Gina Wickwar’s love of Oz began the moment her father read her The Wizard of Oz, and it has never faltered—this despite her terror at the appearance of the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1949 re-release of the MGM film. Her father’s Oz collection was extensive: it included all of Baum’s original Oz stories and nearly all of Thompson’s, plus many of Baum’s non-Oz tales such as Queen Zixi of Ix, John Dough and the Cherub, Sky Island, and The Sea Fairies. The collection, though badly damaged by insects during her family’s four-year sojourn in the tropics, became Gina’s when she reached adulthood, and she has added to it throughout the years.
While writing her master’s thesis on Baum (An American in Fairyland: The Oz Books of L. Frank Baum ) at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Gina learned of the International Wizard of Oz Club and began her lifelong membership with the group.
The mother of three grown children, Gina has spent her professional life as a technical writer and continues to do freelance work for newspapers, magazines, and public radio. Her first Oz book, The Hidden Prince of Oz, illustrated by Anna-Maria Cool, was IWOC’s choice to celebrate the 100th anniversary of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Her newest Oz book, Toto of Oz, also illustrated by Cool, was published by IWOC and is available through the Club.
Gina has served two terms as a director on IWOC’s board and is currently the Club’s secretary.