October 15, 2004
Bonfire of the vanities . . .
by Dennis Johnson
For bestselling children’s author Graham Taylor (aka J.P. Taylor), the idea was to give his office “a merciless spring clean,” reports Arifa Akbar in this story for The Independent. So, Taylor started a bonfire in his garden and ” gathered a one-foot-high heap of yellowing papers in his arms and flung the sheets into the flames.” Then, as he stood watching the flames he caught sight of some of the words on the burning pages and “realised with great alarm that he had accidentally burnt the original manuscripts for his best-selling thrillers, Shadowmancer and Wormwood, as well as the only updated draft of his unpublished work, Tersias.” The manuscript for Shadowmancer—which sold over a million copies in England— had been valued at £250,000.
Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.