Sales of erotic books have surged in the wake of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades success, but does Marie Calloway’s forthcoming Tyrant Books release What Purpose Did I Serve in Your Life cross a line? For printer Sterling Pierce, the answer is apparently yes.
Gearing up for a June publication, Tyrant publisher Giancarlo DiTrapano this week received word that the printer has refused to print review copies of the book. In a brief note, which DiTrapano shared online, the printer said that “due to the content, we are going to have to pass on printing this book.” Asked to elaborate on their issues with the content, representatives for the printer declined to comment to PW.
DiTrapano, whose upstart independent company Tyrant Books (distributed by Consortium) publishes a strong list of avante-garde literary works (including Blake Butler’s recent book, Skysaw, which earned a starred PW review) is now scrambling for a printer, but said the book will still be published in June. “Sterling Pierce has served Tyrant impeccably over the years, and they have every right to print or not print what they choose,” DiTrapano told PW. “I just found it surprising that they deemed Marie Calloway unprintable.” While there are “collages that contain some nudity,” DiTrapano said the rendering was artistic. “To view the content of this book as pornographic, which I'm assuming is the case, is missing the point.”
Calloway, however, is no stranger to controversy. She has written of her time working as a sex worker in London, and, perhaps most notably, of her affair with an older New York editor. DiTrapano says the refusal of the printer to print the book is “further proof that Ms. Calloway’s artistic endeavors cause an undeniably strong reaction in people.”