Lena Dunham’s New Book, and the Finalists for the First Ever Kirkus Prize Announced

By David Brown and Sarah Talaat & Rhonda FanningSeptember 30, 2014 3:58 pm

Many fans of the HBO series Girls are eagerly awaiting today’s doorstep delivery of producer, creator, and lead actress Lena Dunham’s first book. In Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned,” Dunham pens a series of essays that is part memoir, part advice book.

On this month’s edition of Kirkus on The Standard, David Brown speaks with Kirkus Review’s editor, Clay Smith, about Lena Dunham’s new book, and the announcement of the finalists for the Kirkus Prize.

Smith, and his colleagues at Kirkus, aren’t sold on Dunham’s debut because, Smith says, “A memoir is supposed to be life made art, it’s supposed to be someone’s life distilled in a very sort of insightful and entertaining way, and if you haven’t lived enough is there enough life? And do you know how to make it into art? This is the crucial, critical question about a memoir by a young person. We feel like the Lena Dunham book doesn’t measure up, but I think it’s going to do well and you are definitely going to be hearing about it.”

Kirkus has big news of it’s own today with the announcement of the finalists for the first Kirkus Prize. Books can win in one of three categories: fiction, nonfiction, and young reader’s literature. There are 18 finalists in all.

Fiction finalists include Sarah Waters’ The Paying Guests and Denaw Mengestu’s All Our Names. Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction and Thomas Piketty’s Capital In the Twenty-First Century are two of the finalists for nonfiction. Finalists for young readers’ literature, which spans picture books, middle-grade and young adult books, include The Right Word by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet and Aviary Wonders Inc. by Kate Samworth.

Kirkus on the Standard logo