This weekend in Los Angeles was the 11th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. It's an enormous literary event attracting thousands of readers to the UCLA campus to attend lectures by such high-profile writers as Frank McCourt, Mitch Albom, Mary Higgins Clark, Joan Didion, Sebastian Junger, Joyce Carol Oates, Gay Talese, Amy Tan, Susan Vowell, and Gore Vidal.
I was very honored to be asked by the festival organizers to moderate one of the most controversial seminars, titled "Plagiarism, Lies, and Total BS in Writing." The panel consisted of several noted writers:
Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard undergraduate who's been accused of liberal 'borrowing' for How Opal Mehta got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life. I had just written a post about her, so I was very familiar with her situation.
James Frey, who wholly fabricated details of his outlaw life in order to sell his book, "A Million Little Pieces."
Jayson Blair, the New York Times reporter who faked quotes and even entire interviews, and plagiarized from other newspapers.
Michael Hiltzik, who just lost his LA Times "Golden State" column this weekend after it was found out that he was putting phony comments on his own LA.Times blog.
William Shakespeare, noted dramatist and poet, who plagiarized most of his historical plots from Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles.
A complete transcript of the seminar can be found at the book festival website.