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Real Writers Defend One of Their Own Against Frivolous Charge of Plagiarism

The New York Times reports that, in one of many letters published in the Telegraph in support of Ian McEwan, Thomas Keneally, the author “Schindler’s List,” wrote “Fiction depends on a certain value-added quality created on top of the raw material, and that McEwan has added value beyond the original will, I believe, be richly demonstrated.” If not, Mr. Keneally added, “God help us all.”

Thomas Pynchon said that “that McEwan ‘merits not our scolding but our gratitude’ for using details from another author’s book.”

The Telegraph reports that in an extraordinary campaign launched yesterday, many of the world’s best known authors rallied around McEwan, complaining that the future of historical novel-writing was threatened if they could not copy or borrow details from eyewitnesses to history. Other novelists backing the author include John Updike, Martin Amis, Margaret Atwood, Thomas Keneally and Zadie Smith. Their confessions are part of an extraordinary campaign of support for McEwan.