Last week the film The Hoax was released, which is about Clifford Irving's false biography of Howard Hughes. Irving is not the only writer who’s produced questionable literary efforts.
A few years ago London’s Guardian newspaper published a list of top ten literary hoaxes, which included The Hitler Diaries, which fooled historians, as well as the work of the young Thomas Chatterton, an 18th-century poet who passed off his work as that of a 15th-century monk.
Unfortunately, there’s more where that came from: a blogger published a list of the top 20 literary hoaxes, and more recently, there was a brouhaha about James Frey’s best-selling memoir, A Million Little Pieces, which turned out to have a lot of fiction for a supposed autobiography.
For more on literary hoaxes, check out:
The Hitler Diaries: Fakes That Fooled the World by Charles Hamilton.
The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Will Eisner.
The Poet and the Murderer: A True Story of Literary Crime and the Art of Forgery by Simon Worrall.
A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers and the Extraordinary Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar.
The Museum of Hoaxes: A Collection of Pranks, Stunts, Deceptions, and Other Wonderful Stories Contrived for the Public From the Middle Ages to the New Millennium by Alex Boese.