Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In New Interview, Winfrey and Franzen Trade Hatchets for Hugs

By Dave Itzkoff
Jonathan Franzen appears with Oprah Winfrey at a taping of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Two titans of literature, each with the power to move books by the thousands, settled any remaining differences on Friday as Jonathan Franzen taped a much anticipated appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
Photo - © 2010 Harpo Productions, Inc./All Rights Reserved./Photographer: George Burns.

Mr. Franzen, the author of the novel “Freedom,” was making his first appearance on Ms. Winfrey’s syndicated talk show since losing out on a previous opportunity to be featured in 2001. But any grievances resulting from that incident have been settled, at least according to one person’s account.

“They’ve gotten way past it,” said Jeff Seroy, the senior vice president of marketing and publicity at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, which publishes Mr. Franzen’s books, and who attended Friday’s taping. “They hugged before they went on,” Mr. Seroy said. “They hugged at the beginning of the show, and they hugged at the end.”

Ms. Winfrey previously chose Mr. Franzen’s 2001 novel, “The Corrections,” for her book club and invited him to the show. When the author expressed misgivings in print and broadcast interviews that an endorsement from Ms. Winfrey might turn some readers away, and wondered if his appearance was inconsistent with his place in “the high-art literary tradition,” his invitation was rescinded.

But last November, Ms. Winfrey announced she was ending her talk show in 2011 to focus on a new cable channel, setting the stage for September’s news that she had chosen “Freedom” as a book club selection and would have Mr. Franzen on the show for a final amends-making session.
Full story at New York Times.

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