Philip Roth biography gets new publisher amid sexual assault allegations against author

After being dropped last month, Blake Bailey’s book finds new home with Woody Allen’s publishers

Kevin E G Perry
Los Angeles
Tuesday 18 May 2021 08:07
Books-Philip Roth Biography
Books-Philip Roth Biography

A new biography of Philip Roth, which was taken out of publication last month after sexual assault allegations surfaced against its author, Blake Bailey, has found a new publisher.

Skyhorse Publishing announced today that it will publish Philip Roth: The Biography in paperback on 15 June, and plans to have e-book and audio editions ready by 19 May.

The book was originally released in early April by WW Norton & Company and reached the New York Times bestseller list on a wave of largely positive reviews.

However, two weeks after publication reports from the Los Angeles Times and the New Orleans Times-Picayune among others featured extensive allegations of sexual abuse against Bailey.

The allegations were made by former students of Bailey who had been taught by the author when he was a middle-grade teacher in New Orleans in the 1990s.

Students went on the record to allege a pattern of inappropriate behaviour while he was a teacher, and that he later pursued sexual relationships. Two former students and book publishing executive Valentina Rice have alleged that he assaulted them.

Bailey, who has also written acclaimed biographies of the authors John Cheever and Richard Yates, has denied any wrongdoing.

WW Norton & Company initially paused the book’s printing and promotion, then withdrew it from publication altogether.

That was before it was picked up by Skyhorse Publishing, which last year published a memoir by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen as well as Woody Allen’s memoir Apropos of Nothing. The latter book had been dropped by Hachette Book Group after employees staged a walkout in protest at its publication. Allen’s daughter Dylan Farrow has alleged he molested her when she was seven, an allegation Allen has always vehemently denied.