Today in publishing and literature: The author's planned video address was cancelled by police because of safety concerns, Michael Hastings says Little, Brown was "terrified" of The Operators, and Cormac McCarthy is not on Twitter despite rumors to the contrary.
Plans to have Salman Rushdie address attendees at the Jaipur Literature Festival via video chat today have been nixed, after local police officials, citing "the resentment simmering in the city," told organizers that they would not permit the writer to deliver his speech. Rushdie, who has already come out and said he believes authorities lied to him when they informed him that mobsters from Mumbai would attempt to to kill him if he appeared in person at the festival, called the news "awful," while noting that he'd just finished an interview that will air on India's NDTV later today. [The Guardian]
Our colleagues down the hall have put together a nice slideshow of the most expensive books in the world that are not copies of John James Audubon's Birds of America. We hope Paul Allen is happy with the Shakespeare First Folio he paid $6.1 million for at auction back in 2001. We just downloaded an exact replica for free, though we doubt it has any chance of increasing in value. [The Atlantic]
In the summer of 2010, Little, Brown reportedly gave journalist Michael Hastings a "high six-figure advance" to write a book based on his infamous Rolling Stone article, "The Runaway General," which ended up costing Gen. Stanley McChrystal his command. This past July, the publisher abruptly dropped the book, called The Operators, and went to great lengths to avoid providing even a boilerplate explanation for the decision. (When contacted for comment by New York Post media columnist Keith Kelly, Little, Brown president Michael Pietsch said he was "not going to talk about that," and then apparently disconnected his phone.) The book is now out, but Little, Brown will only say that their decision to drop the projected stemmed from "editorial differences." Hastings, not unreasonably, is taking the position that his old publisher thought the book was too controversial to move ahead with. Which doesn't totally hang together, since they saw the kind of material he included in the Rolling Stone article, but it's a good story when you're on book tour. When asked why they dropped the project, Hastings responds: "The book terrified them—literally. One email from the editor said he and the publisher were terrified after reading it. I was like, [expletive] man, the subtitle of the book is that it's a 'wild and terrifying story.'" He continues, "[C]learly, the book made them very uncomfortable—from the language I used to the views expressed about the Pentagon. I didn't want to compromise my vision for the book." In other words, there really were editorial differences. [Capital New York]
Cormac McCarthy is not, in fact, behind the @CormacCMcCarthy Twitter account, according to his publisher. On the one hand, the amount of uncertainty the account initially generated is surprising, because really, who would Cormac McCarthy follow, other than the Appaloosa Horse Club and the Texas State Historical Association? Of course if you told us two weeks ago that McCarthy would be writing spec screenplays, we wouldn't have believed it. [GalleyCat]
Well this is an interesting pairing: Harlan Coben and Lawrence Kasdan are going to work together to write the screenplay for the film adaptation of Coben's upcoming thriller Stay Close. Coben's books consistently top the best-seller charts, but nobody's been able to make one into a movie yet. Kasdan, for his part, is a near-iconic director who hasn't had a credit since Dreamcatcher (!!!) in 2002. So it's a win-win for both of them, especially Coben, who will be there to make sure Kasdan doesn't stray too far from the source material. [Deadline]