CHICAGO – James Frey, the author of the disputed memoir, "A Million Little Pieces," will appear Thursday on a live broadcast of Oprah Winfrey's television show to address the dustup surrounding his book, according to a spokeswoman for Winfrey's Harpo Productions.
Harpo spokeswoman Angela DePaul also said Nan A. Talese, whose imprint at Doubleday published Frey's account of overcoming drug addiction and alcoholism, would appear with Frey, as well as several journalists familiar with allegations that parts of the memoir are fiction.
Talese published "A Million Little Pieces" in 2003. It enjoyed good sales, and when Winfrey named it as the September 2005 choice of her book club, it became one of the best-selling books of last year.
But on Jan. 8, The Smoking Gun Web site (www.thesmokinggun.com) ran an investigative story that indicated Frey, 36, had embellished, and even invented, some of the material in his memoir.
Winfrey reaffirmed her support for the book in a telephone call to CNN's "Larry King Live" on Jan. 11 at the end of King's hourlong interview with Frey.
In the call, Winfrey dismissed as "much ado about nothing" the allegations that Frey had fabricated some parts — including a three-month prison stay that apparently never happened.
"What is relevant is that he was a drug addict ... and stepped out of that history to be the man he is today and to take that message to save other people and allow them to save themselves," Winfrey said in her surprise call.
Frey acknowledged he had embellished certain parts of the book but characterized such changes as minor, adding that a memoir is an "imperfect animal" and a "subjective retelling" of events.
In his interview with King, Frey said he had originally tried to sell his book as fiction.
"We initially shopped the book as a novel and it was turned down by a lot of publishers as a novel or as a nonfiction book," he told King. "When Nan Talese purchased the book, I'm not sure if they knew what they were going to publish it as. We talked about what to publish it as. And they thought the best thing to do was publish it as a memoir."
In a telephone interview with the New York Observer, Talese said it was never her intention to publish the book as a novel.