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.
The Covid19 crises obligated the Oz Club to present Gina’s award online. Recorded on Zoom, you can see the presentation on the Oz Club’s Youtube channel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RUGHnOYCGxM&t=237s.