Dunham and Coates, mutual admirers, talk writing and Trump
"Girls" creator Lena Dunham and author-essayist TaNehisi Coates, strangers until Monday night, found they had a lot in common. Especially when the subject was the upcoming presidency of Donald Trump. "If what has to happen is that I get metaphorically strung up by my toes because I think we were all born equal and beautiful, then that's just what's going to happen," Dunham said. "As terrified and as horrible as I think the events of the election were, I live for this moment. I think this is a great time," said Coates, adding that Trump's victory had filled him with determination and a sense of purpose. "I make books and I make articles, and now I have a formidable opponent."
The event was organized by the Peterborough, New Hampshire-based MacDowell artist colony and was held before more than 150 MacDowell supporters at the New Museum in downtown Manhattan. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and MacDowell board chairman Michael Chabon, who moderated the discussion, says the idea was to have a "sparky" conversation between artists of different fields and backgrounds, an approach similar to last year's MacDowell gathering that featured Martin Scorsese and Lin-Manuel Miranda of "Hamilton" fame.
Dunham, author of the best-selling essay collection "Not That Kind of Girl" and at work on a novel, is a self-described "rich white girl" from New York City. Coates grew up in a rough neighborhood in Baltimore and went on to become one of the country's leading voices on race through his commentary for The Atlantic Magazine and his best-selling "Between the World and Me." But Dunham says that she has long admired Coates' work, and Coates has written warmly about "Girls," which has been criticized for its scarcity of black actors. In 2013, he reviewed the show in The Atlantic, calling it "really, really funny" and praising it for its candid and liberating depictions of sex.
In this file photo, Lena Dunham arrives at the Glamour Women of the Year Awards at NeueHouse Hollywood in Los Angeles. — AP