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April 27 May 4, 2006 Edition
NEW YORK, NY/4/25/06Crown/Random House has indicated that it may not accept author Kaavya Viswanaathans apology for having unintentionally copied a number of passages from Megan McCaffertys book, Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings for her own book, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got a Life, published by Little Brown.
Random House Spokesman Stuart Applebaum called Viswanaathans explanation of her use of the passages at best disingenuous and at worst literary identity theft,” according to an item in Publishers Weekly. Applebaum cites at least 40 plays were Viswanaathan has copied word-for-word from passages written by McCafferty. Applebaum said that Random House will seek a full resolution to this matter, but would not say whether Crown and Random House will file a lawsuit.
McCafferty is a rising star at Crown/Three Rivers/Random House, where she has published three books with print runs totaling 350,000 copies.
Viswanaathan, who sold the book while still a student in high school, said in a statement that “any phrasing similarities between her works and mine were completely unintentional and unconscious.” Little Brown, which paid a $500,000 advance for Opal, plans to revise the work for future releases. The author said she is a huge fan of McCafferty and said she apologizes to her for the unintentional errors.
Little Brown senior vice president, Michael Pietsch also issued a statement saying the similarities were unintentional.