Catching up with … Laura Albert – Aidin Vaziri, Chronicle Staff Writer

Laura Albert has a picture of Borat pinned to her office wall. It’s perfect. Like comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, the 43-year-old San Francisco novelist invented an outrageous character to grab the world’s attention – in this case, the underage West Virginia transvestite prostitute JT LeRoy, who was named as the author of “Sarah” and “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things” (both published by Bloomsbury). It worked a little too well.

After a good run landing major assignments, hanging with celebrities and getting championed by highbrow literary types, the predictable outrage over the unmasking three years ago made Albert’s name taboo with the very people who propelled her forward.