Dominick Dunne is taking a leave of absence from his column in Vanity Fair for three months. He says he needs to devote the time exclusively to completing his novel, "A Solo Act" for Crown. "I’m gung ho and going great on the book," he said enthusiastically, "and I need to devote the time to it alone." The setting of "Solo" is 15 years after his last book, "People Like Us."

Dunne, who will be 81 on Oct.29, was birthday partied with 16 friends in the wine cellar of "21" on Monday night by host John Coleman.

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