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Lena Dunham: The $3.5 million girl?

October 08, 2012|By Carolyn Kellogg
  • Lena Dunham on stage at the 2012 New Yorker Festival
Lena Dunham on stage at the 2012 New Yorker Festival (Amy Sussman / Getty Images…)

Lena Dunham scored a $3.5 million book deal, the New York Times reported Monday. The writer/director/star of HBO's "Girls" had been said to be shopping around a deal seeking $1 million and up. Random House went up: The publisher signed Dunham for more than $3.5 million, according to reports. The publisher has declined to confirm the exact amount. 

Dunham's "Girls" has been a critical hit and pop culture juggernaut for HBO. Can her book do the same for Random House?

Slate saw a draft of the circulating book proposal. Tentatively titled "Not That Kind of Girl: Advice by Lena Dunham," it promised to combine Dunham's personal stories with self-help-ish advice. She's been writing personal essays for the New Yorker (and appeared at the New Yorker Festival this weekend); expect the book to include writing in that vein.

According to Slate, the proposal promises "candid accounts of losing her virginity, trying to eat well (detailed diet journal included), obsessing about death, and so on, along with tips about how to stay focused on work, how not to ruin a potential relationship, and what have you. One section will recount various ways in which older men continue to be condescending and sexist, and will describe 'the most awkward date ever with an older director.' Another will describe travel to various places, including Israel and Japan."

For comparison, Tina Fey's book was somewhat similar, and she was rumored to have been paid $5 million when she signed her deal in October 2008. Fey, then 38, was much further along in her career, having clocked more than a decade at "Saturday Night Live," and writing-producing-starring in her own TV show for two years.

Dunham, 26, has made the independent feature "Tiny Furniture" and completed one season of "Girls," as well as some shorter works. Can she have as much to say?

More importantly, how does any woman who's running a TV show manage to write a book?

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