A recent article in New York magazine follows writer Stephen Beachy’s search for an ever-elusive, ever-reclusive figure in contemporary American letters. With a number of writerly acquaintances and as author of three cult-status books endorsed by the likes of Dave Eggers, Tom Waits, John Waters, and Lou Reed, JT Leroy is an active writer and self-promoter. He is also, as Beachy discovers, a man very few in the literary establishment have knowingly seen.
Beachy charts the author’s rise to fame, explaining how Leroy, a cross-dressing child prostitute pimped out by his prostitute and drug-addicted mother, was able to achieve literary fame without ever meeting an editor or publisher face to face. Writing books informed by his own life experiences, Leroy does what he must to maintain his privacy and in so doing has made himself a myth. Planning public meetings he never shows up to, corresponding almost exclusively through telephone and e-mail, and holding readings of his work performed by other writers while lurking in the audience incognito, Leroy seems only to want to be left alone. Judging from Beachy’s suggestion that there may be no such person as JT Leroy, that he may be nothing but another writer’s alter ego, one can only conclude that Leroy’s evasion has paid off.
Click here for the full story from New York magazine