Day 17: “Goblin Secrets” author sees connections between theater and the fantasy genre

Each day leading up to the April 13 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today we feature 2013 Young People’s Literature Finalist:

Goblin Secrets by William Alexander Goblin Secrets by William Alexander
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books/
Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Category Sponsor: Sit Investment Associates

Rownie is the youngest in a hodgepodge household of stray children collected by Graba the witch. His older brother, Rowan, has vanished after performing in a secret play, and Rownie feels lost without him. Acting is illegal in the city of Zombay. No one may wear a mask and pretend to be someone else. Only goblins may legally perform, for they are the Changed—neither human nor other, belonging nowhere. Mystery and adventure are woven through with charm and humor in this beguiling exploration of family, love, identity, and the power of words to shape what is real.

William AlexanderWilliam Alexander’s first novel, Goblin Secrets, won the National Book Award in 2012 and became a New York Times bestseller shortly after that. His performance of the Goblin Secrets audiobook won the AudioFile Earphones Award. nba_winner_medallionHe studied theater and folklore at Oberlin College and English at the University of Vermont, and now teaches at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

MinnPost’s Amy Goetzman reports on William Alexander and the power of unsettling stories


“With a sure hand, William Alexander here creates a wholly convincing world of mechanized soldiers, chicken-legged grandmothers, sentient rivers, and goblin actors. In that uncertain landscape, young Rownie learns the mysterious craft of masking to search for both his brother and his own story, unaware that the solution to these searches may be the salvation of his city. Alexander’s world is one of possessiveness—and true love—brilliantly revealing our own selves by holding up our masks.”— Citation by the Judges of the National Book Award

“Alexander’s world, blending steampunk and witchy magic, is impressively convincing and evocative in its oddities.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“It was hard to stop reading Goblin Secrets, and I didn’t want the book to end! The author’s imagination is both huge and original, taking us to a truly new place, rich with lively, vivid scenes, fascinating people, and marvelous inventions. He doesn’t explain things, yet everything is clear. And he tells his fast-paced story in language that’s a pleasure in itself — subtle, tricky, funny, beautiful. More, please, Will Alexander!”
Ursula K. Le Guin, author of A Wizard of Earthsea


Listen as William Alexander talks with MPR’s Cathy Wurzer. Morning Edition, November 2012.

Listen to an excerpt as the author reads the audiobook.

Award winners will be announced at the 25th Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 13, 2013 at the Hilton Minneapolis. An author meet-and-greet and book signing reception precedes the awards ceremony, and the Epilogue after-party, sponsored by Tech Logic, includes complimentary champagne, desserts, and live music. Tickets on sale now. Click here for more information.

Have you read Goblin Secrets?  What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Young People's Literature

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: