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  • NYS Writers Institute

Video: Gregory Maguire, author of "Wicked," interviewed by Paul Grondahl

Just a pair of UAlbany alumni sitting down for a conversation...

Editor's note: This video conversation was first published April 29, 2021. We're reposting it today -- June 9 -- to recognize the shared birthday of Gregory and Paul.

New York State Writers Institute director Paul Grondahl (M.A. in English, Class of 1984) interviews "Wicked" author Gregory Maguire (B.A. in English and Art, Class of '76) in this sit-down interview on Zoom. Paul is off-camera in the video, but you'll enjoy this lively discussion with two excellent conversationalists.

Gregory talks about the effect of the coronavirus on creativity, memories of growing up in Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood, the magic of libraries, the joy and challenge of book signings, and his big break: the massive success of his 1995 book Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West that inspired the blockbuster 2003 musical "Wicked." Before the pandemic shut down New York City, "Wicked" had been the fifth-longest running show on Broadway.

In 2018, Gregory established The Maguire Family Endowment at the NYS Writers Institute to provide financial support to host authors throughout the year. The $500,000 endowment is in honor of his family and, in particular, his parents John Maguire, Helen Gregory Maguire, and Marie McAuliff Maguire. “I never knew my birth mother Helen except through legend because she died when I was born,” Maguire said. “However, my father and my second mother (Marie) talked about her so winningly – she was my second mother’s best friend from childhood – that I know her interest in literature was as rich as theirs.”

More about Gregory Maguire at

Sponsored by the UAlbany Alumni Association.


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