Literary Legends 2015

Gregory Maguire is an Albany native who received international acclaim for his “Wicked” series of novels, the first of which tells the story of L. Frank Baum’s “Wicked Witch of the West” and was turned into a wildly successful Broadway musical. Maguire has written dozens of books and short stories, including “The Hamlet Chronicles” series for children. He is a graduate of the University at Albany, and holds a master’s degree from Simmons College and a doctorate in English and American Literature from Tufts University. In addition to his writing, Maguire has taught at the college level and has been an active champion of the importance of literature in the lives of children.

“Albany gave me a safe and stimulating childhood. The Catholic schools and the Pine Hills library were stricture and liberation in equal measure,” Maguire said.

Barbara Smith is a nationally recognized African-American feminist author who has rooted herself in Albany for decades. She has written extensively on issues of gender, race, sexuality, and social justice in Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around and Yours in Struggle, among others. Smith has a bachelor’s degree from Mount Holyoke College, as well as a master’s degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh and completed all but her doctoral dissertation in English at the University of Connecticut. In addition to her written work, Smith has taught at several institutes of higher education and been active in Albany politics.

“I am so thrilled to be chosen as one of the Albany Public Library’s Literary Legends,” said Smith. “Recognition of my work as a writer means the world to me. The fact that it comes APL—an institution that I love—makes it even better.”