Press Release: Peter S. Beagle to Return to Otakon
Beagle, author of The Last Unicorn, is America’s greatest living fantasist and has millions of fans around the world. He was born in New York City in 1939 and raised in the Bronx, where he grew up surrounded by the arts and education. Both his parents were teachers; three of his uncles were gallery painters; and his immigrant grandfather was a respected writer, in Hebrew, of Jewish fiction and folktales. As a child Peter used to sit by himself in the stairwell of his apartment building, making up stories. As a young teenager he appeared on a regular weekend radio show, reviewing and discussing books. By the time he was 15 one of his story submissions caught the eye of Bryna Ivins, fiction editor of Seventeen magazine, who took him under her wing. Together she and her husband, the poet, critic, and anthologist Louis Untermeyer, introduced the talented young man to many of the famous writers and editors of the day. They also connected him with his first literary agent, Elizabeth Otis, who at the time represented Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) and John Steinbeck (The Grapes of Wrath, Of Mice and Men).
Beagle was 16 when he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1955, a feat he says he managed only with the help of friends (“I loved history and English, and got good grades in those. At everything else I was dismal to the point of embarrassment.”) Fortunately for him, a poem he’d written the year before won “best in America” from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. The prize: a full scholarship to the Creative Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh.
At 19 Beagle wrote and sold his first novel, the remarkable graveyard fantasy A Fine and Private Place. In 1968 he published his second and best-known novel, The Last Unicorn. This was followed years later by The Folk of the Air, The Innkeeper’s Song, and Tamsin; the short story collections Giant Bones, The Rhinoceros Who Quoted Nietzsche, The Line Between, and We Never Talk About My Brother; and a number of nonfiction articles and books.
In addition, Beagle has also written many teleplays and screenplays, including the animated versions of The Lord of the Rings and The Last Unicorn, plus the fan-favorite “Sarek” episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. His nonfiction book I See By My Outfit is considered a classic of American travel writing, and he is also a gifted poet, lyricist, and singer/songwriter. He currently makes his home in Oakland, California.
Beagle appears courtesy of Conlan Press.
Otakon 2010 will be held July 30 – August 1 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
ABOUT OTAKON AND OTAKORP, INC.: Now entering its seventeenth year, Otakon is an annual celebration of Japanese and East Asian popular culture, and also one of the largest gatherings of fans in the United States. Otakon celebrates popular culture as a gateway to deeper understanding of Asian culture, and has grown along with the enthusiasm for anime, manga, video games, and music from the Far East. Since 1999, Otakon has been held in Baltimore, Maryland; currently, Otakon is one of Baltimore’s few large, city-wide events, drawing over 25,000 individual members for three days each year (for a paid attendance of over 70,000 “turnstile” attendees). Otakon is a membership-based convention sponsored by Otakorp, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based, 501(c)3 educational non-profit whose mission is to promote the appreciation of Asian culture, primarily through its media and entertainment. Otakorp, Inc. is directed by an all-volunteer, unpaid staff – we are run by fans, for fans.