It has come out in the open that US author of offbeat stories JT LeRoy does not exist and his books were actually penned by a 40-year-old woman, Laura Albert.
“The jig is up,” Geoffrey Knoop, Albert’s partner of the past 16 years, told The New York Times.
“I do want to apologise to people who were hurt,” Knoop said. “It got to a level where I didn’t expect.”
Confirmation of the fraud came in the light of a host of media probes that concluded that LeRoy, the named author of several critically lauded works of fiction, was not the 25-year-old ex male prostitute the author claimed to be.
Knoop, who separated from Albert in December, told the Times that he had seen her write the books attributed to LeRoy in their San Francisco apartment and heard her holding telephone conversations as her authorial alter ego with unwitting editors and celebrities.
LeRoy’s declared environment was that of a child prostitute who became a drug addict and contracted the HIV virus before being rescued from the streets of San Francisco by Albert and Knoop.
LeRoy was known for three works of semi-autobiographical fiction that swiftly gathered a substantial cult following and have been published in 20 countries.
LeRoy was also attributed with the original screenplay for Gus Van Sant’s movie “Elephant” and is listed as the film’s associate producer.
LeRoy’s rare public appearances involved a person disguised behind sunglasses and a woman’s blonde wig, now acknowledged by Knoop as his 25-year-old half sister, Savannah Knoop.
“On the business side I ran a lot of the day to day,” Knoop, a rock musician, said of the hoax. “Sending things out and contacting people, making decisions about what we were and weren’t going to do.”