SANTA FE – Cormac McCarthy, the 82-year-old novelist who is a trustee at the Santa Fe Institute and has a home in nearby Tesuque, is still among the living.
That fact was briefly in doubt in the Twitter universe Tuesday when a prankster tweeted in broken English, from a fake account that appeared to be associated with Alfred A. Knopf publishing, that McCarthy “dies for (sic) stroke at 82.”
USA Today subsequently tweeted breaking news that “Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy dies of stroke at 82,” provoking a sad response from no less than another acclaimed writer, Joyce Carol Oates, who called McCarthy’s “death” a “great loss.” McCarthy is known for novels such as “No Country for Old Men” and “The Road.”
Penguin Random House, the parent company of McCarthy’s publisher, and other McCarthy representatives rushed to assure news organizations and the world that McCarthy is not dead. Penguin tweeted, “Cormac McCarthy is alive and well and still doesn’t care about Twitter.”
In response to a Journal inquiry, a spokesman for the Santa Fe Institute said via e-mail, “Cormac ignores all the nonsense on Twitter about him.” The hoaxster was an Italian teacher who has made a habit of using fake Twitter accounts to make false reports of the deaths of other worldwide celebrities and who admitted his latest fake on Twitter after it had caused a stir Tuesday.