Millie Bobby Brown’s new book restarts online debate over ghostwriters

Millie Bobby Brown’s new book restarts online debate over ghostwriters

Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown

Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Turner

Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown has come under fire for her novel, Nineteen Steps, after working with a ghostwriter on the book.

The novel was inspired by Brown’s grandmother’s experience of the 1943 Bethnal Green tube disaster, and was ghostwritten by Kathleen McGurl.

Only Brown’s name is on the cover of the book, prompting social media users to criticise Brown after the book’s release.

One X/Twitter user said: “You should be ashamed.

“Ghostwritten celebrity novels have ruined children’s literature and now they’re doing the same thing to adult fiction.”

When Nineteen Steps was published earlier this month, Brown posted a photo on Instagram of herself standing next to McGurl.

The caption reads: “I couldn’t have done this without you!”

Nonetheless, that has done little to silence her critics.

One person wrote on Instagram: “So you can become an author and not actually write it yourself these days. What’s the point?”

Another said: “You mean she wrote it for you and you’re taking the credit.”

Others jumped to the 19-year-old’s aid, pointing out that scores of celebrities have faced criticism for using ghostwriters in the past.

Media personality Zoella (real name Zoë Sugg) was slammed for doing the same thing with her memoir Girl Online in 2014.

Katie Price and Naomi Campbell have also used ghostwriters for fiction books released under their name.

And more recently, Prince Harry’s memoir, Spare, was written by JR Moehringer.

That book broke the record for the fastest-selling nonfiction book of all time, with 1.43m copies sold on its first day.

One commenter wrote on Instagram: “This author will be paid a s***tone more because Millie’s name is on it.

“Ghostwriting is not new, and by sharing this post she is literally acknowledging the author, whose name will also be in the book.

“The author will be very happy, and Millie supplied the whole story and all her family’s research. Everyone seriously needs to get off their high horse.”

In a March blog post, McGurl said she was sent “a lot of research that had already been pulled together by Millie and her family, and plenty of ideas”.

McGurl then interviewed Brown several times over Zoom before she wrote the first draft, she said.

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