Books: Writer Wrong

A prizewinning novel by a reformed con artist

You don't have to dig too deep to find the link between writing novels and conning people out of lots of money: both involve making stuff up. So it wasn't completely shocking when D.B.C. Pierre, the author of Vernon God Little (Canongate; 277 pages), which won the prestigious Man Booker Prize two weeks ago, rather dramatically announced that he wasn't D.B.C. Pierre at all. Turns out he's really Peter Finlay, 42, an Australian who earlier in life ran up enormous debts and bilked a close friend out of an apartment to feed his runaway drug and gambling habits (from which Pierre,...

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