Wisconsin Book Festival Presents G. Willow Wilson for The Bird King
G. Willow Wilson enchanted readers with her debut novel Alif the Unseen (a New York Times Notable Book and a staple of year-end “Best of” lists), has won praise in the world of comics as the co-creator of the celebrated Ms. Marvel, and she was recently tapped to bring her storytelling skills to the Wonder Woman franchise. Wilson’s thrilling new novel, The Bird King, transports readers into the height of the Spanish Inquisition to witness the fantastical journey of Fatima, the only remaining Circassian concubine to the sultan of Granada, and her dearest friend Hassan, the palace mapmaker.
It’s 1491 and a party representing the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrives to negotiate the terms of the sultan’s surrender, but Hassan has a secret—he can make maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality with his pen and paper. His magical gift, which has proven useful to the sultan’s armies in wartime and entertained a bored Fatima who has never stepped foot outside the palace walls, could now be seen as sorcery and a threat to the Christian Spanish rule. Fatima befriends one of the women, little realizing that her new friend Luz represents the Inquisition and soon Fatima must risk everything to save Hassan, and taste the freedom she has never known. As Fatima and Hassan flee the forces of the Inquistion in search of safe harbor, they are helped along the way by a jinn who has taken a liking to them—Vikram the Vampire, who readers may remember from Alif the Unseen.The Bird King is an epic adventure from an essential voice in American fiction. It is a jubilant story that challenges us to consider what true love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.
Doors will open for this event at 6:30 PM. The event is free and open to the public. Seating will be by general admission.