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Aiken Taking Medical Leave of Absence

Authors Guild executive director Paul Aiken, who announced in September that he has ALS, is taking a 6-month medical leave-of-absence. In the September announcement, Aiken said his symptoms were being held in remission by steroids, a novel treatment he’d stumbled upon by “dumb luck” when treated at an emergency room last May for a severe food allergy.

Steroids continue to hold his ALS in check.

“The issue now is side effects from my treatment,” said Aiken. “Corticosteroids are powerful drugs with significant side effects at high doses. I’m working with several doctors to address the side effects and to seek alternatives to the steroids. This has taken an increasing amount of my time, leaving too little time to properly attend to my duties.”

While Aiken’s on medical leave, Guild chief operating officer Sandy Long will be acting executive director.

“Sandy’s been with us for seven years,” Aiken said, “and we’re lucky to have her. Before joining the Guild she held senior management positions with leading advertising and marketing firms and with Waldenbooks. She’ll work closely with general counsel Jan Constantine, who has been with us for eight years. The Guild is in very good hands.”

While on leave, Aiken will continue to work on select projects for the Guild.