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Dear Uncle Herbert, You've never met me, but I'm your niece Kate, and since it is my birthday tomorrow and you are super-rich could you please send me a present?
Kate and her younger brother Tom lead dull, uninteresting lives. And if their dull, uninteresting parents are anything to go by, they don't have much to look forward to. Why can't Kate have thrilling adventures and save the world the way people do in books? Even her 11th birthday is shaping up to be mundane -- that is, until her mysterious and highly irresponsible Uncle Herbert, whom she's never even met before, surprises her with the most unexpected, exhilarating, inappropriate birthday present of all time: a colossal steam locomotive called the Silver Arrow.
Kate and Tom's parents want to send it right back where it came from. But Kate and Tom have other ideas -- and so does the Silver Arrow -- and soon they're off to distant lands along magical rail lines in the company of an assortment of exotic animals who, it turns out, can talk. With only curiosity, excitement, their own resourcefulness and the thrill of the unknown to guide them, Kate and Tom are on the adventure of a lifetime . . . and who knows? They just might end up saving the world after all. (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Lev Grossman grew up in Lexington, MA, with two English professors for parents. He is best-known for the Magicians trilogy and also wrote a movie called The Map of Tiny Perfect Things which was directed by Ian Samuels and stars Kathryn Newton and Kyle Allen (now in post-production). Lev has done a lot of journalism. and was the lead technology writer and the book critic at Time magazine for fifteen years, from 2002 through 2016. His essays and criticism have also been published in Vanity Fair, the Believer, the Village Voice, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Salon, Slate, Wired, Entertainment Weekly, the Week, Buzzfeed, NPR, Lingua Franca and many other places. Lev has won several awards for journalism, including a Deadline award in 2006, and I was a runner-up for the National Book Critic Circle’s Nona Balakian award for excellence in reviewing in 2012. He's given many talks and lectures at festivals and on campuses, including at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and Oxford. In 2018 I was the Mary Higgins Clark Chair in Creative Writing at Fordham College. Lev lives in Brooklyn with his wife and three children.
Jeff VanderMeer’s NYT-bestselling Southern Reach trilogy has been translated into over 35 languages. The first novel, Annihilation, won the Nebula Award and Shirley Jackson Award, and was made into a movie by Paramount in 2018. Recent works include Dead Astronauts, Borne (a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award), The Strange Bird. These novels, set in the Borne universe, are being developed for TV by AMC and continue to explore themes related to the environment, animals, and our future. Forthcoming work include his fantasy romp The Misadventures of Jonathan Lambshead: A Peculiar Peril (FSG Kids) and Hummingbird Salamander (MCD/FSG) which has been optioned by Netflix and Michael Sugar (Anonymous Content). His short story Secret Life has been made into a graphic novel by Theo Ellsworth (Drawn & Quarterly, 2021).