Event—Public Programming

Bruce Kennett on W.A. Dwiggins, Teller of Tales


Join Bruce Kennett as he discusses W.A. Dwiggins' story collection, "Athalinthia".

This program is being produced by Chicago’s Caxton Club. Registration will take place on the Caxton Club's website.

Join Bruce Kennett as he discusses W.A. Dwiggins' story collection, Athalinthia. Produced entirely in New England, the book is filled with delights. It comes straight from the imagination and heart of W.A. Dwiggins, one of the great visual artists of the twentieth century. Wise and witty stories written by Dwiggins are accompanied by more than a hundred of his fanciful illustrations – many never before seen in print.

From 1910 to 1926, Dwiggins created a series of stories about an imaginary place he named Athalinthia and the people who lived there. A place perhaps akin to Persia a thousand years ago, or Uzbekistan in the nineteenth century … he never said. This is Dwiggins at his most fanciful, his most personal.

In 1928, after nearly twenty years of writing and picture-making, Dwiggins tried valiantly to get his stories published in one volume. He designed the book, made a dummy, and shopped it around to publishing houses. He had no luck. Discouraged, Dwiggins put the project aside. Thankfully, after a delay of nearly a hundred years, Dwiggins' biographer Bruce Kennett picked it up and saw it through to the end. This is a remarkable achievement and a pure delight. In these troubling times, stories such as these are a comfort for all of us to have on our bookshelves.

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Bruce Kennett is author of the comprehensive biography, W. A. Dwiggins: A Life in Design. In works as varied as bookplates less than two inches high to photo murals fifty feet long, he employs words and images in varying combinations. He has worked as a printer and compositor (letterpress and offset), designer, photographer, teacher, presenter, and editor at large, with clients ranging from the Los Angeles Children’s Museum and Folger Shakespeare Library to Boston College Law School and L.L. Bean.


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