Donna Tartt fires off legal letters over Bennington podcast

Acclaimed writer Donna Tartt has been sending off some tart legal letters to a podcast about her time at Bennington College, Page Six has realized.

Tartt’s lawyer despatched the terse letters in October and September, sources say, to the producers of “Once Upon a Time… at Bennington College” — which particulars Tartt’s time on the college, together with an allegedly gender-bending relationship together with her male muse, fellow scholar Paul McGloin.

The podcast — impressed by Lili Anolik’s 2019 Esquire piece, “The Secret Oral History of Bennington: The 1980s’ Most Decadent College” — launched late final month, recounting the Vermont liberal arts school’s famed literary brat pack of destined-to-be-famous Gen X classmates, together with Pulitzer Prize-winner Tartt, “Less Than Zero” author Bret Easton Ellis, and MacArthur “Genius” Jonathan Lethem.

The podcast additionally contains alleged tales about a few of the faculty’s famous person college, together with Camille Paglia.

But Tartt, 57, the writer of “The Secret History” and “The Goldfinch,” appears decided to maintain her college days behind her.

Her literary brokers, RCW in London, have additionally apparently requested Apple to take down the podcast, alleging that it infringes on their rights.

The letters from Tartt’s lawyer aren’t filed legal paperwork, however merely warn the podcast’s creators to not use any “false, misleading or otherwise inaccurate statement” about Tartt that might be made by company, sources informed Page Six.

Another letter warns towards utilizing any of Tartt’s printed works with out permission, or any of her non-public college information. Tartt’s legal professional, and her company, didn’t reply to quite a few requests for touch upon Wednesday.

McGloin has additionally lawyered up, we hear.

Jonathan Lethem is also covered in the Bennington College podcast.
Jonathan Lethem can also be lined within the Bennington College podcast.
Getty Images for Palm Springs In

When we reached out for remark, podcast host Anolik informed us in a press release: “All I know is that Donna gave a polite decline when asked to participate in the podcast. Then my producer started hearing from her lawyer and from her publisher’s lawyers.”

She added: “My podcast is — at least in part — about how Donna Tartt wrote the American version of ‘Brideshead Revisited,’ i.e., ‘The Secret History,’ because she was living the American version of ‘Brideshead Revisited.’ While at Bennington, she inhabited a world that was very moneyed, very louche, very sexually ambiguous. The podcast is quite admiring of her, but it is also quite revealing of her.”

However, the disagreement between the wordsmiths could solely be heating up.

Wednesday’s episode of the podcast, “Mississippi Chippy,” detailed Mississippi-born Tartt’s private life whereas she was a scholar at luxe Bennington, which reportedly impressed her first ebook, the legendary ’90s tome, “The Secret History.”

According to the podcast, Tartt started an unusually shut relationship with fellow scholar McGloin within the early ’80s. As one former classmate, Todd O’Neal, recollects, “It was a little surreal because… all of a sudden Donna became like a small version of Paul. I can remember very clearly sitting with Paul and Donna, and… Donna was there dressed very similar to Paul. A blue blazer, a club tie and a white shirt, and khakis… boy’s pants, not girls. And hair in this funky little asexual bob. It was as if we were three boys sitting there.”

Bret Easton Ellis figures into Lili Anolik's podcast about Bennington College in the '80s.
Bret Easton Ellis figures into Lili Anolik’s podcast about Bennington College within the ’80s.
Getty Images for RFF

The podcast episode goes on to allege that McGloin even referred to as Tartt by the nicknames, “Laddie” and “M’boy,” and that Tartt recalled, “the raciest thing ever” was once they have been mistaken for a homosexual male couple throughout a go to to the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

In Anolik’s phrases, the previous couple had a “Fantasy, mutual, or so it would seem… that they are two boys in a romantic and sexual relationship,” and a “straight couple that perhaps gets a little jolt out of masquerading as a gay couple.”

Another former classmate within the podcast, referred to as solely “Student X,” alleges that she was dispatched by McGloin’s former girlfriend on the time to suss out his new relationship with Tartt.

The unnamed scholar wrote of their diary on the time of her novice investigation, in accordance with the podcast, “[Paul] is in love with a ‘delightful creature,’ a girl who looks like a little boy, whose sexuality seems like she wants to be treated like a homosexual man.”

The similar supply says that when she ultimately met Tartt, she was, “this super sweet tiny little thing … I do have to say I went back a little bit with my tail between my legs.”

The nameless classmate additionally recollects that she and her group referred to as Southern-born Tartt “the Missiissippi chippy” behind her again, and that, “People were saying these weird things about her… that she’s this powerhouse and she’s so smart. Then this other thing, I don’t know why this filtered down… why anyone knew this, but just that she somehow like, liked to have sex like a young boy… I don’t know what that means.” 

The podcast episode additionally particulars a now-famous date that Easton went on with Tartt, which was beforehand lined within the Esquire piece, as was Tartt’s relationship with McGloin.

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