Photo of James Conaway

James Conaway

Novelist James Conaway reads from and discusses his artfully produced children's book, Tio and the Blue Witch.

Tio and the Blue Witch book cover imageAuthor and artist James Conaway will discuss and display paintings from his new book Tio and the Blue Witch, on Thursday, July 6, at Livingston’s Elk River Books.

Tio and the Blue Witch, a story in paintings, tells the tale of “a witch gifted with extraordinary powers, a talking mule, a vegetative knight from the ancient Celtic world, King Arthur’s early court, a band of Reformed Bandits, the Frog with a Hundred Eyes and other characters – Dancing Man, Moon Leaper, Horned Woman, the Questing Beast, Unseen, Miraculous Stone, Weeping Ghost. This book brings together folklore, legend, romance, and humor in one compelling story for imaginative readers aged six to 96.”

Conaway describes his process of creating this book: “After painting in oil and acrylic for a dozen years, I one day discovered ink. It was the most direct medium I had known and basically unfixable if you made a mistake, but powerfully compelling for this reason. I made some ink of my own from walnuts husks, acorn caps, moss, lichen, and other woodsy staples and set about pouring it on paper to see what it would do on its own. What it did was take over the creative process.

“The figures emerging from the ink were nothing short of magical, creatures from another world, including the Blue Witch: fearsome yet kindly, humble yet gifted, possessed of arcane knowledge out of a deep mythical past. This is not a typical children’s book, nor one for adults who have lost the child’s imagination.”

A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Conaway is the author of three novels, The Big Easy, World’s End and Nose, and 12 books of nonfiction including The Far Side of Eden, a Washington Post Best Book of the Year described in the New York Times Book Review as “an important story, emblematic of our time.” Of Conaway’s The Kingdom in the Country, Stegner wrote: “He got into places and activities that most Westerners never get close to, and he reports them with verve, wit, irony and a very sharp eye.”

Elk River Books is located at 122 S. 2nd St. in downtown Livingston. The free event begins at 7 p.m., and a book signing and reception will follow.

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