Nan Talese Does Not Appreciate Oprah’s Sanctimony

Alternate headline: Nan Talese Thinks Selling Books is More Important Than Reporting Them Accurately.

Third headline: Other Things I Missed While Moving Saturday.

UNT hosted the Mayborn Conference this weekend, which brings writers and editors together to hear other writers and editors talk about doing their jobs. Joyce Carol Oates was the keynote speaker, as I mentioned earlier. In the Q & A following her lecture, someone asked about James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces and about the truthiness that passes for fact in memoir writing. Well, Frey’s publisher, Nan Talese, was in the audience, visibly squirming. She took the mike and lambasted Oprah. She said when she and Frey appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show a year ago, they were under the impression that Oprah had summoned a panel to discuss “Truth in America.” Not so much. They were on the show to take their lumps from Frank Rich and Richard Cohen about the fiction Frey had created and called fact. Saturday night, Talese apparently didn’t offer an apology for this, um, slip up. She just railed on Oprah for her bait-and-switch behavior.

Co-working FBvian who went in my stead: is this what you mean when you say, “The last ten minutes of the speech were good”?

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