This past weekend, the New Yorker published a lengthy exposé detailing how Dan Mallory, the former William Morrow executive editor and pseudonymous author, as A.J. Finn, of the bestselling thriller The Woman in the Window, had lied to colleagues and superiors for years as he rose up the ranks in publishing. Now, with Mallory admitting to some of his fabrications as William Morrow, which is also the book's publisher, prepares to release the book (which sold 356,718 hardcover copies and last year and was 2018's #8 bestseller in fiction, according to NPD Bookscan) in paperback this March, the book business is abuzz with one question: What will happen to Dan Mallory?
In a statement, a spokesperson for William Morrow gave PW the same line it gave the New Yorker. "We don’t comment on the personal lives of our employees or authors," the statement read. "Professionally, Dan was a highly valued editor, and the publication of The Woman in the Window—a #1 New York Times bestseller out the gate and the bestselling debut novel of 2018—speaks for itself." A spokesperson for the company later added that Morrow will publish the trade paperback edition of Window on March 5, as scheduled. Plans to publish a forthcoming second, as-yet-untitled book by Mallory, also under the A.J. Finn pseudonym, have also not changed, Morrow confirmed.
This news will satisfy few in the publishing industry. Mallory, by virtue of a two-book, seven-figure deal and a bestselling novel compared to Paula Hawkins's The Girl on the Train, has become a public figure. His actions, both alleged and admitted, over the course of his academic and publishing career are of clear concern to the business, which continues to combat a climate in which diversity is a relative rarity and men are promoted faster, and paid more, than women—even, apparently, when they lie. (Fabrications Mallory was accused of in Ian Parker's piece for the New Yorker include, but are not limited to: claims he held up to two doctorates, while Parker reports he has received none; the deaths of his mother and brother, who remain alive; having cancer, which Mallory has admitted to fabricating.)
In the days following publication of the New Yorker story, many in the publishing and literary industries have taken to Twitter to say just that:
The Dan Mallory story is wild and hilarious until you remember that young women of color are leaving publishing in droves while mediocre white men continue to find enormous success while making subzero effort and creating hostile work environments for their coworkers.— Laura Sebastian (@sebastian_lk) February 4, 2019
The shocking thing about the Dan Mallory piece is how a bullshitter used connections to get into upper management then leeched off the work of lower paid employees while everyone called them a genius. How could that happen in literally every single business ever?— Lincoln Michel (@TheLincoln) February 5, 2019
Now can we talk about how much of Dan Mallory’s book, written purposely under a feminine-sounding pen name, was ripped from The Girl on the Train and other wildly successful thrillers by women— Kara Thomas (@karatwrites) February 4, 2019
Impossible as an author this week not to compare yourself to #DanMallory (who I've met and liked). For my own novel inspired by Rear Window, The Sudden Departure of the Frasers (2015), I was paid under two per cent what DM got for his. And my mum really had just died of cancer.— Louise Candlish (@louise_candlish) February 6, 2019
So apparently some famous writer was disgraced this week and a venerable literary organization asked me to fill in for him at a dinner to raise money for imperiled writers around the world.— Anand Giridharadas (@AnandWrites) February 6, 2019
You won’t believe what ensued.