Picador stops distribution of Sebold's Lucky after man jailed for her rape exonerated

Picador stops distribution of Sebold's Lucky after man jailed for her rape exonerated

Picador has stopped distribution of Alice Sebold's memoir Lucky and the author has apologised to the man who was exonerated of her rape last week, 40 years after his conviction.

Anthony Broadwater spent 16 years in jail after being found guilty of attacking Sebold when she was an 18-year-old student at Syracuse University in 1981. Last week his conviction was overturned by prosecutors who identified serious flaws in his arrest and trial, including Sebold's misidentification of him. The rape and conviction had formed the basis for Sebold's bestselling 1999 book Lucky.

Yesterday (30th November), Scribner, which publishes the book in the US, announced it was ceasing distribution of Lucky in all formats and working with Sebold to “consider how the work might be revised”.

Today, its UK publisher Picador announced it was following suit. A spokesperson said: "Following the recent exoneration of Anthony Broadwater, and in consultation with the author, agent and the originating publisher, Scribner, Pan Macmillan will cease distribution of all formats of Alice Sebold’s memoir Lucky. Pan Macmillan is aware that Sebold and Scribner are considering how the work might be revised."

In a public letter to Broadwater yesterday Sebold apologised for his ordeal, writing: "As a traumatised 18-year-old rape victim, I chose to put my faith in the American legal system. My goal in 1982 was justice — not to perpetuate injustice. And certainly not to forever, and irreparably, alter a young man's life by the very crime that had altered mine."

She said: "I am grateful that Mr Broadwater has finally been vindicated, but the fact remains that 40 years ago, he became another young Black man brutalised by our flawed legal system. I will forever be sorry for what was done to him.”

Meanwhile, Variety reported an upcoming Netflix film based on Lucky has been dropped after losing its funding. Its executive producer Timothy Mucciante had hired a private investigator to examine the case and helped get Broadwater's conviction overturned.