Round Two of French Literary Plagiarism Clash

In What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

By Mark Garcia-Prats

Boxing Gloves

Ding! Ding! Round two of the fiery plagiarism battle between French authors Camille Laurens and Marie Darrieussecq is taking place this month, as each author publishes a book in reaction to the dispute…

Two years ago, the French literary world was captivated when Laurens accused Darrieussecq of “psychological plagiarism” in her novel Tom est mort (Tom is Dead). The novel is narrated by a mother a decade after the accidental death of her four-year-old child. Laurens claims that Darrieussecq stole the idea from her 1995 memoir Phillippe, about the death of her newborn son; Darrieussecq denied the accusation. The well-publicized conflict ended with Laurens being let go by editor Paul Otchakovsky, director of Editions P.O.L, whom the two authors shared.

Last week the conflict was rekindled in the French media as Darrieussecq published Rapport de police: Accusations de plagiat et autres modes de surveillance de la fiction (Police Report: Accusations of Plagiarism and other modes of fiction surveillance). The book is a study of writers accused of plagiarism and the detrimental effect on their work. And not to be outdone, this week, from her corner of the ring, Laurens will publish her novel Romance nerveuse (Nervous Romance). The story is about an author who struggles to write after being let go by her publisher following her accusation of plagiarism against another writer.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.