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using a celeb in a book - is it allowed?

(3 Posts)
icantthinkofanotherusername Fri 27-Oct-17 17:13:30

i have a part in my book where a character faints but it is so fake, i have refered it to in these words. ..... think im a celebs gillien mckieth...is that allowed or can she like sue?

ReanimatedSGB Thu 09-Nov-17 17:20:16

Not quite sure what you mean - does one character say to another 'You are like [celeb]?' Or do you mean the celeb actually appears in your story and the characters react to her?

Overall, it's TBH varied. Some writers get away with mentioning famous people in passing, if it's done as a way of making their settings convincing - if your story is about a pop star or actor or Olympic runner or something then it would generally be regarded as OK to have the character going to some big premiere or awards show and walking past Ed Sheeran/Beyonce/Prince Harry or whatever. Jilly Cooper does that quite a lot (in one of her books someone tells Prince Charles to fuck off out of it during a horse race) but then she herself is famous enough that she might well have rung the famous person up and asked them if they minded.

You would only run into trouble if you put a real celeb in your books and had them do something nasty/illegal/stupid (eg you described Graham Norton as a drug dealer or whatever). But even then, it would only be a big deal if enough people read your book for it to come to the attention of the person or their lawyers.

schmalex Fri 10-Nov-17 07:48:18

Reanimated is quite right. Libel is only a problem if it brings someone’s name into disrepute.
But it’s worth thinking about what the use of the name adds to your book. Will your readers know who you mean?

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