Flashback to the first five books in the series – By 2008, Girls’ Night In; Girls’ Night in 2, Gentlemen By Invitation; Big Night Out and Kids’ Night In had raised more than $2.5 million for War Child. In total, over 24, 000 copies had been sold in Australia and approximately 700,000 in the rest of the world. In 2008, some funds were also donated to a new charity called No Strings, using the talents of the original Muppets team to help with educational puppetry programs for children in landmined areas around the world.
The Girls’ Night In series began with a shared idea in The Groucho Club in London, after Jessica Adams, Chris Manby, Freya North and Fiona Walker decided to ask Curtis Brown agent Jonathan Lloyd to pitch an anthology of short stories, by bestselling young female novelists – in aid of War Child. Jessica, Fiona and Chris agreed to act as editors, and with Freya’s name on the cover, the project was born.
Not every publisher was interested when the project was first pitched, but five years later, charity anthologies have become a common sight in bookshops, and Girls’ Night In has become a brand – together with its spin-off for children, Kids’ Night In.
The money raised since 1999 has changed lives, and sometimes saved lives, in war-affected countries where children are most vulnerable, and most in need.
The original book in the series, Girls’ Night In, was launched in London in June 2000, and subsequently in Australia that October. The contributions from 39 women novelists were all free. The royalties were all donated. Curtis Brown halved their commission.
In 2014, the series will have a new lease of life through a series of e-stories and e-books, raising money for War Child yet again.