Candace Bushnell

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Candace Bushnell
CandaceBushnell (cropped).png
Bushnell at her Connecticut home in 2012
Born (1958-12-01) December 1, 1958 (age 58)
Glastonbury, Connecticut
Occupation Novelist, television producer
Spouse Charles Askegard (2002-2012)

Candace Bushnell (born December 1, 1958) is an American novelist and television producer. She wrote a column for The New York Observer (1994–96) that was adapted into the bestselling Sex and the City anthology. The book was the basis for the HBO hit series Sex and the City (1998–2004) and two subsequent movies.

Bushnell followed the best-selling work with the international bestselling novels 4 Blondes (2001), Trading Up (2003), Lipstick Jungle (2005), One Fifth Avenue (2008), The Carrie Diaries (2010) and Summer and the City (2011). Two of her novels have been adapted for television: Lipstick Jungle (2008–09) on NBC, and The Carrie Diaries (since 2013) on The CW. One Fifth Avenue has been optioned by the Mark Gordon Company and ABC for yet another television show.

Personal life[edit]

Bushnell was born in Glastonbury, Connecticut. She is the daughter of Calvin L. Bushnell and Camille Salonia.[1] Her father was one of the inventors of the Air Cooled Hydrogen Fuel Cell that was used in the Apollo space missions in the 1960s. Her Bushnell ancestors in the United States can be traced back to Francis Bushnell, one of the signers of the Guilford Covenant, who emigrated from Thatcham, Berkshire, England in 1639. Her mother was of Italian descent.[2]

While attending high school in Glastonbury, Candace was accompanied to her senior prom by Mike O'Meara, now a nationally syndicated radio host, who also dated Candace's sister, "Lolly". She attended Rice University and New York University. She moved to New York in the late 1970s and often frequented Studio 54. In 1995, she met publishing executive Ron Galotti, who became the inspiration for Sex and The City's Mr. Big.[3]

From 2002 through 2012, Bushnell was married to Charles Askegard, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet who was ten years her junior, and whom she had met eight weeks before.[4][5][6] They decided to divorce in 2011.[7] She found the experience disorienting, telling The Guardian, "When I got divorced, I couldn’t get a mortgage; I didn’t fit into a computer model. All of a sudden, I was invited to no more couple things. Being single is hard and there’s something a bit heroic about it."[8]


At the age of 19, Bushnell moved to New York City and sold a children’s story to Simon & Schuster, which was never published. She continued writing and worked as a freelance journalist for various publications, struggling to make ends meet for many years.[9] Bushnell began writing for The New York Observer in 1993. She created a humorous column for the paper (1994–96). Called "Sex and the City," the column was based on her own personal dating experiences and those of her friends. In 1997, Bushnell's columns were published in an anthology, also called Sex and the City, and soon after became the basis for the popular HBO television series sharing the same name. The series aired from 1998 through 2004, and starred Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie Bradshaw, a sex and lifestyles columnist partaking in and enjoying New York City nightlife, a character which Bushnell has stated was her alter ego. The series is now in syndication and was adapted for and made into two motion pictures, released in 2008 and 2010.

In 2005, Bushnell served as one of three judges for the reality television show Wickedly Perfect on CBS. Bushnell began hosting a live weekly talk show on Sirius Satellite Radio in 2007.[10] The show, called "Sex, Success and Sensibility," was canceled in late 2008 after the merger of Sirius and XM Satellite Radio, when Bushnell was asked to continue the show with a 50% pay cut. She refused.[11] She is the winner of the 2006 Matrix Award for books (other winners include Joan Didion and Amy Tan), and a recipient of the Albert Einstein Spirit of Achievement Award. She wrote and created a web series, The Broadroom, starring Jennie Garth, which launched in September 2009.

Bushnell's 2005 novel, Lipstick Jungle, was adapted for television and aired on NBC in 2008. The series Lipstick Jungle starred Brooke Shields in the leading role, and was canceled after 20 episodes. In 2009, Bushnell announced that she was slated to write several "webisodes" of an online comedic series about women over 40 dealing with workplace issues, in partnership with the magazine publisher Meredith Corporation's Meredith 360 division.[12][13] The contract also included writing articles for Meredith's More magazine.

Bushnell was contracted by HarperCollins in 2008 to write a series of two books for young adults, about the high school years of Sex and the City character Carrie Bradshaw. The first of these, The Carrie Diaries, was published in April 2010.[14] Next in the series, Summer and the City (Carrie Diaries Series #2), was published in April 2011.

