As Artist-in-Residence in 1994, Gregory Maguire brought a novelist’s interest in character and plot to the Gardner Museum. In his Eye of the Beholder lecture, Death and Perfection: The Gardner Madonnas Speak, Maguire discussed themes of motherly attitudes and the nature of childhood as seen through different depictions of the Virgin and Child in the Gardner collection.
In education programs, Maguire shared his own experiences becoming an author with students from the Lincoln, Farragut, and Tobin schools, and helped them develop their own writing by keeping journals. He returned to the Gardner in April 2006 to give a Noontime Talk, sharing an excerpt from a work in progress: What The Dickens: The Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy (2009).
Raised in a family of writers, Gregory Maguire grew up loving books, especially fairy tales and fantasy fiction. He released his first book for children, The Lightning Time, in 1978, just two years after graduating from the State University of New York at Albany. In 1995, he published his first adult novel. A bold, revisionist view of Frank L. Baum's classic Oz stories, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West places one of literature's most reviled characters at the center of a dark dystopian fantasy and raises provocative questions about the very nature of good and evil. The book was turned into the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical Wicked in 2003.
In the wake of his breakthrough novel, Maguire made something of a specialty out of turning classic children's tales on their heads. He retold the legends of Cinderella and Snow White in Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister (1999) and Mirror, Mirror (2003); he raised the ghost of Ebenezer Scrooge in Lost (2001); and, in 2005, he returned to Oz for Son of a Witch, the long-awaited sequel to Wicked. He has reviewed fantasy fiction for the New York Times Book Review and has contributed his own articles, essays, and stories to publications like Ploughshares, The Boston Review, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Horn Book Magazine. He has taught in and co-directed the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and was a founding member of Children's Literature New England (CLNE), a nonprofit organization that focused on the significance of literature in the lives of children. He has served on boards at the Gardner Museum (since 2011), the Boston Public Library, and the Concord Free Press.