Tania Head had one of the most compelling survival tales after 9/11. Her detailed account of how she was critically injured in the South Tower and the death of her husband in the North Tower propelled her into the spotlight.
But her story wasn’t true.
New York Times bestselling author and Somerville resident Robin Gaby Fisher’s latest book “The Woman Who Wasn’t There” was published today and exposes Head’s lies and deceit.
Fisher, a Pultizer Prize winner and two-time Pulitzer feature writing finalist, has been working on the book for over a year.
The book explores the life of Head, a woman who had one of the most compelling tales of survival from the World Trade Center collapse during the 9/11 attack. Head went on to lead the 9/11 Survivors’ Network and make the group become a political powerhouse. She escorted former New York Rudy Guiliani, former Gov. George Pataki and New York mayor Mike Bloomberg on the inaugural tour of World Trade Center site.
She became the leader of the survivors at their greatest time of need and many of them considered their closest friend.
Head’s whole story was a hoax.
“So many people believed her, it was amazing,” said Fisher. “It is horrifying to me that she had the audacity to use 9/11 for her own benefit.”
Fisher worked on the book with Angelo J. Guglielmo, Jr., a filmmaker who was shooting a documentary on the efforts of the Survivors’ Network, and previously one of Tania’s closest friends. Guglielmo’s documentary film premiers on the Innovation Discovery channel on April 17 at 8 p.m.
“I made a connection with fabulous people – the 9/11 survivors,” said Fisher. “Every story that I’ve done I’ve met special people. These people are real survivors, they are brave, forgiving, inspirational and they taught me a great lesson in human resilience.”
Today’s publication kicks off a busy schedule of publicity for Fisher. She started the day with a two-hour national radio interview broadcast over Sirrus XM, she will be on NBC’s Today Show Thursday morning between 8 and 9 a.m. and at New York’s Strand Bookstore for a talk, reading and book signing that night. Monday morning she will be on the Fox News Network national morning show Fox and Friends.
NPR will have an interview with Fisher on their All Things Considered program starting Saturday.
The book, published by the Touchstone division of Simon & Schuster, is Fisher’s third major book following her New York Times bestseller “After The Fire” and “The Boys of the Dark.” It is available at most bookstores including Barnes & Noble and the Clinton Book Shop and online at Amazon.com. Electronic versions are available for iPad, Kindle and Nook.
Fisher started her journalism career as a reporter at the Courier News and then worked at the Star-Ledger in Newark where she was part of the Pulitzer Prize winning team covering the downfall of former NJ governor Jim McGreevey. She was a Pulitzer finalist in feature writing for her series “After the Fire” and “Last Chance High.” She now heads the journalism department at Rutgers University in Newark.
Fisher lives in Somerville with her husband Loren.