Girls from all over the city are eagerly awaiting a special night at the Jewish Public Library on Sunday, November 16 at 7 p.m. The 10th anniversary of the library’s Girls’ Night Out event is bringing together three well-known authors of young adult fiction, including Montreal’s Sarah Mlynowski.
The theme of the night will be “How friendship helped me survive,” and will see Mlynowski, the writer of Bras & Broomsticks and Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have), joined by her friends and colleagues, E. Lockhart (We Were Liars, The Boyfriend List) and Gayle Forman (If I Stay, Just One Day) for what is shaping up to be the biggest teen fiction events this city has seen in a long time.
The 10th Girls’ Night Out event is a special Sunday evening designed for mothers and daughters, and this year the format has been changed to offer the opportunity to listen to three New York Times best-selling authors talk about writing, reading and sharing their personal stories of growing up as girls. As always, there will be plenty of delicious desserts, door prizes and raffles. The authors donate their time, and the event is a mini-fundraiser for the library, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
“The authors come across so honestly to the audience,” noted librarian Penny Fransblow. “They make you understand not only what it’s like to be an author, but also what your daughters may be going through as they navigate the process of growing up.”
Mlynowski was the featured author at the first event in 2004. “We were determined to honour Sarah because she mentored us all these years of Girls’ Night Out events,” Fransblow said. “We asked her to pick two authors to join her in this panel, and she didn’t hesitate about picking Gayle and E.,” who prefers to be known by her first initial only.
Mlynowski said that the Jewish Public Library was an important part of her childhood in Montreal, and she’s excited to bring her author friends back to see it. “The JPL actually published my first piece of fiction in their youth literary magazine, First Fruits,” she said. “I visited the library all the time as a kid. It really feels like I’m coming home.”
“The three of us actually are friends,” Mlynowski said, praising the night’s theme, “and young adult literature draws so much on the theme of friendship because it’s such a critical part of those high school years. It makes for good times and helps you get through the hard times.”
Forman added: “Friends are the family you create. It can be really wonderful and it can also be quite fraught, but they are some of the most important relationships in your life.”
Lockhart, a mom of a 12-year-old girl, loves the way Girls’ Night Out brings mothers and daughters together for a literary experience.
“Shared reading brings people together in a meaningful way,” she said. “It’s community-building, intellectually broadening, and it can be an important point of connection when kids’ lives may be otherwise tumultuous.”
Forman, also a mom of two young children, agreed. “One of the things I love about this golden age of YA is when I hear from moms who say: ‘My daughter gave me this great book.’ And then I hear from the other side, when girls say: ‘My mom loved this book, too.’
“As kids get older, it can be harder to talk to them. So you have to go in sideways, and books can help you do that.”
Tickets to the 10th Girls’ Night Out must be purchased ahead of time by calling 514-345-2627 ext. 3042. No tickets will be sold at the door the night of the event. General admission tickets start at $25. Patron packages at $150 include two tickets, light supper, reserved seating, private book signing with all three authors, and a partial tax receipt.