Kaavya Vishwanathan has promised to change her debut novel in future editions after acknowledging that she had unintentionally borrowed material from an author she deeply admired. The first-time author has acknowledged that she borrowed language from Megan McCafferty books, but called the copying "unintentional and unconscious."
Agencies report her as saying, "When I was in high school, I read and loved two wonderful novels by Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings, which spoke to me in a way few other books did. Recently, I was very surprised and upset to learn that there are similarities between some passages in my novel and passages in these books."
She is also quoted as having apologised to McCafferty and "to any who feel they have been misled by these unintentional errors" on
her part. "While the central stories of my book and hers are completely different, I wasn't aware of how much I may have
internalised Ms. McCafferty's words. I am a huge fan of her work and can honestly say that any phrasing similarities between her works and mine were completely unintentional and unconscious," she said. It is significant, however, that this "huge fan" had never mentioned Megan
McCafferty in any of her very many media interviews and articles, when talking about her favourite authors.
Viswanathan was just 17 when she signed her contract with Little Brown -- the youngest author signed by the publisher in decades. Little Brown publisher, Michael Pietsch, says that he did not think Viswanathan's borrowings were caused by the pressures of being both a student and an author. He also declined to blame Viswanathan's collaboration with 17th Street Productions Inc., a book packager that specializes in teen narratives and had helped her develop the story. "Every word in that book was written by her, for better or for worse," he said, adding that work on a new edition would begin soon. "The current edition will not be withdrawn from stores," he added.
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