Ariel Levy wrote one of October’s top bestselling books in the US, but you may not know it. After all, her name is not on the cover.
The American journalist has written some of the most compelling profiles in the last decade as a staff writer for the New Yorker, and she specialises in writing about interesting women. She has profiled Edith Windsor, the plaintiff who won a landmark case in the fight for gay marriage in the US; Diana Nyad, who, at the age of 64, was the first person in the world to swim from Cuba to Florida; and Julia Louis-Dreyfus of Veep and Seinfeld fame.
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“I have always been interested in the question of ‘what does it means to be a woman’?” says Levy. “The thing I’m always looking for is the counterintuitive.”
Now she has teamed up with Hollywood superstar Demi Moore, ghostwriting her memoir, Inside Out. The book, released earlier this month, has surprised readers with its candid revelations about Moore’s career, relationships and her chaotic childhood.
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Levy recognises how incongruous this partnership seems. Speaking to the Guardian from the US ahead of her upcoming visit to Australia for the Broadside festival, she laughs when asked about her relationship with Moore. “If you had told me five years ago I would be good friends with Demi Moore, that she would be someone I could really properly talk to, I wouldn’t have believed you. The most surprising thing was that we could relate at all.”
Levy’s involvement in the book began after Moore’s publisher read Levy’s own 2017 memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply, and thought the two shared some overlapping experiences – including the experience of miscarriage. “Her editor read my memoir and had a feeling that we would get each other, and we met and we did,” says Levy.
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