Big news in posthumous publishing this week: J.D. Salinger and Elmore Leonard may both have new books on the way.
By far the more surprising revelation relates to Salinger, who according to a forthcoming book and documentary, left a trove of manuscripts when he died in 2010 at the age of 91, the New York Times reports:
"Mr. Salinger instructed his estate to publish at least five additional books — some of them entirely new, some extending past work — in a sequence that he intended to begin as early as 2015.
The new books and stories were largely written before Mr. Salinger assigned his output to a trust in 2008, and would greatly expand the Salinger legacy.
One collection, to be called The Family Glass, would add five new stories to an assembly of previously published stories about the fictional Glass family, which figured in Mr. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey and elsewhere, according to the claims, which surfaced in interviews and previews of the documentary and book last week."
The biography, titled Salinger, was co-written by David Shields and Shane Salerno. It and a companion documentary created by Salerno base their claims about the unpublished manuscripts on anonymous sources:
"Jonathan Karp, the publisher of Simon & Schuster, said in an interview on Saturday that the book was 'a major journalistic feat.'
'He did rely on some anonymous sources, and I’ve talked to him about that,' said Mr. Karp. 'I believe that his sourcing is strong on the basis of all of the on-the-record sourcing that is unimpeachable.'
Mr. Karp said of the 'big reveal' of the unpublished manuscripts, 'if and when this happens, I would expect it to be one of the biggest publishing events of the year, if not the decade.'”
Having secured his literary standing in 1951 with The Catcher in the Rye, Salinger was known to be a recluse who hadn't published in decades. The question of what, if anything, he was doing with his talents all those years gave him an irresistible mystique.
Leonard, by contrast, continued publishing prolifically until his death last week at the age of 87. So it's perhaps only to be expected that he died while working on a novel, his 46th, according to a BBC interview with the author's son, who is also a writer.
"Blue Dreams was to have featured the Stetson-wearing US marshal Raylan Givens, who has appeared in a string of Leonard's stories.
In an interview with Radio 4's Broadcasting House that was aired on Sunday, presenter Paddy O'Connell asked Peter Leonard whether he would finish the book.
'I would, I think so,' he replied. 'It's been discussed among family members and I've talked to Greg Sutter, Elmore's longtime researcher.'"