Franzen Ransom Scandal! Author’s Glasses Stolen By Lit-Loving Layabouts

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Joe Kohen/Getty Images for The New Yorker

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 16: Writer Jonathan Franzen attends The 2009 New Yorker Festival: Fiction Night at Cedar Lake on October 16, 2009 in New York City.

The bad thing about being a literary nerd is, even when you grow up to become a successful author, you’re still a target of bullies.

Jonathan Franzen was having such a good year in America. He released a new book, patched things up with Oprah and saw¬†some magazine call him a “Great American Novelist.” But then he went to Britain. First, he had to destroy UK copies of his new book because of a printing error, and then some ruffians had to go and steal his glasses.

Franzen was celebrating the UK release of his book Freedom in London last night when his famous glasses were snatched off his face by an unknown assailant. The glasses-snatcher absconded with the spectacles, while his partner handed Franzen a note that read, “$100,000 – Your glasses are yours again!” and left a Hotmail address.

The men had reportedly crashed the party by claiming to be employees of Puffin.

The pair were given chase by HarperCollins deputy international staff member Damon Greeney and members of the police. (Reportedly a police helicopter got in on the action as well.) The thief was eventually found hiding in bushes in Hyde Park. The glasses were returned to Franzen, who declined to press charges.

Despite the embarrassment, Franzen can take solace in this: How many other authors are famous enough for their accessories that someone would consider stealing them? (via The Guardian)