Biographer accused of molestation and rape to publish memoir | Books

The author of a Philip Roth biography, which was out of print by its original publisher last year after allegations he raped several women and groomed his former middle school students for sexual encounters when they were older, is preparing to write a book publish what bills itself as a cautionary tale of the so-called abandonment culture.

Blake Bailey’s latest work is set to be printed by the controversial Skyhorse Publishing, which picked up his Roth book and an earlier memoir after WW Norton pulled it off the press and promised to donate money to sex abuse organizations equal to the advance it received to the biographer.

Publishing giant Simon & Schuster has reached an agreement to distribute Skyhorse’s titles, including memoirs by film director Woody Allen as well as by Roger Stone, Donald Trump’s ally, who was pardoned by the former president after federal officials accused him of Russian meddling while investigating the 2016 election.

Eve Crawford Peyton, who publicly accused Bailey of raping her as an adult after being his student at Lusher Middle School in New Orleans in the 1990s, said Wednesday it was “disappointing but not surprising” that her ex-teacher is writing a book in which he presents himself as a victim of the Cancel culture.

“I have told my story, I have told the truth, and I have no further comment,” Peyton said in a statement.

Bailey has previously admitted in testimony from a lawyer to have exhibited “deplorable” behavior but denied ever breaking the law.

Bailey’s 900-page tome about Roth landed on the New York Times bestseller list in Spring 2021 and was acclaimed by some reviewers, although others criticized the biographer for portraying himself as overly sympathetic to his subject’s mistreatment of women during his storied literary career career turned out.

Among those who felt that Bailey, 59, was overly indulgent about Roth’s misogyny were several of his former students at Lusher, who spoke of meeting him because they found it traumatic to edit his profile based on his previous biographies of literary stars John Cheever in see the skyrocket and Richard Yates released.

A number of former students Bailey taught as eighth graders in the 1990s said he stayed in touch with them for years and presented himself as a life and career mentor. They gave public interviews to local and national media about sexual encounters with him in their early adulthood, with Peyton describing how he raped her.

Her reports prompted a publishing executive named Valentina Rice to go public with her allegation that Bailey raped her in 2015 while they were both overnight guests at the home of a New York Times book critic.

WW Norton then permanently pulled the Roth biography and a 2014 memoir of Bailey from the press, while pledging a six-figure donation to organizations fighting sex abuse. Within weeks, Skyhorse announced plans to republish Bailey’s Roth book, even after Bailey faced additional allegations of abuse and harassment at Old Dominion University in Virginia, where he most recently taught as a visiting professor.

A law firm hired by Old Dominion investigated these allegations and released a 92-page report that concluded that Bailey had sexually assaulted and molested at least two women at the university. According to the Virginia-Pilot newspaper, administration officials knew about the incidents but did not blame him.

If Skyhorse’s publicity is to be believed, Bailey’s forthcoming memoir — an e-book titled Repellent — sees him as a victim of “ominous powers” attempting to obliterate him and Roth for their “fallible people.”

The book promises a self-reflection from Bailey on his “wayward behavior” while purporting to “reflect on the extent to which writers’ personal lives should affect perceptions of their work.”

Lithub.com was the first to report on Repellent on Tuesday, which is scheduled for release in April 2023.

“While we don’t have to hand it to Skyhorse under any circumstances, … their brand is extremely consistent,” the website wrote in its article on Repellent.

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