A group of writers purposely wrote a terrible novel full of sex scenes

A group of writers purposely wrote a terrible novel full of sex scenes

A group of writers purposely wrote a terrible novel full of nothing but sex scenes to prove how vulgar American culture had become. It became a bestseller

“Mike McGrady was convinced that popular American literary culture had become so base—with the best-seller lists dominated by the likes of Harold Robbins and Jacqueline Susann—that even a wretchedly written, literarily vacant work could succeed if enough sex was thrown in. To test his theory, in 1966 McGrady recruited a team of Newsday colleagues (according to Andreas Schroder, nineteen men and five women) to collaborate on a sexually explicit novel with no literary or social value whatsoever. McGrady co-edited the project with his Newsday colleague Harvey Aronson, and among the other collaborators were well-known writers including 1965 Pulitzer Prize winner Gene Goltz, 1970 Pulitzer Prize winner Robert W. Greene, and journalist Marilyn Berger. The group wrote the book as a deliberately inconsistent and mediocre hodge-podge, with each chapter written by a different author. Some of the chapters had to be heavily edited, because they were originally too well-written. The book was submitted for publication under the pseudonym “”Penelope Ashe”” (portrayed by McGrady’s sister-in-law for photographs and meetings with publishers).
The publisher, Lyle Stuart, was an independent publisher then known for controversial books, many with sexual content. According to Stuart, he appropriated the cover photo (a kneeling nude woman with very long hair down her back, photographed from behind) from a Hungarian nudist magazine; the model and photographer later demanded and received payment.”

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