Tag: author

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Publisher Responds to Dropped Author’s $13 Million Lawsuit

After igniting a scandal all her own, Natasha Tynes’ publisher, Rare Bird Books, decided to no longer distribute her latest book They Called Me Wyatt, which was set to release under one of the publisher’s imprints this year.

What was the scandal all about? Well, on her morning commute, Tynes snapped a picture of a mass transit employee having her breakfast on the train and proceeded to use that photo to call out that employee on social media:

When you’re on your morning commute & see @wmata employee in UNIFORM eating on the train. I thought we were not allowed to eat on the train. This is unacceptable. Hope @wmata responds. When I asked the employee about this, her response was, ‘worry about yourself.’

IMAGES VIA TWITTER

Tynes has since deleted the tweet, but you can’t erase anything from the internet once it is out there. Screenshots of her tweet are still making the rounds, which isn’t surprising considering she was attacking an African American woman on the DC transit. This was the issue the publisher had its qualms with stating “Black women face a constant barrage of this kind of inappropriate behavior directed toward them.”

Now after publicly shaming this employee, making herself and her publisher look bad, she is suing Rare Bird Books for $13 million. Rare Bird Books’ attorney, David S. Eisen, has responded on behalf of the company, pointing out that “the complaint filed by Natasha Tynes is baseless for a host of reasons.” The publisher is in no way responsible for her actions, nor did they take any part in defaming Tynes. But can you blame the publisher for not wanting to be associated with her?

The publisher notes that while Natasha Tynes is seeking to be paid for damages, her book only had fifty copies preordered, while about only 100 were set to printed and distributed. They add that the book was not well received through early reviews.

Featured Image Via Bookmate

Julienne Moore side by side with Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel

Julianne Moore Was Supposed to Star in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” Here’s What Happened.

With a Metacritic score of 87 out of 100, based on fifty-three critics, indicating “universal acclaim” and a 98% on Rotten Tomatos with an average score of 8.24 out of 10, it’s hard to image Can You Ever Forgive Me as being anything different from what it is. However it was recently revealed that it was Julianne Moore, not Melissa McCarthy, who was originally lined up to play author and forger Lee Israel.

 

Lee Israel wearing patterned shirt and holding a book, with framed photo in the background. Julianne Moore wearing black against black background.
IMAGE VIA FLAVOR WIRE

I see no resemblance, but that was half the issue. Let’s start at the beginning.

The New York Times wrote in Lee Israel’s obituary that she “was a reasonably successful author in the 1970s and ‘80s, writing biographies of the actress Tallulah Bankhead, the journalist Dorothy Kilgallen and the cosmetics magnate Estëe Lauder. But in the early 1990s, with her career at a standstill, she became a literary forger…”

An author turned bad, oh my! Never seen one of those.

 

Cover for "Can you ever forgive me"

Image Via Amazon

 

Struggling with financial troubles, writer’s block, and alcoholism, Lee Israel realized that she could sell personal letters and autographs from famous authors for money. So  in addition to forging many letters, also stole letters from archives and selling them, replacing the ones in the archives with fake ones.

No one is exactly sure how the FBI got hot on her trail (except, maybe, the FBI) but her memoir, Can You Ever Forgive Me?: Memoirs of a Literary Forger, indicates that after a Noël Coward expert insisted that Coward would not have referenced his sexuality so enthusiastically as he allegedly did in a letter provided by Israel, suspicion was aroused, putting an abrupt end to Israel’s scheme.

Knowing all that, it should be no surprise that her memoir was highly controversial when it came out. Book Reporter responded in a review for the memoir that the book is “a hilarious memoir of a self-described miscreant and her pursuit of a meal ticket. Ironically, in a joke the reader will share, by purchasing her book we all participate in buying her that meal.”

Well, at least they called the book ‘hilarious’. On that note the New York Times quoted Naomi Hample, a New York City bookstore owner who had purchased some of Israel’s forged letters in 1992 when she said, “I’m certainly not angry anymore, though it was an expensive and very large learning experience for me. And she’s really an excellent writer. She made the letters terrific.”

So Lee Israel is a touchy subject to say the least. Well, it made a pretty good movie.

 

"Can You Ever Forgive Me" movie poster

Image Via Amazon

Now it’s 2011, three years after the 2008 memoir hit shelves, and Variety breaks the news with this sentences: “Recent Oscar winner Julianne Moore is in negotiations to star in Nicole Holofcener’s Can You Ever Forgive Me for Fox Searchlight”. Come 2015, Variety reported that Julianne Moore had “exited [the production] due to creative differences”.

What happened? Here comes the Vulture!

Image result for vulture spider homecoming michael keaton green light

Image Via Los Angeles Times

Not that Vulture. This Vulture….

Image result for vulture news

Image Via Vulture

Vulture report that “Julianne Moore wanted to wear a fat suit and a false nose to play Lee Israel”.

So, take a look at the comparison between Israel and Moore pictured above… Julianne Moore wanted to fix that, and the Hollywood Reporter reported that Holofcener “is said to have felt that a fake nose would be too distracting,” which led to the Oscar Winner being fired. Moore told Watch What Happens Live! “I think that her idea of where the character was was different from my idea of where the character was, and so she fired me.” Despite the film garnering numerous nominations and a win at the Oscars, Moore has not seen it, saying it remains ‘a sort of painful experience.’

