The community of writers and poets known as “alt lit” was rocked by back-to-back rape scandals last week. Alt-lit writers are known for employing the vernacular and flat affect of Gchats and status updates to create autobiographical fiction and poetry that lands somewhere between introspective and mundanely personal — which is exactly the form the allegations took.
In an essay published on Medium, Toronto writer Sophie Katz dispassionately described being coerced into sex by “Stan,” a fellow writer and editor who invited her to crash at his apartment during a trip to New York. After two nights of polite deflection, Stan climbed on top of Katz, ignoring her request that he put on a condom while her eyes welled up with tears. The next morning, she explained that she came to New York to network, not to get involved romantically, and then spent a lot of time convincing Stan it wasn’t because she found him unattractive, though she did find him unattractive. “I knew I had nowhere else to stay, and if I upset him that I might be forced to leave,” she wrote.