Toronto author Andrew Westoll has been doing a fine job as the official blogger for this year’s International Festival of Authors. In fact, it seems he’s been doing such a good job that National Post society columnist Shinan Govani has been ripping off his reporting “ or so Westoll alleges.
The controversy (okay, the tiff) is concerning Westoll’s fly-on-the-wall account of a Friday night dinner conversation between novelist and critic Francine Prose and a handful of other IFOA authors (including Q&Q‘s own Nathan Whitlock). On his blog, Westoll relates several telling details from the exchange, in which he observes Prose playing with her food (I watched Francine pick the pepperoni off her pizza) and overhears an anecdote concerning Laura Bush.
Govani’s write-up (scroll down) seems to draw from the same well of first-hand experience:
As the celebrated and perfectly-named Prose flicked pepperoni off her pizza, we hear, she told people about the Laura Bush moment she had some weeks back when she had an opportunity to visit the White House. Long story short: She kinda told the First Lady off.
The weasel word here is the vague we hear embedded in the first sentence. The verdict: while this isn’t an example of straight-up plagiarism, a hat-tip to Westoll would have been the gentlemanly thing to do.