Readersforum's Blog

February 18, 2013

How James Lasdun was haunted by a cyberstalker

Filed under: Authors — Tags: , , , , — Bookblurb @ 8:40 am

giveWhen the writer James Lasdun spurned the advances of a former student, she embarked on a vicious online campaign to destroy his reputation. He explains why he chose to describe the ordeal in a book.

By Richard Grant

In December 2005 the poet and writer James Lasdun was leading a quiet, bookish, life in the mountains of upstate New York. Happily married with two young children, he was working on a screen adaptation of his wife’s novel, digging in his vegetable garden, and he had just finished teaching for the year at a college in New York City.

Out of the blue he received an email from a former student, an Iranian-American woman who had taken his fiction-writing class two years previously. We’ll call her Nasreen.

They started corresponding about the novel she was writing, and then in an amicable way about each other’s lives. At a certain point, he realised that she was flirting with him, and he tried gently to discourage it. Instead, her emails became smitten, obsessive, harrying. Lasdun stopped answering them, and she unleashed an online hate campaign so deranged and relentless that even now, having written a superb book about the whole experience, he still can’t find a satisfactory way to explain it.

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