Dick Cheney

Random House has acquired a book by Lena Dunham, the 26-year-old writer, actor and filmmaker, in one of the most heated auctions of the year.

The debut essay collection, “Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned,” was hotly pursued by publishers after Ms. Dunham, the writer and star of the HBO comedy “Girls,” circulated a 66-page proposal with color, illustrations and a humor that publishing executives predicted could produce another bestseller like Tina Fey’s blockbuster memoir, “Bossypants.”

It's the time of the year to not to win big prizes. The Nobels are just around the corner, and the MacArthur Foundation Fellows were just announced. Whereas the Nobels reward breakthroughs that have already transformed particular academic fields, the genius grants are more prospective in nature, broader in scope, and come with a $500,000 bursary meant to encourage great things still in the making. Wheras Nobels go to those comfortably on the road to a well-earned retirement, the Genius Grant Fairy may alight on just about anyone. Maybe even you!

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