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'Opal Mehta' Gone for Good; Contract Cancelled

Publisher says that sophomore's novel will never return to shelves

By The Crimson Staff

Kaavya Viswanathan’s publisher said that the Harvard sophomore’s recently-released novel—which has been dogged by plagiarism allegations—will not be re-released, and that Viswanathan’s two-book contract has been cancelled.

In a statement released today, the publisher of Little, Brown, and Company, Michael Pietsch ’78, said: "Little, Brown and Company will not be publishing a revised edition of `How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life' by Kaavya Viswanathan, nor will we publish the second book under contract.”

The Crimson reported late last month that Viswanathan’s novel contained striking similarities to two earlier books by Megan F. McCafferty. The New York Times has highlighted further similarities between “Opal Mehta” and books by Salman Rushdie and Sophie Kinsella. And yesterday, The Crimson revealed further parallels between Viswanathan’s work and Meg Cabot’s 2000 novel “The Princess Diaries.”

Pietsch had previously said that “Opal Mehta” would be withdrawn from bookstores. In a statement released through Little, Brown last Monday, Viswanathan said that the book would be reprinted after it had been revised “to eliminate any inappropriate similarities.”

Pietsch told the New York Times Wednesday that the publishing house would not sue Viswanathan for breach of contract.

Kinsella’s and McCafferty’s publisher, Random House, declined to respond to Little, Brown’s announcement. “With Little, Brown having voluntarily withdrawn their book from the marketplace last week, the Random House authors and publishers of the books involved will not be commenting further on this matter,” Random House spokesman Stuart Applebaum said today.

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