Judy Blume takes W-L

Judy Blume takes W-L

The 77-year-old coming-of-age novelist, Judy Blume, came to the school on Thursday the 22 for a public conversation with Arlington Public Library Director, Diane Kresh. Kresh asked questions about Blume’s inspiration, family, style, life outside of novels and her new book for adults, In the Unlikely Event. The event drew a big audience, almost all of whom were adult women.

Blume began her writing career in 1969 when she published The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo. Since then, she has written 27 additional books which have exceeded sales of 80 million copies and have been translated into 32 languages. In 1996, she won the Margaret Edwards Award from the American Library Association for her contributions as a writer for teens.

Many young women see her as the truth teller of their childhood. “I think someone recommended The Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to me around third or fourth grade and that’s not my favorite of her books, but I’m so glad I read it,” freshman Julia Billera said. “I’ve loved reading her work ever since then.”

On Thursday, Blume talked most extensively about her new book, In the Unlikely Event, her fourth for adults, which tells the story of three consecutive plane crashes occurring in her home town. It has received favorable reviews from The New York Times, The Guardian, and other critics.

Blume took the stage with a huge smile in a whirlwind of energy while joking about the poor sound system. She also made fun of herself as she talked about her inspiration, hobbies and writing strategies. Blume joked around with her husband, George Cooper, who was seated in the front of the audience. She talked more seriously about becoming a writer and balancing her job with her family.

She then tackled the subject of censorship, as many of her books have been banned. Blume is currently a member of The National Coalition Against Censorship and serves on several other boards for organizations which advocate for intellectual freedom.

The presentation lasted for over an hour and a half. Still, many fans applauded after she gave her responses. “Judy Blume is just very funny. She knows how to tell funny stories and keep people interested,” Ms. Julie Bell said. “I did think it was interesting how when she was asked how she gets her ideas she just said she didn’t know. That was pretty surprising considering she’s such an established writer.”

After Blume and Kresh finished their conversation, the floor was opened to questions from the audience. She was asked about her favorite books, motivation, future writing plans, love of reading and more. There was a constant focus in the room throughout the night.

At the end of the night, fans lined up to get their books signed and have their picture taken with Blume. Her conclusion of the talk was received with lots of applause. “She’s written all these amazing books about children and then you see her in person and she’s grounded, personable and relaxed,” Billera said. “So seeing her was rather awesome.”