How Kaavya Viswanathan Lost Her Book Deal

Jessica · 05/03/06 09:08AM

After ordering that bookstores pull plagiarizing Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan's book from the shelves, publisher Little, Brown has decided to permanently withdraw the title, meaning that no more copies will be printed and we'll all be spared a pithy author's note in the second edition. If you've not yet scored your own copy of How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, you can do so on eBay for about 40 bucks.

Remainders: The Generosity of Nicole Richie

Jessica · 05/02/06 06:00PM

• How can you not love Nicole Richie? The saintly thing can't help but share every last sprinkle of blow she's got. [Defamer]
• The reservation line for Mr. Chow's Tribeca outpost is up and running; even if you're nobody, you can snag a table for Saturday's opening. [Eater]
• After reading an interview in which Barbara Corcoran talks about overcoming dyslexia to become the wicked queen of the housing bubble, we have to wonder: Is the Corcobeast the Tom Cruise of real estate? [Bankrate]
• At this point, what hasn't Kaavya Viswanathan plagiarized? [Crimson]
• Providence, R.I., actually manages to outdo Williamsburg in the retarded irony department. [You Tube]
• Scientology digs its claws into Janeane Garofolo. Is no one safe? [Scoop]
• Memoirist Augusten Burroughs likens the James Frey boondoggle to Milli Vanilli. Wrong! Milli Vanilli is far superior, simply by virtue of their hair. [Book Standard]
• The Smoking Gun pulls through with documents from Sopranos actor John Ventimiglia's arrest, complete with an impressive six counts of being totally fucked up. [TSG]

Kaavya Admits: She's 'Terrified About the Writing Process'

Jesse · 05/02/06 12:55PM

On Sunday, April 23, The Harvard Crimson was breaking news that Kaavya Viswanathan was a plagiarist. Halfway around the world, meantime, The Hindu, which calls itself "India's National Newspaper," was that same day publishing a fairly fawning Q&A with the little Indian-American girl made good. (Made better?) A Gawker reader stumbled across that Hindu interview this morning, and we must stop now to save its final bit:

Laurel Touby Takes on Kaavya Viswanathan

Jessica · 05/02/06 10:40AM

Because we are all victim to the whims of our masters, Mediabistro's bookish blog Galleycat has given publisher Laurel Touby access to their Movable Type. At first, it seems that she's writing an honest defense of Kaavya Viswanathan: "I, too, suffer from a form of selective memory." Right — she runs a networking company, but never remembers people's names. But then we continued reading and realized that we were actually dealing with Laurel's special brand of humor:

Kaavya Viswanathan Can't Stop the Plagiarizing

Jessica · 05/02/06 09:47AM

The Times reports today that Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan seems to have plagiarized from a third work, Sophie Kinsella's Can You Keep a Secret? Last week, Viswanathan confessed to "unintentionally" plagiarizing the work of Megan McCafferty, whose words appear in Viswanathan's How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life in more than 40 separate passages. Publisher Little, Brown has since ordered stores to pull Viswanathan's book from the shelves.

You Know You're a Better Cheat Than Kaavya

Jessica · 05/01/06 09:10AM

Last week brought us a confession from sneaky Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan, who claimed that she was "influenced" by the works of Megan McCafferty, subconsciously transcribing word-for-word passages from those novels into the text of her own. Please — if you're going to cheat, at least be fucking good at it.

Gawker's Week in Review: Fake Writers Will Never Learn

Jessica · 04/28/06 05:40PM

• Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan gets spanked for plagiarizing her debut novel. Little, Brown enters shame spiral for having given an underage hack a two book, $500K deal — they cope by pulling her bestseller from the shelves.
People names its "beautiful people" and is rumored to have shelled out some $700K for access to the Brangelina.
• As Rolling Stone's 1,000th issue party draws near, some Wenner proles lament their lack of invites. At least RS staffers scored the golden tickets.
• Rosie O'Donnell is slated to replace Meredith Vieira on The View, ensuring that the show is a must-see for those looking for some morning show bloodlust.
Time's top dog Jim Kelly may be moving on as early as June. Oh, Santa, please don't go.
• In other speculative job changes, is Lloyd Grove considering ditching the Daily News for the Post and Page Six?
• Thank God it's spring — media softball is back, and just as mandatory as ever.
• You can see Anderson Cooper's memoir, but they'll have to kill you afterwards.
• Gawker mascot Andrew Krucoff gets a new job at the 92nd Street Y, meaning that our consciences may finally rest. For now, anyhow.
• If there's one sort of error from the Post that we can never, ever forgive, it's misreporting the size of Bill Clinton's penis. This is America, people — knowing presidential cock is like knowing the Pledge of Allegiance.

