Sunday, September 23, 2007

BITCH & FAMOUS Wendyl Nissen

On Thursday last I received an e-mail press release from Harper Collins NZ that I immediately posted to my blog.

It read as follows:

HarperCollins Publishers regrets to advise that they have agreed with Wendyl Nissen not to proceed with the publication of Bitch & Famous.
The book was due to be published on 1 October 2007. Tony Fisk, Managing Director of HarperCollins Publishers (NZ), has expressed his disappointment at the decision.

I responded the press release asking simply, What’s the story? To this I received an even briefer reply, No story.

Well now I have read the Sunday Star Times and the Herald on Sunday and both papers carried pieces that show that indeed there is a story. A major story.

It would seem, assuming the reports are correct, that Harper Collins Australia got cold feet and required a further legal opinion as to whether or not the material was defamatory. The author did not accept that this was necessary and asked that rights in the book be reverted to her to which Harper Collins agreed.

Since then, according to the Sunday Star Times both Penguin Books and Allen & Unwin have expressed interest in publishing the title.
The Herald on Sunday, a more sensational paper than the Sunday Star Times, which gives the story almost a page as opposed to the Times quarter page, carries the following especially interesting para:

Harper Collins won’t say why it was pulled other than to acknowledge a “legal issue”. But the Herald on Sunday believes intervention by Harper Collins Australia, as a result of a letter from Auckland writer and producer Colin Hogg, is behind the move. Details of references to Hogg – Nissen’s boss at the Auckland Star in the 80s – were leaked to him.

The long piece from the Herald on Sunday concludes:

In the meantime, Bitch & Famous, is in limbo. Nissen says she won’t be making any changes and might even add another chapter.

So there!

Read the full story from the Herald on Sunday here.

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