University Diaries
A professor of English describes American university life.
Aim: To change things.
Contact UD at: margaret-dot-soltan-at-gmail-dot-com

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(Tenured Radical)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Little, Brown,
the Patient Griselda
of the Publishing World...

...has finally lost patience with America's most high-profile cryptomnesiac:

Little, Brown, publisher of the novel whose author, Kaavya Viswanathan, admitted to copying passages from another writer's books, said yesterday that it would not be publishing a revised edition of her book.

Little, Brown pulled Ms. Viswanathan's chick-lit book, "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life," from bookstores on Thursday.

In a statement yesterday afternoon Michael Pietsch, senior vice president and publisher of Little, Brown, said the company would not publish the second book under its contract with Alloy Entertainment, the "book packager" that helped Ms. Viswanathan develop the concept for "Opal" and shape its first four chapters. Alloy, rather than Ms. Viswanathan, signed the contract, believed to be worth $500,000 for two books, with Little, Brown.

Ms. Viswanathan, a Harvard sophomore, extensively borrowed from two novels by Megan McCafferty, "Sloppy Firsts" and "Second Helpings," both published by Crown, a division of Random House. Crown contended that more than 40 passages were copied from Ms. McCafferty's books.

Ms. Viswanathan maintained that the copying was "unconscious and unintentional."

On Monday, further allegations of plagiarism emerged when it appeared that passages in "Opal" were copied from "Can You Keep a Secret?" by Sophie Kinsella. Neither Ms. Viswanathan nor Little, Brown commented on those allegations.