12 Literary Scandals That Are So Much Stranger Than Fiction

From the secret smuggling of the Aleppo Codex and plagues of plagiarism, to the pseudonyms that keep readers everywhere guessing and epic literary heists worthy of a Nancy Drew novel, the history of literary scandals is a well-documented one (we are all story lovers here, after all.) Between authors behaving badly and book-lovers with some rather sticky fingers, the book world is just as full of scandal as some of our favorite novels, thrillers, and mysteries themselves. And these stories of literary fame, fortune, fraud, and downfall prove that very often, the truth is oh-so-much stranger than fiction.

I mean, who can forget the James Frey and Oprah Winfrey face-off heard ‘round the world? Or what about that time a certain someone pulled his Nobel Prize acceptance speech directly from SparkNotes? (Honestly, of all places.) Even greats like Truman Capote have had their feet held to the fire once or twice, in the pursuit of writing great literature. And if there’s one thing that grabs book lovers’ attention more than a really compelling story, it’s a really compelling story about a really compelling story.

Here are 13 of the biggest scandals in literary history — or, at least, in the last 150 years of literary history.