Free young adult novel, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

A reader writes, "Catherynne M. Valente (Tiptree winner, Clarion Alumna and all-around-awesome speculative fiction writer) is putting up a wonderful piece of YA fantasy, one chapter a week, on her website for free: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making."

Lovely title, and that first chapter's a doozy! There's free audio of the author reading the book, too.

Once upon a time, a girl named September grew very tired indeed of her father's house, where she washed the same pink and yellow teacups and matching gravy boats every day, slept on the same embroidered pillow, and played with the same small and amiable dog. Because she had been born in May, and because she had a mole on her left cheek, and because her feet were very large and ungainly, the Green Wind took pity on her, and flew to her window one evening just after her eleventh birthday. He was dressed in a green smoking jacket, and a green carriage-driver's cloak, and green jodhpurs, and green snowshoes. It is very cold above the clouds, in the shanty-towns where the Six Winds live.

"You seem an ill-tempered and irascible enough child," said the Green Wind. "How would you like to come away with me and ride upon the Leopard of Little Breezes, and be delivered to the great sea which borders Fairyland? I am afraid I cannot go in, as Harsh Airs are not allowed, but I should be happy to deposit you upon the Perverse and Perilous Sea."

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making


  1. Interesting. Since it’s being released in chapters I wish there was an RSS feed for the audio.

  2. Ahh, I love titles that run over multiple lines and leave no doubt about the content.

    Way better than, say “It”.

  3. It’s being released free, with the hope that folks will pay what they feel it’s worth. The author and her family seem to have run into financial straits, like many other folks, and this was her idea to try and support them quickly. She broached the idea on her blog last Thursday

    Frankly, I think it seems like an interesting experiment in publishing paradigms to watch, and hope it works out. I’m going to kick in what I can for sure.

  4. I encourage everyone who can spare a few bucks to donate.

    Also, there’s an auction going on to help the author here with the items donated, so if you like the story, and want to support the author *and* get something extra in return, please consider donating via the auction as well.

  5. It’s worth mentioning that …Fairyland is the real-world creation of a book that is important to the plot of Palimpsest, one of Valente’s other novels (and well worth a read, though it isn’t for young kiddos).

  6. Thanks for posting about this, BB!

    Just wanted to note…I didn’t go to Clarion. :)

    –Cat Valente

  7. Cory, I wish you’d included the fact that Valente is accepting donations for the chapters of this novel so that she can get out of a difficult financial situation. Your post only covers half the story, and completely misses the critical point.

    Yes, folks can discover that in the comments… unless they read it in a feed reader.

    Yes, folks will figure it out when they visit Valente’s site… but how many might feel mislead when they discover that Valente is asking for money?

    The story here isn’t “hey, look, free book!” It’s “Hey, help out a writer in trouble.”

  8. Not a free book anymore, as of today.

    You only get the first bit, because she got a publisher interested.

    So, just another author who rides the coattails of free publishing, but abandons them when money calls.

      1. Fair comment: I was miffed when I wrote that.

        2/3 of the book remain up, it’s really *awesomely* written, and I feel like I’ve just got to read the first of a two-book series for free. I can’t wait until “book two” comes out next year.

        The author did NOT want to take it down, but doesn’t have Cory’s clout when it comes to that stuff. Here’s hoping this award gives her that, so that she can dictate her own terms in future.

  9. I imagine someone somewhere probably saved it and maybe it can be found somewhere on the Internet.

    Annoying, though that the whole thing won’t be published for a whole year.

  10. Have been haunted by the title since coming across it on Monday – breathtaking! Have read the first ‘page’ here – and will definitely read more – however I can! (But in an internet cafe right now…!) And will surely buy the book when
    it’s out!

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