Belfast Telegraph

Lena Dunham dreamed of begging

Lena Dunham thought a book was “sexy” when she was younger, without knowing the meaning of the word.

The 28-year-old actress recently added author to her resume after penning memoir Not That Kind of Girl, in which she shares candid stories about her life. Growing up Lena was an enthusiastic reader and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s A Little Princess, which was adapted for the silver screen in 1995, is one book that shaped her.

The tale follows a young girl called Sara Crewe who is stripped of her wealth and forced to become a servant and teacher at an orphanage where she’s lived since her father was reported to have died while fighting in the war.

“I must have read this book two dozen times. I think all children are obsessed with reversals of fortune; it’s a way to examine class,” she explained to British magazine Elle. “The book was written so romantically that I wished desperately to wear rags and beg on the streets for hot cross buns.”

It wasn’t just stories like this which Lena delved into as a youngster. She was also drawn to poetry and cites Love Poems by Nikki Giovanni as an important collection, despite not initially understanding the premise.

“I read this book when I was 11 and thought it was very sexy, without knowing what 'sexy' meant,” she recalled. “Giovanni's poems are rhythmic, soothing, confessional. I wrote her a letter using multicoloured pens and I'm not even mad she didn't write back.”

The star also cited other writers including Sylvia Plath as inspirations.

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