'There's a dirty tricks campaign to discredit me'

Emily Davies released the following statement: "The charges of plagiarism relate to the regrettable, but genuinely accidental misattribution and sourcing of a few quotes taken from notes made by me two years ago. They form an entirely peripheral part of a 28,000-word proposal.

"Proposals are first drafts. Like all proposals, mine was a broadbrush impression of a book I had yet to begin in earnest. The errors that happened in the proposal could never occur in the manuscript, because it would be impossible to publish any work of nonfiction, let alone a memoir, without ensuring that every single part of the work was true.

"To this end, I have always intended to vigorously fact-check the work before it reaches publication.

"Fact-checking the proposal in the same way would have prematurely exposed details of the book to the outside world; ironically, this confidential document, intended for an extremely limited readership within the publishing world, now appears to have been widely circulated by one unsuccessful bidding publisher, presumably vexed at having failed to win the book at auction.

"Since the discovery of the error, I have also been accused in the press of having fabricated some of the incidents recounted in the proposal. This is not true. There have also been suggestions that there were questions about the integrity of my journalism during the six years I worked at The Times. This is also not true.

"In an additional attempt to discredit me, the fact of my dismissal from The Times last year over disputed expenses has been presented as further revelatory evidence that I am untrustworthy. Yet this episode, far from secret, was not only covered by the media at the time, but forms part of the proposal and serves as the end point of the book.

"My lawyers are addressing all these issues. There is clearly a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign to discredit me and to prevent the book reaching publication.

"Ironically, as the proposal reveals, I never intended How to Wear Black to be an exposé of any kind, yet someone, somewhere, clearly feels they have something to fear from this book.

"This episode serves as a reminder that fashion and journalism are two of the bitchiest worlds in which to work and reinforces my conviction that readers will find my book vastly entertaining. This is a storm in a teacup generated by nothing more than envy."

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