Virginia “Gina” Wickward, our 2020 L. Frank Baum Memorial Award winner, became the eighth Royal Historian of Oz with her two Oz Club-published books, The Hidden Prince of Oz (2000) and Toto of Oz (2006). Hidden Prince had been chosen as the winning manuscript in a contest, organized by the Oz Club to honor the publication centennial of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Gina was quickly recruited to promote her books at Oz Club conventions and book signing appearances around the country. She is currently putting the finishing touches on her third Oz novel, Queen Zixi in Oz, to be published with illustrations by her long-time collaborator Anna Maria Cool.
A life-long Oz fan and a Club member since 1965, Gina’s Master’s thesis in 1968 was on L. Frank Baum and Oz. An active collector, the core of her Oz book collection has been in her family for generations; Oz and the Oz books remained a part of her own family’s life.
Gina is a regular attendee at Club conventions, and is a member of the Club’s Board of Directors serving as the Club Secretary since 2006. As secretary, Gina takes minutes at the board meeting, and during monthly conference calls of the Oz Club’s executive committee. She also wrote our brochure filling it with information about the Club and its publications.
For years Gina has proofread virtually all Club material. She’s been instrumental to the production of Oziana, and she personally funds the production of the IWOC calendar. A frequent contributor to Oziana, she once created a publication of her own short stories as a special gift for members who’d made generous donations to the Club.
Whether she’s autographing her original books, or participating in an Oz costume contest Gina’s delight in Oz is contagious. Her support of the Oz community is unfailing. Her decades of enthusiasm for the Oz Club and for our mission is exemplary.
Congratulations, Gina, on this presentation of the 2020 L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.
It was a delight to share time with such enthusiastic Oz fans. And I appreciate the opportunity to rave on about all the great work so many people have done to create this weekend for the Oz community.
To participate in To Oz! create a user profile at OzConvention.org. You’ll be able to post comments and interact with other people in the group. We plan a bit of live Zoom activity each day and need to plan for the right capacity, so there is a separate sign-up for that.
Join us August 14-16 join Oz Club members and other fans online for a weekend filled with virtual Oz events. Sign up at OzConvention.org so you can share your Oz interests and interact with others. You can also choose to be part of daily live gatherings on Zoom.
When we cancelled Oz the National Convention 2020 it was just one more disappointing domino in the series of Oz events that had been cancelled. The few still planned seemed likely to follow suit — and within weeks that proved true. So I contacted Club members responsible for Oz events around the country and asked them to contribute digital content for a virtual event. And have they ever delivered!
Oz crafts, collectibles, tours, and interviews are just the start!
Calling it “To Oz!”, we chose the weekend of Aug. 14-16 for topical presentations including tours, talks, panels, demonstrations, performances, crafts, readings, and interviews. A fundraiser covered software expenses, and Club member Dewey Davis-Thompson generously offered to develop the site for us as a self-contained online community.
I hope you’ll sign up and join the fun. It’s part convention, part festival, and — my favorite part — serves up a terrific cross-section of the Oz community.