Apparently, today when a writer is called to reflect on literary influences, there had better be some women (and no doubt other oppressed minorities) in the answer.  Gay Talese didn't get the memo:

The Boston Globe reports the former journalist struggled to answer a question Saturday about which female writers inspired him, mentioning Nora Ephron and Mary McCarthy before finally saying "none."

Many audience members at the Power of Narrative Writing Conference seemed stunned by his comments.

Talese reported for The New York Times and is best known for his landmark profile of Frank Sinatra, which appeared in Esquire.

Seemingly aware of the grave nature of his offense, Talese, 84, told the Associated Press that he thought the question was which female reporters inspired him during his youth.

The Sinatra profile is indeed celebrated but Talese is better known for The Kingdom and the Power: Behind the Scenes at the New York Times: The Institution that Influences the World, his magisterial study of the New York Times.