The Unspeakable Podcast

When Your Publisher Calls You Problematic: Bruce Wagner Goes Rogue By Going Public

January 24, 2021
Bruce Wagner, a successful Hollywood screenwriter and the author of twelve novels, has been a beloved literary figure for decades, especially in his home city of Los Angeles. His most recent novel, The Marvel Universe, was enthusiastically acquired by a small press until, he says, the publisher objected to certain “problematic” language, specifically the word “fat,” which a character uses to describe herself. This led Bruce to release the book into the public domain by making it available on his website for free. In this conversation, Bruce talks about how a public domain release differs from self-publishing, how sensitivity readers are setting the tone for much of the culture now, and what this means for artists who are drawn to the more monstrous qualities of the human condition.
Guest Bio:
Bruce Wagner is the author of twelve novels, including Dead StarsI’m Losing You, and I’ll Let You Go. His latest novel, The Marvel Universe, is available for free at He is also the creator of the television series Wild Palms

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