Novel By Harvard Student Pulled

How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life : A Novel (Hardcover) by Kaavya Viswanathan Little Brown & Co.

Rarely has an author succeeded, then failed, so quickly as Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard University sophomore who acknowledged lifting material for her debut novel, "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life."

Just weeks after her book was released with a first printing of 100,000 and a wave of favorable attention, publisher Little, Brown and Company announced Thursday that it would be pulled from store shelves and that retailers had been asked to return unsold copies, CBS News correspondent Bianca Solorzano reports.

Viswanathan, 19, has apologized repeatedly to author Megan McCafferty, saying she had read McCafferty's books voraciously in high school and unintentionally mimicked them.

But McCafferty's publisher, the Crown Publishing Group, believed Viswanathan guilty of "literary identity theft" and urged Little, Brown, which initially said her novel would remain on sale, to withdraw the book.

"It's really kind of shocking," Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publisher's Weekly tells Solorzano. "I mean it's not common for publishers to pull a book before there's any sort of legal discussion."

In a statement issued soon after Little, Brown's announcement, Crown said it was "pleased that this matter has been resolved in an appropriate and timely fashion" and praised McCafferty for "her grace under pressure throughout this ordeal."

McCafferty, in a statement released by Crown, said she was "not seeking restitution in any form" and hoped to put the affair behind her.

"The past few weeks have been very difficult, and I am most grateful to my readers for offering continual support," she said. "In my career, I am, first and foremost, a writer. So I look forward to getting back to work and moving on, and hope Ms. Viswanathan can too."

Phone messages left with Viswanathan were not returned.
  • Melissa McNamara

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