Each year, The Works of George MacDonald invites creative folk from around the world to submit original works or essays inspired by the Scotsman's writings. The winners gets to direct the donation of $5,000 to charities of their choosing. The Distinguished Panel of Anonymous Judges, after agonizing for weeks, has returned from the lonely windswept island somewhere off the coast of Scotland to declare the following winners for 2017. Congratulations to James Rubio & Katie Baldwin Eng, for The Day Boy and the Night Girl, and to Lorraine Williams, author of the essay, Finding Comfort at the Back of the North Wind.
In the category of Original Art, Music, or Fiction inspired by the works of George MacDonald:
The Day Boy and the Night Girl
Composer: James Rubio
Lyricist/bookwriter: Katie Baldwin Eng
My collaborator Katie and I were scouring several sources in the public domain to adapt into a musical, and we found The Day Boy and The Night Girl in an anthology of Victorian fairy tales, edited by Jack Zipes. We were impressed by how different it was from all the others we read (although we were also taken in by MacDonald's The Light Princess). It displayed an unusual depth and subtlety of thought for this kind of story, along with a surprising sense of humor and aesthetic. Katie and I were so struck by the depiction of the witch as such a layered and conflicted character. She was a woman with a wolf in her mind. She was a scientist. Despite the fact that she was clearly the antagonist in the story and did terrible things, the story of her misguided and controlling love for these children felt somehow not entirely lacking in compassion. That is, we felt that Macdonald was a writer of great heart with an empathy that extended even to this troubled witch. The boundaries differentiating right from wrong and good from evil were not clearly demarcated, providing an extremely rich and complex world for us to musicalize.
The details and description and names were also marvelous and original. It was vivid and visual, and summoned a colorful musical landscape in which we could let our imaginations run free. The musical has had two readings at New York University, a reading at Indiana University, and a production at The Spirit of Broadway Theater in Connecticut. We hope to establish future interest in the musical and accordingly rewrite/rework this timeless story with its timeless themes.
Four excerpts from the musical, plus the entire libretto, and presented in the link above.
In the category of Essays inspired by the works of George MacDonald:
Finding Comfort at the Back of the North Wind
Diamond's experience at the Back of the North Wind mirrored my own last summer. I was so tired from hitting a place in my fight against cancer, that I was in bed most of the time. I started re-reading George MacDonald’s novels that my husband and I had loved so much and had read when we were first married.
As I read the novels, I had a sense of the author having a deep relationship with God the Father, something I realize now I never had. My experience had always been of hiding in Christ and avoiding the Father at all costs. My curiosity was piqued, and I started reading his sermons. That’s when everything changed for me, as his writings took 56 years of religious roots that presented an angry God, and divided bone from marrow to expose a loving Father, who had always loved me, and loved me because of me, not just because of Jesus...
The complete essay is presented in the link above.
Deadline for the 2018 Competition: February 17th, 2018. Send entries to firstname.lastname@example.org