Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Plagarism and "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed"


Now for a round-up on the hot story on the blogs over the last week or so.

Here is the story in short:

Kaavya Viswanathan, a sophmore at Harvard, wrote a recently released YA novel called "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life." She had reportedly signed a book deal for $500,000 while still a freshman for this and one other book.

Then it was discovered that more than a half-dozen passages of her book contain passages very similar to those in a book called "Sloppy Firsts" writeen by Megan F. McCafferty and published in 2001 by a division of Random House Inc., including one 14-word sequence that appears in both books. The books also have characters and plot points in common with both this book and McCafferty's 2003 book "Second Helpings."

So Random House sent a letter raising concerns about the similarities to lawyers for Little, Brown and Co., the publishers of ''Opal Mehta". Viswanathan apologized for "inadvertantly plagarizing" portions of the book in question - admitting to having read it and having "unconsciously internalized" it.

It was announced yesterday that she lost her book deal.

The Story was first picked up by the Harvard Crimson HERE and further reported on by them HERE. Further online stories in the Boston Globe (on which I based the above synopsis) can be found HERE and HERE.

For blogger discussion, Jen Robinson has a nice round-up on who's saying what HERE, Chicken Spaghetti provides some more insight HERE and Gail Gauthier offers an author's perspective HERE, which also reports on the extension of the allegations to include plagarism of Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot and Salman Rushdie in addition to Megan McCafferty.

I'm not sure I can say much on this that hasn't been said already by others aside from agreeing plagarism is, well, wrong. End of story.


At 2:41 AM, Blogger rohit said...

this is rohit kumar dasgupta from india. this is really sad that some one from india could do something like that. when i first read the reviews of the book i was stunned and happy for this girl, bringing up the name of india. if she has managed to get into harvard it surely means there is something in her but sadly the recent controversies prove against her. it will be quite a surprise if harvard on checking her application essay finds it to be a copy of something. with kaavya it can be anything. she has put her entire country to shame. i will be coming to US this fall for undergrad studies and when i was talking to a few people over there they asked me if i had heard anything about the book opal mehta. can you belive that of all the books. i was really embarassed to and toldt them the case had got as much publicity here as it is probably being getting there. lets hope her application essay and her various literary papers too don’t turn out to be crude copies of other works. heres to kaavya and the shame she has brought upon us.


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