 

 

Featured Image Via Out

 

W.S. Merwin standing in a well-foliaged area of Hawaii.

American Poet W.S. Merwin Has Died at 91

Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

-W.S. Merwin, “Separation”

 

The world of poetry has lost one of its brightest and longest-burning lights this week. W.S. Merwin, a prolific American poet and environmental activist, has died at the age of 91 in Hai’ku, Hawaii. Those of you familiar with Merwin’s work understand the depth of loss that has occurred, and those of you who aren’t can consider this an opportunity to make the best of the situation and read through the repertoire of this exceedingly talented artist.

 

W.S. Merwin in his garden
Image via Thirteen.org

 

While we mourn his passing, no one can deny that the life Merwin lead took every advantage of the 91 years he spent on this planet. Merwin was born in New York City in 1927, just two years before the stock market crash that would set off the events of the Great Depression. The first indication of Merwin’s poetic leanings came when he was only five years old, assisting his father, a Presbyterian minister, by writing hymns. Merwin’s love of language was planted in him by his father’s ministry, specifically a reading of Chapter Six in the book of Isaiah. In an interview with Paul Holdengräber in 2017, he said:

 

I was so taken by the sound of the language that I had memorized it just by hearing it…. I thought, “I have to find more language like that because I really want that to be part of my life.”

 

Sadly, Merwin’s home life was not safe. The same father who exposed him to the love of language he would build his career on was also abusive, forcing the adolescent Merwin to act as protector on behalf of himself and his mother. These protective instincts may also be the trait that prompted his later work in conservancy.

 

A young W.S. Merwin
Image via Academy of Achievement

 

Merwin graduated from Princeton University in 1948, and spent his post-grad years as many Americans with the means chose to do: traveling across Europe. It is believed that the landscape of his home in the Midi Pyrenees region of France had a major influence on his work.

 

Merwin’s first-ever collection of poetry, A Mask for Januspublished in 1952, caught the attention of W.H. Auden— this should instill some hope in those with writing aspirations. This first volume of work drew upon classical literature, but Merwin’s successive volumes would become more experimental over time, eventually evolving into the “impersonal, indirect, and open style that eschewed punctuation” that he became known for.

 

Merwin relocated to Hai’ku Hawaii, (and I must say, Hai’ku sounds like a brilliant choice of residence for a poet) in 1976, at the age of 49, where he purchased a plot of land with the intention of restoring it to health after having been ravaged by exploitative farming practices. Merwin accomplished this goal, and it became one of the crowning achievements of his life outside of writing. Merwin was a staunch anti-war and environmental activist, attitudes that come across very strongly in his work. Merwin’s worldview may best be explained by his subscription to the philosophy of deep ecology, which aims to de-center humanity’s role on earth, i.e., humans are not the best thing since sliced bread, we are just one form of life that emerged from a vast primordial pool that spawned an unknowable amount of creatures currently populating the planet. In his lifetime, Merwin and his wife Paula (née Dunaway, a children’s books editor who passed in 2017) founded a non-profit called The Merwin Conservancy, to which the revitalized Hai’ku property will now be donated.

 

W.S. and Paula Merwin
W.S. and Paula Merwin | Image via The Merwin Conservancy

 

W.S Merwin’s work is hosted online by The Poetry Foundation, and can be read by anyone, for free, here. The Merwin Conservancy accepts donations, and you may find the link to do so here.

 

Featured image via PBS

Author Among Those Charged In FBI College Acceptance Scam

The biggest news story of the day is the massive bribery scheme that was uncovered by the FBI. The Justice Department just charged and arrested fifty people in what is called “Operation Varsity Blues”, where a group of wealthy parents, coaches and college prep executives carried out fraud in order to get students into prestigious colleges. This includes paying a college prep organization to correct answers on students tests and bribing coaches to admit students as recruited athletes regardless if they have athletic ability.

Many wealthy people have been charged in this case. The most prominent people involved are actresses Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Fuller House). An FBI agent told CNN that the money paid in this scam could be anywhere between $200,000 to $6.5 million.

 

Many wealthy people have been charged in this case. The most prominent people involved are actresses Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and Lori Loughlin (Fuller House)
Image Via CNN

 

One of the more interesting names in this case in Jane Buckingham. She is a published author and marketing consultant who runs her own media firm. She has written multiple books: The Modern Girl’s Guide To series and What’s Next: The Experts’ Guide: Predictions From 50 Of America’s Most Compelling People.

 

Image result for jane buckingham
Image Via Twitter

 

According to The Washington Post, Buckingham donated $50,000 dollars to the Key Worldwide, the “nonprofit” at the center of this scam, to get someone to take a college entrance test for her son. The FBI secretly recorded Buckingham talking to one of the people arranging the test:

 

“I know this is craziness- I know it is. And then I need you to get him into USC, and then I need you to cure cancer and [make peace] in the Middle East.”

 

So much for getting into a good school based on merit.

 

 

Featured Image Via Education Writers Association