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Posts Tagged ‘Sarah McGrath’

Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer: Inga Muscio Speaks

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Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer has been living la vida fake for the last 10 years, according to one-time pal, author Inga Muscio who got the bad news from her agent Faye Bender. She writes:

The weekend before last, Faye called me. She said, “Inga, I need you to sit down.” This is when I found out that Peggy’s entire life for the past decade is a lie. This elaborately constructed life/lie was in place long, long before Peggy ever gave me her writing. As far as I know, her daughter and baby-daddy also believe this life/lie. Everyone who has met her for the past ten years knows her to be the person she describes in the book.

Allegedly Seltzer spun the tale of being a member of the Quinault tribe, via her “bio-dad” and got checks. Hmmm–fraud investigation brewing? We sure hope so. The Quinault number about 2500 on their tribal rolls.

Muscio also writes that Seltzer’s editor, Sarah McGrath, took the James Frey incident to heart:

Peggy and I spoke frequently throughout the three years she was working on the book. Not long after the James Frey scandal busted out, she calls me all pissed off. Sarah was “grilling” her about the veracity of her book and Peggy was absolutely indignant.

Muscio answers some more questions from Vanessa Juarez at EW.

Oh, and do read David Mills’ comment on her blog–she’d better send him those stickers.

Earlier:
Margaret B. Jones/Peggy Seltzer

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Margaret B Jones, Margaret Seltzer, Peggy –Aw to Hell With It!

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Motoko Rich owns the Peggy Seltzer story, and don’t even think of nabbing a tiny bit of it.

Rich writes about the deep thinking that went on at Riverhead. They all knew about the author’s various names:

Ms. Seltzer told her editor and her publisher that she wanted to use the pseudonym because it was the name she was known by in the gang world and because she was trying to reconnect with her birth mother and felt that using her real name would complicate this effort.

And you know what those gangbanger book clubs are like! Publishing windfall.

Sarah McGrath was snowed by a letter of recommendation:

(She)…had provided what she said were photographs of her foster siblings, a letter from a gang leader corroborating her story and had introduced her agent, Faye Bender, to a person who claimed to be a foster sister.

Was it the Mrs. John L. Strong stationery that impressed her or the elegant turn of phrase?

Poor freelancer Mimi Read–she got stuck with the trip to Eugene and the pit-bull meet up.

Ira Silverberg, JT LeRoy’s agent, chimes in:

It is not an industry capable of checking every last detail.

Silverberg couldn’t check even one detail–the actual existence of his author.

ExPat Jane doesn’t mince her words:

You gotta have Chip or Becky struggling with the gang bangers and crack heads in the ghetto instead of whiling away in the suburbs to make it worth signing.

Yxta Maya Murray is so proud of herself for believing every single word. Oh good grief.

And NPR didn’t air Seltzer’s interview with Michel Martin on Tell Me More. And guess what–she doesn’t sound the same as she did in the Boston interview–she’s also all worried about sounding “racist”. That’s the least of her worries.

She also claims that people in Eugene, Oregon think she looks “ethnic” and approach her in the supermarket. Su-u-u-re they do.

Michael Goldstein explains why writers lie.

White chicks sittin’ around talkin’: Celeste Fremont explains it all to Patt Morrison, who recalls Danny Santiago. Cupcake Brown, call in, please.

Kate Taylor explains why fact checking is so expensive.

GalleyCat has the publishing world covered and he’s our own lil’ homeskillet, yo.

Gangbanger Margaret B. Jones is Really Peggy Seltzer, Valley Girl

Margaret B. Jones = big lying liar. Not a foster kid, didn’t grow up in South Central, didn’t deliver drugs, didn’t even graduate from U of Oregon. Oh the humanity. But she once met some gang types.

She’s really Campbell Hall grad Peggy Seltzer. Campbell Hall is the Olson Twins’ alma mater. And her sister ratted her out:

Ms. Seltzer’s story started unraveling last Thursday after she was profiled in the House & Home section of The New York Times. The article appeared alongside a photograph of Ms. Seltzer and her 8-year-old daughter, Rya. Ms. Seltzer’s older sister, Cyndi Hoffman, saw the article and called Riverhead to tell editors that Ms. Seltzer’s story was untrue.

Peggy Seltzer is thanked in the forward of Inga Muscio’s Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My Life and Times in a Racist, Imperialist Society:

Peggy Seltzer, my platonic soulmate. I thank you for inviting me into your heart, for giving me books and music and laughter when I didn’t feel like there were any words or songs or happiness.

Her website lists the book as forthcoming No Child Left Behind: A South Sentral Story by Peggy Seltzer.

Muscio was introduced to Seltzer through a professor, and then set her up with her literary agent, Faye Bender, who got the book accepted by Sarah McGrath, then at Scribner, a unit of Simon & Schuster. When McGrath (whose father was editor of the New York Times Book Review) moved to Riverhead, the book and author went with her. (Yes, Riverhead was James Frey’s publisher. So, they’re stupid trusting.)

All this begs the question–who knew that the book was fiction and when did they know it? Did it not look salable as fiction and was repackaged as a memoir?

Riverhead/Penguin’s recalling the book.

And Peggy Seltzer–could be a different one–is also thanked in another book by an Oregon prof, Gordon Sayre in The Indian Chief as Tragic Hero: Native Resistance and the Literatures of Literatures of America, from Moctezuma to Tecumseh:

and Peggy Seltzer of the Quinault nation alerted me to the annual ride of the Sioux and inspired my teaching of Native American literature at Oregon.

What a busy girl.

Earlier:
Margaret B. Jones: South Central Memoirist