Q.R. Markham Takes His Remorse Public

tumblr lrc2oqmqtf1qb2ipoo1 2502 Q.R. Markham Takes His Remorse Public


Q.R. Markham has responded to the scandal over his novel Assassin of Secrets, which Little, Brown recalled for plagiarism last week, in the comments section of a fellow thriller writer’s blog. Jeremy Duns, author of Song of Treason, had publicly praised Mr. Markham’s book before the revelations of its origins emerged. On his blog, The Debrief, Mr. Duns now debriefs Mr. Markham (whose real name is Quentin Rowan) on the extent of his actions.

Mr. Rowan/Markham traces the origins of his insecurity to the pressure he felt after he was published in Best American Poetry 1996:

When I was 19 a poem I wrote in high school was chosen for The Best American Poetry 1996. Up until that time I was an indifferent writer, a dabbler really, at the best of times. I was in college and like everyone trying to figure out what I wanted to do with myself. (Mostly I just wanted to play Rock music.) I took this anthology business as a sign that I was meant to be a famous writer. However, unlike any normal person who works at something a long time and eventually gets good, I decided I had to be good then and there. Because I was already supposed to be the Best. I didn’t really plagiarize poetry, it was when I switched to fiction (God knows why) at the age of twenty that I began to distrust my own voice and began swiping other people’s words or phrases because I thought they sounded better or more clever than my own.

He also recounts the extent of his plagiarism:

No poetry. The one line from Graham Greene in Bethune Street (Paris Review). Sections of an earlier story in the Paris Review from an old sea travelogue, Amy Clampitt,and Jean Baudrillard. A few lines from Nicholas Mosley’s beautiful book “Accident” in Intelligence (Bomb). Assassin of Secrets from several different sources already noted. Parts of our interview for Hodder from Geoffrey O’Brien. Parts of my Huffington Post piece from Geoffrey O’Brien (a fantastic essay called “Spies” in his amazing book “Dream Time.”) And then a segment of Harper’s “The World of the Thriller” for the piece on “Riddle of the Sands.” I believe that is all.

Go read the rest.


  1. Kelly says:

    Okay, Markham’s on my Never-Buy-Never-Read list…

  2. Debbie says:

    Why wasn’t he found out before publication? There are too many stories about authors who are frauds. Publishers and agents have to become better gatekeepers.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Earlier this year, Lenore Hart’s “The Raven’s Bride” contained many passages that were a direct lift from a 1956 novel, “The Very Young Mrs. Poe,” by Cothburn O’Neal.  She got away with it–I suppose because O’Neal’s novel is so little-known–and no doubt Markham believed he could get away with it as well. 

    I wonder how many other cases of blatant plagiarism are lurking out there?

  4. Xcyberpunkx says:

    I like how he casually lists his stolen sources as if they were his own legitimate credits.