Novel bibliography[edit]

Killing Monica[edit]

Bushnell's latest novel, Killing Monica, was released in 2015. Bushnell's publisher, the Hachette Book Group describes its central character, Pandy "PJ" Wallis, as "a renowned writer whose novels about a young woman making her way in Manhattan have spawned a series of blockbuster films."[15] The book was "critically reviled," said New York Magazine.[16] "The prose is both hyperbolic and repetitive," wrote Eliza Kennedy in The New York Times Book Review. "Characters never speak when they can screech, shriek or scream. Those characters are one-dimensional and tedious, despite bizarre names like SondraBeth Schnowzer and Pandemonia James Wallis. The chronology is choppy, and the plot is filled with novelistic cheats like surprise storms and a highly implausible case of mistaken identity. Most disappointingly, Monica, the literary creation around whom everything turns, never comes to life on the page, creating a gaping hole in the narrative that no amount of frantic action can conceal." Ultimately, "The novel barrels toward its climax with increasing incoherence." Kennedy concluded, "The entire thing is capped by a cheap revelation that’s supposed to make readers think, but only made this reader cringe."[17]

Other critics felt similarly. Writing in The Washington Post, Bethanne Patrick called it "a sloppy story that doesn't hold together." [18] In the Independent, Arifa Akbar found the novel "heavily reminiscent" of a Sex and the City film adaptation: "None of it, including the final, unconvincing plot twist, is particularly well-written. It is perhaps best read on a sun-lounger, in the tropics, where the temperature leads the brain to slow down a few gears."[19] In the New York Daily News, Sherryl Connelly called Killing Monica "an unfunny farce" and "a book of bad taste." [20] Kirkus Reviews called the book's portrayal of Wallis "both self-congratulatory and unintentionally unpleasant" and found that the novel's "sense of humor is nil." [21] "Reading Killing Monica is like being trapped in a taxi between a divorcing couple who are throwing intimate and insulting details of their marriage across you," wrote Kirsty McLuckie in The Scotsman. "You don’t care why they hate each other so much, you just wish they'd thrash it out in private."[22] "Killing Monica may be Bushnell's cry for help, having watched her creation romp far beyond her control," wrote Georgie Binks in the Toronto Star. "It may not be made into a TV series or a movie, but maybe for Bushnell it will mean true happiness. Unfortunately, this book doesn’t provide much happiness for her readers."[23] Publishers Weekly called Killing Monica "a poorly executed attempt at tongue-in-cheek self-awareness that never really comes together" and "a tired retread of familiar motifs paired with characters any reader would be hard-pressed to care about."[24]


  1. ^ "Bushnell, Camille (salonia)". tribunedigital-thecourant. 
  2. ^ Jillian Goodman. "Author Candace Bushnell Prefers Bloody Marys to Cosmos and Buys Her Butter at the Greenmarket". Grub Street. 
  3. ^ New York Magazine, May 2004
  4. ^ WEDDINGS: VOWS; Candace Bushnell, Charles Askegard. By Bob Morris, The New York Times, July 7, 2002.
  5. ^ Don't mention Sex and the City. By Carl Quinn,, September 28, 2003.
  6. ^ Zimmerman, Edith (January 18, 2013). "Candace Bushnell's Fantasy World, Starring Candace Bushnell". The New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Candace Bushnell, 'Sex And The City' Author, Talks Divorce, Single Life". Huffington Post. March 27, 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2015. 
  8. ^ Rachel Cooke. "Candace Bushnell: 'It's fascinating to me, this insistence that a character is always based on an author's life'". The Guardian. London. 
  9. ^ Candace Bushnell on her new TV series Lipstick Jungle Stephen Armstrong, The Sunday Times (London), August 10, 2008.
  10. ^ Candace Bushnell on Sirius: Sex, Success And Sensibility., November 5, 2007.
  11. ^ Sirius XM Drops Candace Bushnell, 'Maxim' Radio. By Jeff Bercovici,, November 14, 2008.
  12. ^ Candace Bushnell web series in the works. Lucia Moses, The Hollywood Reporter, July 24, 2009.
  13. ^ "After 'Sex' and 'Lipstick,' Bushnell Looks to the Web". TheWrap. 
  14. ^ 'Sex and the City' gets teen spin: Bushnell takes Carrie to high school. By Sam Thielman, Variety, September 17, 2008.
  15. ^ "Killing Monica". 
  16. ^ "Everybody Is Wrong About Candace Bushnell". 
  17. ^ "Summer Fiction". The New York Times. July 26, 2015. 
  18. ^ Bethanne Patrick (June 16, 2015). "The big wink-wink at the center of Candace Bushnell's new novel". Washington Post. 
  19. ^ Arifa Akbar (June 21, 2015). "Killing Monica: Sex and the City creator Candace Bushnell's dark new novel has a familiar feel". The Independent. 
  20. ^ "'Killing Monica' review: Candace Bushnell's unfunny farce". NY Daily News. 
  21. ^ Candace Bushnell. "KILLING MONICA". Kirkus Reviews. 
  22. ^ "Book review: Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell". 
  23. ^ "Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell: Review". June 27, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Fiction Book Review: Killing Monica by Candace Bushnell. Grand Central, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-446-55790-0". 

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