Sofa, so good for writer

January 12, 2007

A Yale University law professor is about to become a household name in the UK thanks to the hosts of a popular daytime TV chat show that he had barely heard of.

Jed Rubenfeld is the only academic among eight writers who are finalists for this year's Richard & Judy Book Club Best Read Award. No matter how they fare in the competition, each of the shortlisted books is virtually guaranteed an explosion in sales.

Professor Rubenfeld's book - The Interpretation of Murder , a thriller set in turn-of-the-century Manhattan that draws in academic research on Sigmund Freud and Hamlet - is his first.

It has topped US bestseller lists and been translated into 32 languages.

The film rights have been sold to Warner Bros. But hype in the UK is "in another stratosphere altogether", Professor Rubenfeld told The Times Higher .

"The publishers mentioned Richard & Judy , but I didn't know what it was. I was stunned the more I learnt about them and the enormous popularity of their book club," Professor Rubenfeld said.

He still sees himself as an academic. "I'm not a novelist. I'm going to continue my academic job as long as I can. I love it."

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