First, the latest on the memoir scandal, or one of the many articles on it, is in a somewhat unexpected place: on Alternet. It's not a shocking piece, though it's a bit off-center from the rest of the buzz, possibly due to the source. And Peter Osnos weighed in, saying in today's "The Platform" installment:
Editors, publishers, and publicists offered stories powerful enough to justify large advances (the New York Times said that Seltzer received around $100,000 for her proposal) have an obligation to their editorial and business instincts to do some checking before the project is acquired and to stay on guard while the writing is under way. One of the more amazing aspects of the Seltzer story is that, in the three years she worked with her editor, they never met face-to-face. So Riverhead was in the unfortunate position of placing its confidence and credibility in the hands of a stranger. That may have been possible in simpler times, but it no longer is.(Please note: link is to archive, but today's installment is not yet archived.)
That sounds familiar, don't it? Hm. Just saying is all.
But enough with Selzer et al, because there is something exciting happening overseas. It may be time for the US to copy the UK, as we have done before. One of my best friends, Damian Barr - author, journalist, playwright, presenter, leading member of British intelligentsia, etc - will be a Reader in Residence at the posh Andaz Hotel in London, for 2 weeks in April that overlaps with the London Book Fair. Amazing, no? He'll be there to read to you, to read to himself while you read, to host interesting people, and to make all things literary that much more interesting. Then, on Sunday, April 27th, he'll host a read-in, Lennon/Ono style. Don't know if it's clothing optional - check back. Bit more here and here.
It's bibliotherapy, and it's very fun and exciting, and it's making books sexy. He tells me some of his choices: Brothers Grimm, Pride & Prejudice, Miriam (short story by Truman Capote), and American Psycho... some serious range, but it's all about mood. So who will do it here? NYC, Boston, San Fran? I could see a Baltimore bookseller and hotel doing something moody and interesting with their literary past. Oh - Hotel Marlowe in Cambridge! This has you written all over it. But perhaps you could indie and not buy books from the Borders in the mall around the corner? Please?
To book a visit with Damian at the hotel while you're in town for the book fair - well worth it, I'm telling you - email firstname.lastname@example.org. To talk to him, let me know and I'll put ya right through. I'm telling you, talk to him now before he's too big for all of us.