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    Escorts, Drivers, and Literary Chaperones

    By Jennifer 8. Lee | March 27, 2008

    So when authors go on book tour, they plug with this whole network of people who drive the authors from event to interview to hotel to bookstore to FedEx/Kinkos. Each city has a handful of such people, and in San Francisco I was hosted by the inimitable Naomi Epel, who has been doing it for 20 years and thus has seen Nobel Prize winners, former presidents, and other celebrities pass through. (She also coordinated a dinner at Jai Yun with the Asia Society‘s San Francisco branch and the American Institute of Food and Wine.)

    The thing is, these people are technically called escorts, which of course has a nose-wrinkling connotation (especially after Eliot Spitzer’s downfall). You could even say that Naomi runs an escort service.

    My friend Lydia was completely aghast at the term and so we struggled to come up with one she could use. You can’t call them drivers, because they are more than drivers. In the journalism world in foreign countries we might call them also “fixers” (which also has a weird connotation, given Michael Clayton or organized crime flicks)

    In the end she came up with a term she felt comfortable using: “literary chaperone.”

    Which of course makes me feel like I’m 13.

    Topics: Book Musings | No Comments »

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