, one of the 25 authors of the 'Naked Came the Stranger' literary hoax from 1969, died yesterday. He was better known as an editorial writer for Newsday.
Naked Came the Stranger
was a novel that was designed to test just how low the standards of taste of the American public had sunk. 25 Newsday staff members each wrote a chapter of this novel. Their only requirements were that their chapters could contain no plot or character development, no social insight, and no verbal skill. Only one thing was required: a minimum of two sex scenes per chapter.
The resulting novel was attributed to a fictitious author (Penelope Ashe), who was played by the attractive sister-in-law of Mike McGrady, the columnist who conceived the idea for the hoax. McGrady's sister-in-law played her role to the fullest, appearing in interviews wearing low-cut dresses and bubbling about the joys of sexual liberation. The American public predictably ate it up and sales of the book soared. The Newsday writers eventually began to feel guilty about all the money they were receiving from the farce, and confessed. But the resulting publicity only made the book sell even better.