One week into WOM4N, our month of celebrating female writers, we have an extraordinary interview in which our new favourite feminist interviews our favourite girl. Roxane Gay, a professor of English and creative writing at Purdue University and writer of Bad Feminist, a collection of astounding essays surrounding historical, contemporary and cultural feminism, talks to Lena Dunham, author of the very recently released Not That Kind of Girl about Lena’s compendium of advice, hilarious stories and life lessons. These two female icons speak about Oprah’s world domination, Girls, writing, feminism (of course), dealing with criticism and Twitter feuds.
Roxane Gay: Hello.
Lena Dunham: Hi. I’m such your crazy fan. I love both your books so much. I can’t believe they came out in the same year. And every time I read something about you or by you, I’m just screaming, “Go, go, go!” I’m so psyched! And I can’t say enough how grateful I am that you read the book so thoughtfully.
I didn’t expect to not love it, but I was surprised by how it was an actual essay collection. Sometimes you read celebrity books and they’re more like stand-up routines.
That was my biggest fear about writing a book. Either that I would accidentally write one of those, or someone would bully me into writing something that was like, Well, I’m on a TV show, so now I’m writing the requisite book. I have so much respect for the medium, and writers are the biggest celebrities and heroes to me, so the idea of contributing something slack or light to the medium just made me feel pretty nauseous. After there was all the talk around my book deal, my publishers were really supportive of me taking me time, but some people were kind of like, “Don’t you want to get that book out there so the talk slows down?” And I was like, “No, I want to make the book as strong as I possibly can,” which was always my intention from the beginning.
I think the most satisfying thing as a writer is to be able to say “This is the book I always wanted to write.”
Who always said, “Stand in your truth”?
Is that Oprah?
I think it’s Oprah.
It sounds like Oprah, and if it’s not, she can claim it, anyway. She’s Oprah.
She’s claimed the rest of the world, anyway.
Domination, man. So good.
One time we made an improvised joke about Oprah on the show, and immediately a plane flew really low over us. And we were like, “That’s Oprah, warning us that this can’t go on television.”
I honestly feel like she knows everything. Like, she sees me. And so I think, Oh, Oprah would not approve, Roxane. Stop, stop, stop.
I feel the exact same way. The amount of fantasies I’ve had about crying to Oprah, and about Oprah being the person who finally understands and puts her hand on me and goes, “You’ve done your best.” I think about that all the time…
Read the rest of what is truly a knock-your-socks-off-with-amazingness kind of interview here
Thanks to Vulture for use of the piece.
To win one of TEN copies of Not That Kind of Girl, click HERE
To find out more about our books, events and competitions, click here to sign up to our newsletter.
If you enjoyed this, try: