Elisabeth Egan (left) and Kate Egan (right). Left photo courtesy of Elisabeth Egan. Right photo by Sheryl Palese.

From playing pretend “librarian” as children to writing novels as adults, being surrounded by books has always been the norm for sisters Kate and Elisabeth Egan.

Now with publishing careers of their own, the sisters will be at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick on Dec. 2 to present “Growing up Bookish: A Conversation Between Literary Sisters.” The free event is open to the public and will start at 6 p.m. in the Morrell Meeting Room.

Elisabeth Egan, a New Jersey resident, works as an editor for The New York Times Book Review, writing a weekly and monthly column.

Kate Egan, who has lived in Brunswick for about 20 years, is currently working on her sixth children’s book. She’s also a freelance editor, taking on projects such as the best-selling “Hunger Games” book series.

“We’ve both been around the block a little,” said Kate Egan, who also served nine years on the Curtis Memorial Library board. “We’ve each done a lot of writing, we’ve each done a lot of editing and so we have stories to tell.”

The two grew up in South Orange, New Jersey, and were both motivated to pursue writing by the same high school English teacher as well as a family who instilled a passion for reading. The presentation will include some background on developing a career in publishing, Kate Egan said, as well as some insight into what both of them are currently working on.

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“The path wasn’t always clear at the beginning, but I just thought a life of books and words and writing seemed like the only way to go for me,” said Elisabeth Egan, who also authored the 2015 novel “A Window Opens.”

As writers, they said, the two frequently bounce ideas off each other, drawing inspiration from the details of everyday life. One example includes Kate Egan’s upcoming book “Golden Ticket,” which includes a school modeled after Harriet Beecher Stowe Elementary in Brunswick.

“I think of (reading) as the ultimate connective tissue,” said Elisabeth Egan. “Reading about somebody’s experience to me is the best way to understand a different experience.”

“A good book is sort of the ultimate experience in walking around in someone else’s shoes,” Kate Egan said. “In terms of a public good, that’s a critically important thing for society, to imagine yourself living someone else’s experience.”

According to Joyce Fehl, the director of marketing and communications at Curtis Memorial Library, the event next week will be held on the same night as the library’s annual meeting. Fehl said events are slowly beginning to resume at the library following a pause due to the pandemic.

“A library is not a library without the people in it,” said Fehl. “We’ve got some exciting things coming up that we are going to announce at the annual meeting.”

The library temporarily closed in March 2020 around the time COVID-19 first reached the U.S. During that time, Fehl said, remote and digital offerings were increased such as films, e-books and zoom book clubs. On June 1, 2020, a curbside pickup service of books began. Roughly one year later, on May 17, 2021, the library reopened to regular hours, with limited indoor program and continued curbside pickup.

As a municipal building, masks continue to be required at Curtis Memorial.


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