What’s the Matter With “Hapworth”?

A story today in the Washington Post about Alexandria, Va., small publisher Orchises Press feels like a get that didn’t get got: J.D. Salinger recently turned 90, Orchises had the rights to Salinger’s never-published-in-book-form novella, “Hapworth 16, 1924,” and rumors have recently circulated that a book version was forthcoming. Orchises owner Roger Lathbury declines to discuss specifics of l’affaire d’Hapworth, which created quite a stir back in 1996, when the small publisher announced it landed the book’s rights.

So if Lathbury isn’t talking Salinger, what’s left is a nice if unsurprising profile of a small publisher, complete with the reporter following Lathbury to UPS and Kinko’s. (The owner of a small press has to do it all!) If he’s wounded by whatever happened with “Hapworth,” he’s not letting on: “”I don’t know how much that would have changed my life — I got more manuscripts for certain after that. . . . People were calling from South Africa,” he said. “I really am focused on what I have published and what I am going to publish.”

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