From The Archives

Celebrated author and alumnus Gregory Maguire ’76 cast a spell over the public with his captivating novel Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, that spawned the smash Broadway musical. We asked him how he summoned such an imaginative tale. 

Wicked Book Cover

“The opening passages of my novel, WICKED – this page, ‘A Brief History of Oz,’ being a trial beginning, a dead end, that I jettisoned – were written in a student notebook I bought in Kenya in 1992,” said Maguire via email. “I usually begin books by hand, finding that the slower process of hand-writing helps me choose my words more carefully (if only because I pause to rest my wrist). Honing in on tone is more important than the invention of incident. Once the tone seems to have set, as it were, I transcribe early pages onto a laptop, thereby tricking my creative subconscious into being able to continue creating on a keyboard.”  

These notebooks, along with a vast collection of personal and professional papers, manuscripts, diaries, and memorabilia spanning more than 50 years, were donated by the author to the University in 2012.  The Gregory Maguire Papers are housed in the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives and are available for research by appointment.