May 3, 2006

Annie Barrett on "How Opal Mehta Got Herself Into Some Deep Sh*t"

Annie_barrett_3Writer Annie Barrett (at left), she of the delightful and disturbing Raspberry Danish Challenge, has a few choice words about recently disgraced Harvard sophomore novelist (and big-time plagiarist) Kaavya Viswanathan, who has been discovered to have cut-and-pasted liberally from both Sophie Kinsella and Megan McCafferty to fill out a book she was paid half a million dollars for. (Yeah, half a million dollars.)

Says Annie (look, Kaavya, proper crediting!): "Aren't writers supposed to just... um, write? Why couldn't she just write the book? I seriously don't get it...I saw Katie
Couric interview this girl a few weeks ago on The Today Show, before
any of the cheating stuff broke...The only thing I remember is glancing
up at the screen in horrifying recognition of something very clear:
'This girl's an idiot!' I said out loud to my TV. It wasn't in a mean
or dismissive or jealous tone, except for maybe that last one. More
like crestfallen. Like 'Oh, that's really too bad.' I was mostly just
disappointed -- that what was obviously a shallow book would become a
hit, something the herds would race to buy, plow through, and discuss
at book club weeks or months later... and all because a teenager with
shiny hair and a fun, ethnic but not too ethnic accent happened to
'write' it.

Another big question is, in this day and age, when you can get busted for stealing from people's blogs,
when giant text searches can be done with incredible accuracy and
speed, when you know that things you write in a few minutes will hang
around indefinitely for later scrutiny, why do people think they can
get away with stealing people's writing in the first place?

KaavyaKaavya (at left) gave an interview where she said: "I'm
actually terrified about the writing process this time around. What if
I find out I have nothing to say? What if I can't write? I just wish I
could just move forward to the time when the sequel would be written
and I could go around promoting it. I enjoy that part.
(Via the Hindu)

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