The author was dropped by Penguin Random House and his agent after sexual misconduct claims surfaced. Now he's back to work on his own.
Despite losing both his publisher and his agent earlier this year after multiple anonymous sexual misconduct claims surfaced against him, Maze Runner author James Dashner announced Friday that he’s at work on a new novel.
“I’m writing a book from scratch, with no input or guidance from agents or editors or publishers,” he wrote on Twitter. “First time in 15 years I’ve done this. It’s spectacularly fun and invigorating. I hope something special comes out of this…”
In January, four anonymous posters on a School Library Journal article about sexual misconduct in children’s publishing said they’d been harassed by Dashner; two others said they named the author for Anne Ursu’s piece on Medium about misconduct among members of the children’s publishing world. The fallout was strong enough for Dashner’s longtime publisher Penguin Random House to part ways with him as a client, and for his then-agent Michael W. Bourret to do the same, saying in a statement, “I couldn’t in good conscience continue working with James, and I let him go.”
Dashner, for his part, issued a lengthy apology via Twitter in February, without specifically confirming any of the alleged behavior as true. “I have spent the recent days reexamining my actions and searching my soul,” he said. “Some of the things said about me have been shocking and my initial instinct was to be defensive. But I also have thought about how numerous women nowhere come forward as part of a vital movement to lead a discussion about sexual harassment and discrimination in the publishing industry. And I have talked with friends deeply immersed in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement.”
“I believe all victims must be heard, and I’m committed to listening to them,” he continued. “I’ve taken these past few days for introspection, to see if I’ve been part of the problem. I think that I have. I didn’t honor or fully understand boundaries and power dynamics. I can sincerely say that I have never intentionally hurt another person. But to those affected, I am so deeply sorry. I am taking any and all criticism and accusations very seriously, and I will seek counseling and guidance to address them. Thank you for listening.”
Over the past decade, Dashner has been among the most successful writers in the YA space, with his Maze Runner series topping best-seller lists and successfully getting adapted into a blockbuster film franchise. No other information on his announced upcoming book is available at this time.