Judy Blume talks NYU in the ’50s, latest novel

Writer Judy Blume, speaks about her success as a writer following her time as a Steinhardt student at NYU.

Photo © Elena Seibert

Writer Judy Blume, speaks about her success as a writer following her time as a Steinhardt student at NYU.

By Aicha Fall, Contributing Writer

NYU is known for its alumni, but not many know that famed author Judy Blume is a graduate of the Steinhardt class of 1961. WSN spoke to Blume about her fondest moments at NYU and the difference between being a writer then
and now.

WSN: What were some of your favorite places on campus?

JB: I ate the same thing every single night at The Cookery on Eighth Street, which was chopped steak, potatoes, vegetables, a salad and a huge slice of chocolate cake and a tall glass of milk for under two dollars. We’re talking about the ’50s. I remember sitting in the Washington Square Park fountain. We dressed in black turtlenecks and green corduroy pants, and sang folk songs and hung out with the Bohemian people. We little NYU college girls loved to pretend that we were really boho.

WSN: Is there anything you wish you did before you graduated that you didn’t get to do?

JB: I would get more of a liberal arts education. I think that’s really important. If you don’t do it then, when do you do it? I would read great books. I know that teacher training is completely different now, and getting an education for the teacher is just as important as teaching you to teach. The better the education is of the person who is going to teach in the classroom, the better off the kids are.

WSN: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment to date?

JB: It’s being a writer. It has brought me an audience that tells me that my books have touched their lives and changed their lives and there can’t be anything sweeter than that.

WSN: How did you enjoy the tour for your latest book, “In The Unlikely Event”?

JB: Thank god I’m done with the tour — 32 cities. My husband went with me and I am so burned out and I am so done. It was a wonderful experience, but I’m never going out on the road like that again, and I don’t think I’ll ever write another novel that takes five years
to write.

WSN: What advice do you have to offer to the authors of this generation?

JB: Again, everything is different today. A lot of people get a MFA and then teach while they’re writing — I had never heard of such a thing back then. Today you pretty much have to have an agent to go out into the marketplace. When I was starting out, you could just send your stuff in and it would go into the slush pile. I don’t know that editors have the time to do that today, the time to nurture the way my editor nurtured my writing and me, but it’s different. You write because you have to, because it’s inside you and it has to come out. It’s there or it’s not there. And if it’s not there, it’s not going to ever be there. But today, it being there isn’t enough and you have to find a way to get it out there into the world if that’s what
you want.

Email Aicha Fall at [email protected].