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America's richest author James Patterson says white, male writers are facing a 'form of racism'

The author, who has churned out 11 titles to his name this year alone, says times are tough for up-and-coming white, male writers

Published: June 14, 2022 2:10pm

Updated: June 14, 2022 3:37pm

America's richest author, James Patterson, who is promoting his autobiography "James Patterson: The Stories of My Life," recently told the Sunday Times that white male authors are experiencing "another form of racism" in the modern world of writing.

He said that for white, male writers attempting to break through in the TV, film, theatre and publishing industries, it's harder now than it used to be.

"Can you get a job? Yes. Is it harder? Yes. It’s even harder for older writers. You don’t meet many 52-year-old white males," he said.

Patterson, whose books have long reigned (and continue to) atop the best-seller lists, is facing backlash for his comments from critics who say the 75-year-old is ignoring the data that suggests most published authors are still white.

The author, whose net worth is an estimated $800 million, has published two thrillers with former President Bill Clinton, and employs a team of ghostwriters to help him publish multiple titles a year  –11 so far in 2022. 

Roxane Gay, bestselling author tweeted in response to Patterson's interview. "James Patterson of all people. First of all, write your own books, pal."

As associate editor at the publisher TouchPoint Press, Gina Denny, tweeted in response to Patterson that just nine authors on the USA Today list of 150 bestsellers at the time of his comments are non-white. Three of Patterson's own titles were on the list at that time.

"Dead white men are statistically as likely to be on the USA Today bestseller list as a person of color," she wrote.

Patterson is also critical of the decision of staffers at his publisher, Hachette Book Group, to drop Woody Allen's 2020 memoir, "Apropos of Nothing," in response to long-running allegations of abuse against the director and writer. 

"I hated that. He has the right to tell his own story," Patterson said. "I'm almost always on the side of free speech."

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