Friday, May 24, 2024

James Franco Sells First Novel, Compared to Work of W.E. Sebald


Multi-tasking, multi-hyphenate actor- director-writer-artist-curator-producer-hypnotist James Franco has sold his first novel, to Amazon. The New York Observer got the scoop of the sale, but I’ll tell you a little bit more. “Actors Anonymous” is said to be in the style of late German novelist, W.E. Sebald, who mixed memoir with fiction and punctuated with black and white photographs. Ed Park, who’s a happening novelist, is editing the book at Amazon. (His novel, “Personal Days,” was a cult favorite last year from Random House.)

If you haven’t followed this story so far, Amazon’s actual physical books are distributed by Houghton Mifflin. But there’s a hitch: Barnes & Noble has threatened not to stock Amazon books or include them for Kindle. (This is so ridiculous, it’s hard to discuss. This is the same Barnes & Noble that killed off small bookstores 30 years ago in favor of their “supermarkets.” )

Anyway, Franco’s collection of short stories, called “Palo Alto,” was published a year and a half ago by Nan Graham at Scribner’s. (Note to Gawker: “Palo Alto” was pretty damn good.) But Franco made friends with Park while doing some of his graduate work at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. “Ed is really into making the book a big deal,” agent Richard Abate, who made the deal at Franco’s behest. Franco, studying at Warren Wilson, Yale, and the Rhode Island School of Design, has no publication date in mind yet.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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