Program — for all ages! The theme is “Reading Colors Your World,” and this will influence all programs, prizes and signage for 2021. The Newport Public Library looks forward to welcoming you back for another summer of fun, prizes and, of course, reading!
Tod Davies, author of The History of Arcadia visionary fiction series and the Jam Today cookbook/memoir series, as well as editorial director of indie Exterminating Angel Press, will present a three-part series on Visionary Fiction the third Tuesday of June, July, and August from 6-7 pm on Zoom. Participants will have an opportunity to win a free copy of one of Tod’s books.
Tuesday, June 15, 6-7 pm presentation: Visionary Fiction and The History of Arcadia
What is 'visionary fiction'? Author Tod Davies explains, with illustrations from her own The History of Arcadia series. These books tell the story of a world literally formed by story, by one person discovering and claiming who she really is . . . and of the subsequent events that lead first to a deceptively happy world, then to an inevitably tragic outcome, and finally to a slow rebuilding of the world on foundations more deeply and thoughtfully laid. The first three novels in the series are Snotty Saves the Day, Lily the Silent, and The Lizard Princess. The fourth, told by arch villain Aspern Grayling, is Report to Megalopolis or The Post-modern Prometheus.
More aptly called “Wonder Tales” than “Fairy Tales,” The History of Arcadia series was embraced as crossover titles, prompting critics and booksellers to ask readers to “imagine Lewis Carroll with footnotes by Jonathan Swift,” while others made comparisons to Nicholson Baker, the Spiderwick Chronicles, Susanna Clark’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell, Homer, C.S. Lewis, the New Testament, Descartes, L. Frank Baum, Doris Lessing, and Joseph Campbell. The author herself credits Ursula K. LeGuin, Mary Shelley, Octavia Butler, and J.R.R. Tolkien as noble ancestors of the world of Arcadia. With their strong and loving female protagonists, accessible storylines, fantastical settings, sophisticated illustrations, and powerful messages, each novel in The History of Arcadia series is truly visionary.
We start with Snotty Saves the Day. Snotty—the unlikely hero of this tale—is a streetwise adolescent mastermind transported to a mystical realm where the fate of the world rests on discovering who he really is. His discovery: that in the endless fight against evil, the toughest warriors come from the most despised group of all—the smallest, the poorest, the funniest, the snottiest.
Tuesday, July 20, 6-7 pm presentation: Looking Back to Look Forward
Visionary Fiction appears in many guises, from children's fairy tales to YA novels to literary fiction. Today we're going to look at the second and third of The History of Arcadia series, the YA/Arthurian love story Lily the Silent and the literary fiction of The Lizard Princess. When Sophia the Lizard Princess plunges into the world of symbol made visible, discovering who she is and what her world needs, the reader, too, can experience these wonders with her. And, as in all visionary fiction, wonder if these transfer to our world as well.
“Davies’s absorbing salute to the necessity and power of storytelling promises many grand adventures while hinting that there is really only one.” —Publishers Weekly
Tuesday, August 17, 6-7 pm presentation: Visionary Fiction's Ancestry and Report to Megalopolis
Who was writing visionary fiction in the past, where is it in the present, and where is it likely to land in the future? Noble ancestors include writers such as Mary Shelley, J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Octavia Butler. Report to Megalopolis, the fourth book in The History of Arcadia series, follows in their footsteps. Readers won’t need to have read any of the other The History of Arcadia books to become engrossed in the drama of Aspern Grayling, whose obsession with creating a new life form—in the person of ruthless adventurer Pavo Vale—could destroy his whole world. A compelling descendant of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this is a tale of a man bent on conquest, and of an adversary that may yet defeat him: the ghost of the Arcadian Devindra Vale, the only woman he has ever loved.
“Readers will feel right at home in this crossover world of ‘wonder tales,’ which has been described as ‘Lewis Carroll with footnotes by Jonathan Swift.’ If that description alone doesn’t get your bachelor’s degree in English Lit all tingly, then you’re reading the wrong list.” —Westword