A month before Lena Dunham was to return to Toronto promoting her new book Not That Kind of Girl, the free tickets to the Appel Salon event “sold” out within minutes. Due to popular demand, they released some more tickets for atrium seating in the library where it would have a live feed from inside the Appel Salon, and those went incredibly quickly as well. The excitement for Lena was definitely in the air as hundreds of people gathered in the Toronto Reference Library on October 23rd. Fans lined up in all areas of the large downtown library in hopes of getting a seat and the Appel Salon quickly filled up to capacity with the start of the event being delayed a bit to make sure everyone was out of the aisles (fire regulations, people!)
The fabulous Elaine Lui (of LaineyGossip) had the pleasure of introducing the author, and creator of the HBO show Girls, by (lovingly) listing all the ways that Lena Dunham is annoying – like how she’s only in her 20’s and has already learned & realized so much about herself. Lena soon took to the stage to thunderous applause and started off the evening with a reading from the chapter from her book entitled “Platonic Bed Sharing” where she laughingly said she’s leaving out a particular section from this chapter since her dad is in the front row.
After the reading, Lena was joined on stage by Globe & Mail’s Johanna Schneller who spoke to the young author about her book. Lena talked about how she saw writing as a means of “expelling shame” and a way of checking in with yourself and others. They discussed Lena’s work with the book and the TV show, her candidness of which she talks about her life experiences and the love in her relationships. She clarified the point that she didn’t want it to come across like now that she has a boyfriend, her life is all ok. It was that one needs to be happy with themselves and then to have a supportive relationship – whether platonic or romantic – with someone who gets you and lets you grow and change.
The floor was then opened up to a brief Q&A session where, coincidentally, many teachers lined up one after another to ask their questions. The idea was thrown out there for Lena to maybe write something geared towards a younger demographic at some point. Once that was finished, there was a mad rush in the aisles for everyone to try and grab a spot in line for the book signing at the back of the room. Given how huge the group was in the Appel Salon, and then all the people that were in the atrium downstairs being led up to get in line as well, I’m so amazed and impressed at how much time Lena spent with each fan. While there was no posed photography allowed, she spent time with everyone to make genuine eye contact & conversation in the brief seconds she was signing (and personalizing) our books. (She doodled a star in my book because she loved my Kate Spade star necklace!) So gracious and so fantastic.
Thank you to the teams at Random House, the Toronto Reference Library and the wonderfully down-to-Earth Lena Dunham for a truly awesome evening.