Inspired by the James Joyce-centered holiday of 'Bloomsday,' writers Joanna Miller and Heather Larimer decided to honor beloved young adult author Judy Blume with a holiday of her own.
Many literature aficionados have heard of Bloomsday, a celebration of James Joyce’s novel “Ulysses” which takes place on June 16, the day in which the fictional “Ulysses” protagonist, Leopold Bloom, wandered Dublin.
But how about a celebration of the similarly-named young adult author Judy Blume?
One year, on June 16, Bloomsday served to remind writers Joanna Miller and Heather Larimer of the name of one of their favorite authors.
“We sort of self-deprecatingly said, 'Well, the only way we could participate in Bloomsday was if it were Judy Blumesday,'” Miller told NPR. “And then the joke turned into, 'Wait, why aren't we doing this?’”
Larimer said the impact Blume’s novels have had on readers is also an important one.
“We realized that there is a whole community around this writer that feels just as impassioned about her work as people feel about the work of James Joyce,” she said.
The two authors hail from Portland, Ore., and so celebrations started there on June 17 in 2007, when the writers first organized festivities to honor the “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” author. The Blumesday activities have taken place in Los Angeles in recent years, but the events came back to Portland for 2013.
This year’s roster included performances of parts of Blume’s novels, segments by authors and performers on how her novels have impacted them, and a game titled “Name That Blume.”
Larimer said Blume’s novels have helped countless readers who are going through their teenage years.
“I think that people treat it like puberty is some sort of threshold that you pass over, and one day you're a kid and one day you're a woman," she said. "That transition takes years and is really awkward and painful.”