"Maze Runner" author James Dashner dropped by literary agent

NEW YORK — "Maze Runner" author James Dashner, facing allegations of sexual misconduct, has been dropped by his literary agent

Michael W. Bourret said in a statement to The Associated Press on Wednesday that "under the circumstances" he could no longer represent Dashner.

"I couldn't in good conscience continue working with James, and I let him go yesterday," Bourret said.

A comments thread on the web site of School Library Journal includes allegations about Dashner, "Thirteen Reasons Why" author Jay Asher and other popular writers for young people. Earlier this week, the head of the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators told the AP that Asher had been expelled. A spokeswoman for Asher disputes whether he was kicked out, but confirmed Wednesday that his agent had dropped him.

"Mr. Asher is no longer working with the Andrea Brown agency," Tammy Taylor wrote in an email to the AP. "He respects and understands their position, given the current climate."

The allegations have led to an anguished discussion on social media among writers and readers in the children's book community. "Princess Diaries" novelist Meg Cabot tweeted that she was "saddened and angered that this sort of behavior has gone on for so long. It should not and WILL NOT." Laurie Halse Anderson, author of the acclaimed "Speak," tweeted to "Male allies" that when women "see predators mouthing the same sentiments or RTing #MeToo posts, we become even more wary." Ally Condie, who wrote the million-selling "Matched," tweeted "I wish publishing were immune from the toxicity, but it is decidedly not."

Dashner's publisher, Random House, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. "The Maze Runner," a million-selling dystopian science fiction series, is also the basis of a lucrative film franchise. The most recent release, "Maze Runner: The Death Cure," came out last month. In 2017, Random House announced that Dashner was working on a book for adults, "The Waking."

The industry newsletter Publishers Lunch first reported that the agents of Asher and Dashner had dropped them.

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