Does a millennial writer deserve a $3.5 million book advance?

Lena Dunham, the creator of HBO’s ‘Girls,’ sparked a debate this week for her seven-figure book advance. Plus, the challenges of writing in China, emails and tweets offer less personality than written letters, the accuracy of quotes is questioned, and more.

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Frequently, this column focuses on stories that offer insight into the writing process, or a particularly good discussion about grammar. But this week, the Nobel for literature was handed out, and a book advance for a famous young writer sparked a bit of a controversy—so let’s start there.

Lena Dunham’s book deal: I don’t remember an author’s advance ever getting this much attention, but Lena Dunham’s $3.5 million deal to write a book of essays seems to have polarized the writing world. Dunham is the creator of the HBO series “Girls.” On one side, there’s a group that is happy and impressed by the 26-year-old’s accomplishments; and on the other side, there are people who think the publishing industry should be paying more writers anything instead of giving such a huge sum to one popular millennial. In this blog post for The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates writes that you can blame the publishing industry, but don’t blame Dunham.

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