Skyhorse Publishing acquired a planned collection of essays from Norman Mailer after the late author’s longtime publisher Random House failed to do so.
As is customary in a long-standing author-publisher relationship, the Mailer estate first offered the book to Random House, which declined to go ahead with the collection, according to an article published Tuesday by the New York Times.
The posthumous compilation of unpublished works and excerpts from interviews, manuscripts and letters was then launched by Skyhorse, an independent publishing house that has recently developed a reputation as a publication of writers who divide.
In Monday’s edition of the Ankle Newsletter, reporter Michael Wolff claimed that Random House, a flagship imprint within Penguin Random House, had canceled initial plans to release the Mailer collection due to potential feminist objectors and a junior employee’s alleged concerns about a 1957 Mailer essay titled âThe White Negro.â Although Wolff mentioned âa source from Random House,â his only named source was one sons of Mailer, film producer Michael Mailer.
In the aftermath of the story, some speculated that Random House passed the project on because of Mailer’s history of violence (he nearly killed his wife by stabbing her in 1960), belligerence and misogyny. Others have argued that Random House’s decision may have been more of a risk-benefit calculation, given the pugilist author’s long decline in sales.
A Random House spokesperson told The New York Times it was “actually incorrect that Random House canceled an upcoming Norman Mailer essay book,” claiming the anthology was never contracted there. and noting that the publishing giant still accounts for a large part of Mailer’s back. catalog.
In a statement provided to the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, the Mailer estate also rebuffed the reports, saying “there is no problem here.”
Random House is proud to publish Norman Mailer, and intends to promote his work in a meaningful way on the centenary “of his birth (the intended occasion for the collection),” in tandem with Skyhorse’s publication of the anthology, “a declared the literary agent. Andrew Wylie, who represents the Mailer Estate.
“In support of this publication, Random House waives all reprint charges for the anthology,” Wylie continued. “The Mailer family and Random House are united in supporting Norman’s work.”
To complicate the conflict, the Mailer estate and Wolff share a representative, Wylie. When asked point blank Tuesday by CNN’s Brian Stelter if Wylie was still his agent, Wolff confirmed the overlap and said Wylie denied disputing his story, adding “It’s confidential”, although this is a public response from his Twitter account.
Wylie’s statement to the Los Angeles Times came a day after Wolff’s tweet.
On Wednesday’s episode of Ankler’s Hot Seat podcast, Wolff doubled down, insisting that Random House “had an editor on the book” and “a deal in place” before allegedly canceling Project Mailer. His source for the info was Michael Mailer.
It should be noted that another of Mailer’s children, John Buffalo Mailer, told the New York Times that the details described in Wolff’s newsletter were “news to him,” adding that he did not suspect that Random House had “any interest in trying to cancel Norman Courier.”
âAnother refrain in all of these stories is that everyone is happy,â Wolff said on the podcast. “It’s just that everyone is scrambling to, I think, save their positions, save the deals that they have in place … while obviously having gone from being published by Random House to being published by Skyhorse. is less than good. “
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