seeds lined with raisin borders. Driving to the party, I had to brake to avoid a taxi, and by the time the police flagged me down for poor driving skills I was nearly weeping. ‘But Officer, I have a quickly decomposing Hanging Gardens of Babylon to deliver....' Everything had slopped and fallen over and it looked like a tray of vegetable garbage."

• My first job was scooping ice cream at Friendly's in Albany, New York. I hated the work, most of my colleagues, and the uniform, and I more or less lost my taste for ice cream permanently."

• If I hadn't been a writer, I would have tried to be one of the following: An artist (watercolors), a singer/songwriter like Paul Simon (taller but not very much more), an architect (domestic), a teacher. Actually, in one way or another I have done all of the above, but learned pretty quickly that my skills needed more honing for me to charge for my services, and I'd always rather write fiction than hone skills."

• I steal a bit from one of my favorite writers to say, simply, that I enjoy, most of all, old friends and new places. I love to travel. Having small children at home now impedes my efforts a great deal, but I have managed in my time to get to Asia, Africa, most of Europe, and Central America. My wish list of places not yet visited includes India, Denmark, Brazil, and New Zealand, and my wish for friends not yet made includes, in a sense, readers who are about to discover my work, either now or even when I'm no longer among the living. In a sense, in anticipation, I value those friends in a special way."

When asked about what book influenced him most as a writer, here is his response:

While I didn't know it at the time, eventually I have come to believe that T. H. White's The Once and Future King was the most influential book. I observed in it several admirable attributes that I try to make hallmarks of my own work. First, the book is derived from a popular set of myths and commonly held stories that form part of our Western foundation myth (the King Arthur stories). Second, the book is by turns profound, endearing, and comical. Third, the story is unwieldy in a way that seems organic and special.

("More" and "Extras" from Barnes & Noble)




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