Project Description

Behind the Legend of JT Leroy: A Benefit for p:ear

March 28th, 2013

Laura Albert, author of the JT LeRoy books, will be the focus of this special fundraiser for p:ear at Disjecta.

In 1999, a teenage former street kid who called himself JT LeRoy published his first novel, Sarah, a stunning fable of loss and survival, which combined humor and shock in a celebration of America’s most marginalized: the homeless, sex workers, transgender people.

Sarah launched an acclaimed career for the reclusive young man, winning critical praise and a devoted following of readers. JT then published two other startling and original works of fiction, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and Harold’s End.

But in 2006, controversy erupted with the revelation that the author of the JT LeRoy books was actually Laura Albert. Yet despite the vicious media backlash that ensued, new readers have never stopped coming to Laura’s writing, and her books have continued to sell and win praise and admiration internationally.

Some of Portland’s very best authors — including Lidia Yuknavitch, Jon Raymond, Arthur Bradford, and Monica Drake — will read from Laura Albert’s fiction. The event will also include an on-stage interview with Laura, conducted by Portland author and publisher Kevin Sampsell.

This special event will be a fundraising benefit for p:ear, the Portland organization for the creative mentoring of homeless youth.

About Laura Albert:

Laura Albert won international acclaim with her fiction. Writing as JT
LeRoy, she is the author of the best-selling novels Sarah and The
Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, and the novella Harold’s End,
published by Last Gasp with illustrations by Cherry Hood.

She contributes to print and online publications internationally, in a
career that includes articles for The New York Times, The London
Times, Spin, Film Comment, Filmmaker, Interview, I-D, and Vogue. She
was a contributing editor to Black Book, I-D, SOMA, and 7×7 magazines
and is currently an editor for Lemon Magazine, Conde Nast Glass
magazine, Diane Pernet’s A Shaded View On Fashion (, and
the Outpost section of

Laura’s writing has brought her to speaking engagements from the
story-telling series The Moth and the Radiolab broadcasts in New York
to Foyles bookstore in London and Brazil’s international book fair
Bienal Brasil do Livro e da Leitura, where Laura and Alice Walker were
the 2012 U.S. representatives. Her breakthrough interview given to
Nathaniel Rich was the cover feature of the Fall 2006 issue of The
Paris Review.

She wrote the original script for Gus Van Sant’s Elephant, winner of
the 2003 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and was Associate
Producer. For Asia Argento’s film adaptation of The Heart Is Deceitful
Above All Things, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, Laura
served as Associate Producer. She also co-scripted Jean-Claude
Schlim’s film House Of Of Boys and was a writer for the HBO series

The editor of Da Capo Best Music Writing 2005, she has contributed
writing to such short-story anthologies as The Best American
Nonrequired Reading 2003, edited by Dave Eggers and read by Tatum
O’Neal on audio edition; MTV’s Lit Riffs; XXX, edited by Timothy
Greenfield-Sanders; Nadav Kander’s Beauty’s Nothing; and The Fourth
Sex, Adolescent Extremes, edited by Francesco Bonami and Raf Simons.
She has also been published in Francis Ford Coppola’s Zoetrope:
All-Story, McSweeney’s, and the Oxford American Music issue.

She has written liner notes and biographies for musicians Billy
Corgan, Liz Phair, Conor Oberst, Bryan Adams, Nancy Sinatra, and
Courtney Love, as well as the liner notes for the DVD of My Own
Private Idaho, which features an audio segment with JT, Gus Van Sant,
and Jonathan Caouette. With the band Thistle LLC, she contributed
songs to the film Andy Warhol: Morning Star; she was also the voice of
Warhol, reading from his Philosophy and Diaries. She also contributed
to a podcast project for San Francisco’s MOMA on Warhol.

Laura has collaborated with director and playwright Robert Wilson for
the international exhibition of his VOOM video portraits, and with the
catalog for his “Frontiers: Visions of the Frontier” at IVAM Valencia.

Steven Klein has photographed her for QVEST magazine; so has Kai
Regan, for his “Reckless Endangerment” at ALIFE. Laura has also done
fashion shoots for Christian Lacroix and John Galliano. She profiled
award-winner Juergen Teller for the 2003 Citibank Photography Prize
catalogue, and was a catalog contributor for the “Blind Cut”
exhibition at New York’s Marlborough Chelsea. Laura collaborated with
Williamsburg band Japanther, releasing a limited-edition cassette
under the name True Love in a Large Room, with original artwork by
Winston Smith.

A spokeswoman for the successful “Heart for Eye” campaign to raise
funds for restorative eye surgery for children, Laura hosted a
television segment and was both an interview subject and an
interviewer of inspirational women such as Anastasia Barbieri and Anh
Duong. As part of the campaign, she was photographed by Marc Horn in
ads that ran in Korean Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, W, Marie Claire,
and other publications.

For several years Laura was the chief entertainment/travel
writer/personality for, a San Francisco City Guide
produced by Cox Interactive Media in conjunction with KTVU/Fox 2, KNBR
and The Ticket 1050. She has hosted a series of radio segments at KPOO
and KUSF on film, food, and travel. Laura’s other credits include
being weekly show host for Rolling Stone, an Internet RealAudio show
for Web Entertainment Group; travel writer for a New York-based
publication, Singles Almanac; and lifestyle columnist for The Web
Magazine and Maxim magazine.

In 2012 Laura served on the juries of the first Brasilia International
Film Festival and the Sapporo International Short Film Festival. She
has also taught at Dave Egger’s 826 Valencia and California College of
the Arts in San Francisco, and lectured with artist Jasmin Lim at
Artists’ Television Access with SF Camerawork’s Chuck Mobley.

Brazil’s Geração Editorial has re-released the JT LeRoy books in a
boxset under Laura’s name, and Laura and JT have become the subjects
of the hit Brazilian rock musical “JT, A Punk Fairy Tale” (JT, Um
Conto de Fadas Punk). Laura is currently writing her story.