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Lena Dunham can add now officially add author to her growing list of job titles.
On Monday, the Girls mastermind posted to Instagram a photo of herself proudly clutching a copy of her first book, Not That Kind of Girl. Taking its inspiration from feminist field guides like Helen Gurley Brown‘s Having It All, Not That Kind of Girl bills itself as an irreverent hybrid of memoir and advice book, in which Dunham “tells you what she’s ‘learned,'” according to the book’s strategically scare-quoted subtitle.
The cover features large type in black and fuchsia — a nod to book jacket designs of the ’60s and ’70s. But it contains none of the whimsical illustrations of half-eaten cupcakes and ballet flats that adorned a proposed cover that circulated with Dunham’s original book proposal.
“It’s official,” Dunham writes on the post. “Coming 10/7/14.”
It’s not been an entirely smooth journey from laptop to bookstore shelves for Dunham’s first stab at a best-seller. In one of the buzziest — and priciest — book deals in recent memory, Not That Kind of Girl was optioned by Random House in Oct. 2012 after a 66-page proposal had begun to circulate through New York publishing circles.
Random House won the ensuing bidding war, according to multiple media reports, by offering $3.7 million for publishing rights — a staggering sum when you consider that only one season of Girls had aired at that point. The Brooklyn-based comedy had garnered plenty of critical kudos and media buzz, but only respectable, not blockbuster, ratings. (The series premiere drew 872,000 viewers, while its season 3 debut on Jan. 12 drew 1.1 million viewers.)
Two months after news of the deal was reported in The New York Times, a leaked copy of the proposal, which included illustrations and detailed outlines for chapters such as “Body,” (“Red lipstick with a sunburn: How to dress for a business meeting and other hard-earned fashion lessons from the size 10 who went to the Met Ball,”) was published by Gawker in its entirety. Lawyers for Dunham demanded that the website take the proposal down, which Gawker eventually did in a rare concession.
“Why did we take it down?” Gawker publisher Nick Denton later explained in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. ” We ran too much of it. I mean I think they were sort of right on it. Sometimes I think people are right.”
Dunham’s feelings about Gawker were aired out in a recent episode of Girls entitled “Dead Inside,” in which her character, Hannah Horvath, defends the site as a legitimate news source as she hunts down details about the unexpected death of her book editor, David Pressler-Goings (John Cameron Mitchell). It’s her boyfriend Adam who takes her to task, saying of Gawker’s writers, “Those are a bunch of jealous people that make a living appealing to our basest desire to see each other kicked while we’re down.”
The conversation also includes a defense of Gawker’s site for women, Jezebel, which Hannah calls “a place where feminists can go to support one another.” Shortly before “Dead Inside” aired, the site offered $10,000 to anyone who could provide them with un-retouched photos from Dunham’s Vogue cover shoot.
“Some shit is just too ridiculous to engage,” Dunham tweeted in response to the offer.
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