More On Erdal
A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the case of Jennie Erdal, a ghostwriter who’d gone public about the man she’d been writing for for years, Palestinian-British publisher and author Naim Atallah. The Telegraph‘s Anne Chisholm reviews books by both Erdal and Atallah in this article and she seems decidedly less taken with Erdal than previous reviewers:
Erdal presents herself as the intellectually superior, if socially insecure, outsider in the frivolous court clustered around her employer. She weaves her own story into the narrative, describing a narrow-minded Scottish background; there is a whiff of malice in her account of the Arabellas and Sabrinas who were her colleagues: “It seemed that if you were out of the top drawer you did a lot of shrieking.” (…) Erdal sprinkles her text with speculation about language and truth, but dodges the awkward ethical question: was it right to break the silence and discretion for which she was paid?
Of the partnership, who now emerges as the more exploited? At least Attallah has now shown, assuming that he wrote his new book all by himself, that he can manage without her. Only her next book will show whether she can do the same.
The relationship between ghostwriter and client in this particular case sounds more intimate and dysfunctional than professional, but I’m not sure I agree with Chisholm that Atallah has some sort of moral high ground over Erdal.