Holy Lolita! Hefner Hoovers Up First Serial Rights to Nabokov’s Last Novella

Leon Neyfakh in the NY Observer:

Laura Hugh Hefner’s Playboy has acquired the first serial rights to The Original of Laura, the final, unfinished novella of the late Vladmir Nabokov.

For years, Nabokov’s son Dmitri indicated that, per his father’s dying wishes, Laura would never see the light of day. Then last spring he had a change of heart and entrusted the super-agent Andrew Wylie to find a publisher. Knopf secured the rights for an undisclosed sum, and a publication date was set for this coming fall. When Amy Grace Loyd, Playboy’s literary editor since 2005, heard the news, she began an intense courtship process. “I did it with orchids, mostly,” Ms. Loyd said.

It was an inspired method, the flowers serving as a reference to Nabokov’s 1969 novel Ada, or Ardor, which was excerpted in Playboy—thus a reminder for Mr. Wylie of the magazine’s long and treasured association with the author. “It was part of my pitch to Andrew that Nabokov really liked publishing with Playboy, and how devoted Hef is to Nabokov and his legacy,” Ms. Loyd said.

Mr. Wylie was initially unresponsive.

More here. [Thanks to Laura Claridge.]