Today in publishing and literature: HarperCollins shelled out "close to $4 million) for the former exchange student's jailhouse diaries, a Toronto library thinks it has a lost piece of correspondence from Jorge Luis Borges, and the origins of a very specific Cormac McCarthy word choice.
HarperCollins has landed Amanda Knox's memoir for "close to $4 million," according to sources briefed on the deal. The book was expected to sell for seven figures, but the price spiked as more publishers entered the bidding this week. In addition to HarperCollins, a source notes that "seven publishers had submitted bids, including Crown, part of Random House; St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan; Atria, part of Simon & Schuster; and Dutton, an imprint of Penguin Group USA." A representative for HarperCollins says the book is scheduled for release in early 2013. [The New York Times]
A librarian in Toronto claims to have found a handwritten note from Jorge Luis Borges in her library's copy of Plato's Republic. "Handwritten in Spanish, the card appears to carry his signature and a cartoon doodle." It's dated June 1978, and is a thank you note for a reception that was given in his honor, plus his wish for "the very best success with your library and its marvellous collection of books." The trouble is, there's no record of the Agincourt branch holding a reception for Borges. In fact, he only came to Canada twice in his lifetime, visiting Toronto in 1968 and Ottawa in 1983. And while there's no record of a 1978 visit, the hadwriting is a match, and there's always the possibility he sent the letter to someone who visited Toronto and left the card behind. Plus, as Toronto historian David Wencer quite reasonably notes: "Why would anybody bother to forge such an item?” It is a very strange thing to forge and then plant.” [Toronto Star, photo via Agincourt District Libraries]