On October 17, I headed out to the Saint Louis County Library Headquarters for an event with Catherynne Valente, author of the young adult novel The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and the sequel, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There. I knew that these books had been getting rave reviews, and I was excited for a night to learn more about them and the mind behind the books, but I had no idea that I would get a full night of musical entertainment. S.J. Tucker, her personal friend and unique story-telling musician, joined Valente for the event, pleasantly surprising those in attendance with an extraordinary night.
Valente has written a number of science fiction and fantasy novels for adults, with her first being published in 2004. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making was her first young adult novel, inspired by one of these adult novels; essentially, being a book within a book. After some nudging by fans and the need to generate income, she began writing the novel online, publishing a new chapter every Monday. The story simply went viral, becoming the first self-published work to win a major award, the Andre Norton Award for YA literature, before the book even went to print in 2011.
Tucker quit her job to follow her dreams and has been devoting her time to songwriting and performing since 2004. She met Valente in 2006 and soon was writing songs based upon Valente’s work. They performed together in past events, but were united once again in Saint Louis after an absence of 8 months.
Valente and Tucker alternated between readings of the newest release in the Fairyland series and songs inspired by the tale. Audience members sat in awe at the plethora of talent echoing through the Headquarters that night, until Tucker encouraged all to participate in the final song, a memorable river shanty with a repeating chorus that was easy to join in. The combination of the two talents drew participants in, giving audience members a taste of Valente’s world of Fairyland and leaving me the desire to do a bit of circumnavigating in Fairyland myself.
To sample a bit of the Valente and Tucker talent yourself, I encourage you to view the two book trailers available on the MacMillan website.
For more information on Catherynne Valente and her books, I encourage you to visit her website at Catherynne M. Valente. For more information on S.J. Tucker, you can visit her website at Skinny White Chick. Each of these artists have so much to offer, but their combined talent is beyond compare!