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Kaavya's book withdrawn permanently

By Dharam Shourie in New York
May 03, 2006 12:22 IST
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Amidst fresh charges of plagiarism against Indian-American author Kaavya Vishwanathan, the publishers of her first novel have decided to withdraw the book permanently and cancel the deal for her second work.

"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," Michael Pietsch, Little Brown's senior vice president and publisher, said in a statement on Tuesday.

But they did not say whether they would ask her to return a $500,000 advance believed to have been paid for a two-book deal two years ago when she was 17.

Vishwanathan's troubles seem to be far from over with New Jersey's Record newspaper saying that it too is investigating the articles she wrote when she was an intern in the paper in 2003-2004.

Media reports had on Tuesday claimed that at least three portions in the debut novel by the Harvard University student have striking resemblances to a second book Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella.

While the plots of the two books are distinct, the phrasing and structure of some passages is nearly identical, they said.

The decision caps a stunning downfall for Viswanathan, a Harvard sophomore whose novel came out in March to widespread attention.

Earlier similarities were reported between the teenage author's novel and Megan F McCafferty's novels Sloppy Firsts (2001) and Second Helping (2003).

In the aftermath of the allegations surfacing, Kaavya asserted that she had read the books of McCafferty and had "borrowed" from her two books "unconsciously and unintentionally".

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Dharam Shourie in New York
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