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Why is everyone in the publishing industry talking about Dan Mallory?

Late to the Mallory scandal? We hear you. Here's a quick primer to catch up.

Who’s Dan Mallory?

The real name of A.J. Finn, the best-selling author behind The Woman in the Window, which you’ve probably heard of because of his book’s comparisons to Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train, and Hitchcock’s films; because of his epic Hollywood deal, with a film adaptation set to star Amy Adams, Gary Oldman, and Julianne Moore; or because of his unusual path to publication (he worked as a book editor and sent his manuscript to auction anonymously).

Ok, so what I’d miss?

This doozy of a New Yorker article from the Feb. 11th issue.

That’s a lot of words.

Well, it is the New Yorker. But it’s worth your time.

Can you catch me up to speed on the main points? 

Well, it’s likely Dan Mallory’s personal life is more interesting than his fiction. Some highlights from Mallory’s history as alleged in the article include:

  • Writing an application essay claiming his mother, brother, and father died (they did not)
  • Telling an imprint of Little, Brown he had taught literature at Oxford (he did not, but was still hired)
  • Telling Little, Brown he had a job offer from a competing company (he did not, but was still promoted)
  • Telling coworkers he had an inoperable brain tumor (he did not)

The article also suggests he may have created a Gmail account, supposedly belonging to his brother, and carried out correspondence with colleagues about Dan’s fictional cancerous condition.

That’s…a lot.

We haven’t even gotten to “leaving cups of urine at work” part.

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Stop it. 

We told you it was worth a read.

What does Mallory say about all this?

He didn’t comment on the article directly while Ian Parker was writing it; a PR company hired by Mallory released several statements for use in the New Yorker. Most of the allegations were denied by the representative, though he did release this statement to the publication in late January:

“For the past two years, I’ve spoken publicly about mental illness: the defining experience of my life—particularly during the brutal years bookending my late twenties and mid-thirties—and the central theme of my novel. Throughout those dark times, and like many afflicted with severe bipolar II disorder, I experienced crushing depressions, delusional thoughts, morbid obsessions, and memory problems. It’s been horrific, not least because, in my distress, I did or said or believed things I would never ordinarily say, or do, or believe—things of which, in many instances, I have absolutely no recollection.”

Mallory is currently on a Twitter hiatus “as I tour – and work on my next book,” per his A.J. Finn Twitter account.

Is anyone coming to his defense?

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Morrow, his former employer and publisher of The Woman in the Window, also released a statement:

“We don’t comment on the personal lives of our employees or authors. Professionally, Dan was a highly valued editor, and the publication of ‘The Woman in the Window’—a #1 New York Times bestseller out of the gate, and the bestselling debut novel of 2018—speaks for itself.”

As of right now, it looks like they’re continuing their two-book contract with Mallory. No news of the pending film adaptation has broken.

Where can I do some more reading?

Here’s a quick list:

What Will Happen to Dan Mallory? (Publishers Weekly)

What My Afternoon with Daniel Mallory Reveals About Literary Scammers (Vanity Fair)

The talented Dan Mallory affair: is this high noon for the privileged white male? (The Guardian)

This Was My Favorite Character in the Wild Literary Scammer Story (The Cut)

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