David Lassman

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David Lassman on the Greek island of Delos circa early 90s.

David Lassman (born 1963) is a British author, arts journalist, lecturer and scriptwriter responsible for The Regency Detective series of novels and for the Rejecting Jane article, which became the 'literary story of 2007'.[1][2]


Born in Bath, England, Lassman was educated at Beechen Cliff School, Bath (1974–1980).

He began his writing career as a columnist and arts reviewer for local and regional newspapers including the Bath Chronicle, Bournemouth Daily Echo and Big Issue South West. After graduating from Bournemouth University's prestigious Media School, with a BA (Hons) degree in Scriptwriting for Film and television, he began writing for the screen and making regular appearances on radio and television. One of the first fruits of this new direction was on Radio Four's 'First Person Plural' alongside Simon Nye and Birds of a Feather writer Sue Teddern.[3][4]

Although a frequent visitor to Greece, in January 2003 he moved to the island of Symi where he began writing the novel Freedom's Temple, which is a modern take on the story of the Theseus and the Minotaur myth.[5] While on the island he also wrote several shorter pieces of fiction which were published in English language newspapers and Greek periodicals, including his best known short story 'The Painting' – a semi-mystical love story set on Symi.[6]

Rejecting Jane[edit]

The initial negative response to Freedom's Temple, received after his return to the UK in July 2006, contributed to his writing the article 'Rejecting Jane', a light-hearted critique of the publishing industry through their inadvertent rejection of Jane Austen.[5][7] Using the pseudonym 'Alison Laydee', – a play on Austen's original non-de plume A Lady[7] – Lassman sent out the opening chapters of Pride and Prejudice, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion to several major publishers and literary agents, with different titles but only minor changes to the text, such as character names and locations. The resultant article chronicles the fact that all but one of the publishers and agents failed to recognise her works, including Penguin Books and JK Rowling's publisher Bloomsbury, with the vast majority rejecting out of hand this apparent attempt by one of the world's greatest known authors to gain a publishing deal. This despite the fact that one of the most famous opening lines in English literature, that of Pride and Prejudice's 'It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife' was left intact.[7]

When the 'Rejecting Jane' article was published in Issue 28 of the Jane Austen's Regency World magazine[8] its contents made global headlines[7][9][10][11][12] and Lassman appeared on radio and television programmes worldwide, including American news programmes and TV talk shows such as Good Morning America.[13]

Crazy About Jane[edit]

The Rejecting Jane article and its author are subjects of the 2008 documentary Crazy About Jane, which received its world premiere at the 8th International Jane Austen Festival in Bath.[14][15] Lassman unwittingly received further media attention after quotes he made during the promotion of the documentary sparked controversy within the Jane Austen tourist industry.[16][17][18]

The Art of Self-Publicity[edit]

In April 2010 Lassman authored The Art of Self-Publicity[19] published by Awen Publications and which was based on his own experiences generating media coverage and taught courses.[20][21]

Pride & Prejudice readathon[edit]

In January 2013, in his role as Press & PR Manager at the Jane Austen Centre in Bath, Lassman organised a twelve hour readathon of Austen's Pride & Prejudice, during which the entire book was read by more than sixty readers. This was to celebrate the book's 200th anniversary since its publication. The readathon was web-broadcast live around the world.[22][23][24]

The Regency Detective[edit]

In June 2013 the first in a new series of novels revolving around fictional character Jack Swann was published. The Regency Detective was published by The Mystery Press, an imprint from The History Press.[25] The book was co-authored with Terence James[26][27] and launched at Topping & Company bookshop in Bath on 1 July.[28] A television series of the same name has been in development since 2010.[29][30]

David Lassman is a member of The Society of Authors.


  1. ^ 'Crazy for Jane film premiere at Austen festival in Bath' [1]. Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  2. ^ 'How literary hoax turned into a global story for Austen fans'. Western Daily Press. 12 September 2008.
  3. ^ Miles, Jeremy. 'Learning the art of sitcom laughs.' Bournemouth Daily Echo. 14 November 1997, p17.
  4. ^ 'First Person Plural' Radio Four. Broadcast 16 November 1997.
  5. ^ a b Morris, Stephen.'The author and the Austen plot that exposed publishers' pride and prejudice.' [2] The Guardian, 19 July 2007. p3. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  6. ^ The Symi Visitor. December 2003.
  7. ^ a b c d De Bruxelles, Simon. 'How A Laydee showed that First Impressions really are misleading.' [3] The Times. 19 July 2007. p21. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  8. ^ Jane Austen’s Regency World. Issue No. 28. July/August 2007. Pgs 6–10
  9. ^ Morris, Stephen.'The author and the Austen plot that exposed publishers' pride and prejudice.' [4] The Guardian. 19 July 2007. p3. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  10. ^ Jane Austen in Modern Day. [5] ABC news. 20 July 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  11. ^ 'Publishers fail to spot plagiarized Jane Austen' [6] Reuters. 19 July 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2009
  12. ^ 'No Censure for Stolen Words' [7] New York Times. 20 July 2007. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  13. ^ 'Crazy for Jane film premiere at Austen festival in Bath' [8] Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  14. ^ Ibid.[9] Retrieved 3 April 2009.
  15. ^ 'How literary hoax turned into a global story for Austen fans'. Western Daily Press. 12 September 2008
  16. ^ Singh, Anita.'Fight to claim Jane Austen true home'. [10] The Daily Telegraph. 19 September 2008. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  17. ^ 'Battle between towns over Jane Austens true home'. [11]Thaindian News. 20 September 2009. Retrieved 29 March 2009.
  18. ^ Denby, Marcus. 'Village challenges the might of Bath to claim its Jane'. Western Daily Press. 20 September 2008. p6.
  19. ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Art-Self-publicity-Practical-Entrepreneurs/dp/1906900140
  20. ^ Learn more about the Art of Self-Publicity with college course [12] retrieved 5 July 2013
  21. ^ Bath Fringe Festival: The Art of Self-Publicity. [13] retrieved 5 July 2013
  22. ^ [14]
  23. ^ [15]
  24. ^ Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice landmark is broadcast across the globe [16] retrieved 5 July 2013
  25. ^ [17]
  26. ^ [18]
  27. ^ [19]
  28. ^ http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Regency-Detective-authors-crime-fiction-writer/story-19385880-detail/story.html
  29. ^ City in line for own detective series [20] retrieved 5 July 2013
  30. ^ http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/Darcy-detectives-darker-Regency-Bath/story-11336244-detail/story.html#axzz2XzeYFmcJ

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