The 2017 Girls Write Now April CHAPTERS Reading, hosted by Pen+Brush was a completely sold out event! With an audience of 150, keynote speaker Emma Cline shared her experiences of writing the New York Times Bestseller The Girls and mentees and mentors performed a variety of amazing pieces. Mentee-mentor emcee pair, Laura Rose and Kathleen write about the magical evening below.
Watch videos from the April CHAPTERS!
Unlike my mentor Kathleen, public speaking and other social events came naturally to me. I had little concerns, yet there was a brief anxiety regarding the comedy that I weaved into my CHAPTERS emcee script. I fear that the constant influx of jokes would be regarded to some as obnoxious or annoying. Typically, when people find my humor irritating, I simply tell them to make like a lightbulb and screw off. However, Emily warned me this behavior would not be accepted as emcee, so I strived to be as polite as possible. I even considered cutting one of my jokes from the script at the last minute, fearing it wasn’t funny enough. Thank gosh I didn’t, as this joke was perhaps the one that garnered the most laughter. In fact, most if not all of my jokes attracted a hearty laugh from the crowd, particularly when interviewing Emma Cline, who stated it was one of the best interviews she has received. Maybe it was because of the witty humor, or maybe it was my dashing good looks, or maybe just my ego—what’s the difference these days?
Aside from the laughter and general joy accompanied with the CHAPTERS event, my favorite part was when Emma Cline, someone who I believe every young woman writer should aspire to be, said she was looking forward to my debut novel: PURGATORY. I have just completed the first full manuscript and to hear such a renowned author express excitement over it was a huge boost in confidence. Maybe I can even host the launch party at Pen + Brush since it was such a lovely, artistic, and inviting space. Whatever I do, I look forward to the future, knowing that Girls Write Now has my back.
-Laura Rose Cardona
I’ve always been a nervous public speaker, but am conquering my fear through Girls Write Now. Being asked to emcee a CHAPTERS with my mentee Laura Rose was the mother of all public speaking events. We had our emcee prep appointment at Girls Write Now, and then Laura and I took a hike down to Pen + Brush to see the space and meet Lisbeth Renfield, who let us draw on the wall for their latest art project. Laura Rose and I spent two weeks drafting our emcee script and author questions for Emma Cline, and we rehearsed and rehearsed so much that the staff at Dun-Well Doughnuts now knows our speech. On the day of the event, I was super nervous and told my mentee so. “But we’re not even there yet,” said Laura Rose. We got to Pen + Brush and started rehearsing with the other mentees who were performing. We set up our interview space, and Lisbeth was kind enough to find a picture of Artemisia Gentileschi’s Judith Slaying Holofernes in one of her art books to put in the background. We practiced our interview questions with the photographer, and then Emma came down the stairs. We talked about living in Brooklyn and then launched into the interview. Emma told us about her first job as a bloody schoolgirl in a haunted house where she would read Sherlock Holmes while waiting for lovers of the high octane to arrive. Our interview went like one of the weekly sessions between me and Laura Rose—just writers talking about writing. All nerves were gone after the interview, and Emma signed our books with some very inspiring words. When Laura Rose and I took the stage, I found I had an unfamiliar feeling: excitement. Performing with Laura Rose was the first time I had a good time onstage and enjoyed myself.