On Twitter last week, Seattle author G. Willow Wilson said that her upcoming novel The Bird King "is in many ways one of the most personal things I've ever written."
Much of Wilson's work — both overtly, in the case of her memoir Butterfly Mosque, or through allegory, as in her conspiracy thriller comic Air — is about the discovery of and maintenance of faith. Her conversion to Islam was a life-changing event, and in many ways she's been writing about that decision ever since.
The Bird King, which she says is "set [in 1491,] at the end of an era of profound and fruitful hybridity between European and Islamic cultures," represents "a symbiotic relationship that quite literally saved Europe's hellenic heritage from being lost." This symbiotic relationship sounds in some ways like the journey Wilson took to Islam in order to feel fully herself, the fusion of cultures that created something new while preserving some essential part of herself.
This week, Wilson debuts The Bird King for her adopted home town of Seattle a full week before the rest of the world gets it. On Thursday at 1 pm, she's kicking off her month long book tour with an intimate luncheon at Third Place Books Ravenna. And on Friday night at 7, she's officially launching the book into the world with a big reading party at Elliott Bay Book Company.
Whether you know Wilson from Butterfly Mosque or from her work writing comics like Wonder Woman or Ms. Marvel or from her excellent novel for young readers, Alif the Unseen, you know that she puts herself in everything that she writes. So you are undoubtedly excited to hear Wilson explain that writing The Bird King "was a cathartic writing experience in this time of frightening upheaval — a reminder that the world has come to an end before, yet humanity persists and remains."