An Evening With Kelly Corrigan and Anna Quindlen

corrigan and quindlenI love books. That scene in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast where Belle discovers the library- that’s a dream of mine. Needless to say, I love to read. I have enough books to last a long lifetime but that doesn’t stop me from acquiring more. By now I’ve either lost the non-book readers or I have you nodding in agreement.

Last week I had the pleasure of hearing two very talented and inspiring authors speak; Kelly Corrigan and Anna Quindlen. They take up a bit of the real estate on my shelves, but it’s not only quantity, but absolute quality they possess. I covered my program in notes of the bits and pieces that I wanted to be sure I took home with me. It isn’t very often that I get to hear insight from two people who are living my dream so I ate it up. If you are looking for a new author to read, it goes without saying that I recommend these women.


Kelly Corrigan has published three non-fiction books and is working on her first fiction novel. They each touch on real living. The relationships with parents, with children, facing death, choosing life- they are all present and relevant. Kelly is extremely down-to-earth and very relatable. I could learn a lot from this woman.

Anna Quindlen is a seasoned writer and I wonder if Random House paired these two together in hoping that Kelly will become a “successor” to write similar types of books like Anna. Anna lost her mother at 19 so loss and family relationships are reflected in a lot of her stories. She is truly talented and a pleasure to read and to hear speak.

They spoke on character development and the writing process, but what might have been the most refreshing take away is that these talented authors are real people too. They both expressed frustration with the reaction that they, both on the New York Times Best Seller list, still get reactions from people that think writing is just a “cute hobby.” They also both share a trait that I am finding most writers do; they will find any excuse not to write and equally participate in folding laundry and cleaning their cabinets to put off the inevitable task.  Kelly even shared of being tempted to “leave the casino with her winnings”. She has doubts about her writing and worries that this might be as good as it gets (I’m 65 pages into her latest, Glitter and Glue and don’t want to stop- trust me, her career is just getting started).

The only downer of the evening was when I had my copy of Glitter and Glue signed by Kelly. The line was short and I was awestruck that these two great authors were sitting in front of me. Kelly was caught up talking with the woman in front of me and while still in that conversation, took my book, signed her name, and cut her conversation off with that person just in time to hand my book back. I was stupefied and crushed. Like Ralphie on Christmas Story who waits to tell Santa about wanting a Red Ryder BB Gun and then before he knows it, his moment is gone and he desperately tries to climb up the slide to tell Santa. I’m not sure exactly how I expected the conversation to go, but I was hoping to ask her to write something personal to encourage me to keep following my passion of writing. But instead I said thanks, and feeling the pressure of the person behind me, I left. My heart dropped- that wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

But it’s ok. When I am on the New York Times Best Sellers list, and that is Kelly and I on stage in 20 years, her and I will have words about that. : )

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