Publisher Recalls Kaavya Viswanathan's Book

Jessica · 04/28/06 11:25AM

The game is over for Kaavya Viswanathan: Publisher Little, Brown has decided to pull the Harvard sophomore's novel from bookstore shelves after she admitted to all but plagiarizing the work of Megan McCafferty. The announcement came late last night, just one day after the publisher originally said they would not recall copies — but they probably saw how pissed Katie Couric was and had a change of heart.

Remainders: Pellicano Finally Threatens a New York Journo

Jessica · 04/27/06 06:00PM

Vanity Fair contributing editor John Connolly has been informed by the U.S. Attorney's office that Anthony Pellicano has "threatened his safety." Connolly has written several pieces on the wiretap case, including the latest in the June issue, and just signed a book deal on the subject. Nikki Finke counts this as the third journo Pellicano has threatened, and the first NYC-based of the bunch. Congrats, Connolly. [Deadline Hollywood]
• Predictably, Harvard has started "gathering information" on the case of plagiarizing prodigy Kaavya Viswanathan. It's not a formal investigation, but is it ever? Also, of her book deal, she says that she "just thought everyone was being nice" to her. Har. [Crimson & NYT]
• Anderson Cooper will start appearing on 60 Minutes. That's double the silver foxiness! [NYP]
• Russell Crowe accuses of Sony BMG of leading him on before they decided against giving him a record deal; Crowe chucks phone at record exec's head. [Daily Telegraph]
• Only the classiest advertising for George Clooney. [AdFreak]
• Buddha Bar gets a death sentence: "Like Spice Market meets Ninja." [Snack]
• Enjoy information while it's free, 'cause it might not be for long. [FT]
• We'll help this kid out, but only in the name of threesomes. [HWTB]

Couric Grills Viswanathan, World Cringes

Jessica · 04/27/06 12:04PM

For once, we actually missed a moment of the Today show yesterday, specifically the moment in which Katie Couric grilled Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan about the numerous passages in her book that seem to be plagiarized from the novels of Megan McCafferty. Couric busted out her angry-mom tone, asking Viswanathan how her parents must feel and criticizing her for thinking an apology might make this go away. Towards the end of the bitch-slappery, Couric mentioned Viswanathan's leave from Harvard and possible expulsion then asked, "Why did you want to come to the Today show?" "To tell the truth," responded Viswanathan. Couric's perky rage was visible.

Remainders: Who Couldn't Use a Packager?

Jessica · 04/26/06 05:45PM

• Teen lit packaging expert Lizzie "Old Hag" Skurnick talks about the realities of 17th Street's "packaging" of Kaavya Viswanathan's first novel: Packagers are writers and editors who get the job done quickly for larger publishing houses, and make a lot of money doing so. If that meant pulling out some stock passages for Viswanathan to get her manuscript in on time, that would explain the suspected plagiarism. Related: Why aren't we in the packaging business? [Harvard Independent]
• How do you calculate New York's nightlife apocalypse? Take a bill to freeze liquor licenses and multiply it by Axl Rose at Misshapes. [VV]
• Good news for anyone who likes to touch themselves: Nerve.com launches its video site. [Nerve]
• The FBI launches an investigation of Pellicano case leaks to the Times. PlameGate for Hollywood, yay. [Fishbowl LA]
• Fox News' Shep Smith doesn't appreciate being mistaken for Steve Kmetko. But who does? [You Tube]
• Donald Trump has paid the $5 registration fee necessary to become a Rhode Island state lobbyist, so now he can schmooze his way towards — what else? — yet another casino. [ProJo]
• For the record, we've no fucking clue who made a Gawker MySpace profile — but we're thrilled to have 541 friends! [Got Detroit]

Indians on Indians: Tackling Kaavya Viswanathan

Jessica · 04/26/06 10:38AM

We've all spent a fair deal of time analyzing, pondering, lamenting and/or scoffing at the situation of Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard sophomore who, after receiving $500K for a two-book deal, has been accused of plagiarizing passages in her debut novel How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life. But someday, the current controversy will be a thing of the past, and what then of young Kaavya? There is, of course, a very young woman at the center of all this.

Your Obscenely Overpaid, Plagiarizing Young Author Update

Jessica · 04/25/06 04:57PM

Though Kaavya Viswanathan has confessed to being subconsciously "influenced" by the work of Megan McCafferty to the point of reproducing passages from McCafferty's books for her own bestselling debut How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, there's still literary chatter to suggest there's more to the story than just that. In particular, a former TA of Viswanathan writes, "Kaavya was my student last spring (in a section where I was a TA). I was surprised to learn she had written a book, as her writing was awful- I had given her low grades on her papers."

How Kaavya Viswanathan Got a Spanking

Jessica · 04/25/06 08:14AM

'Vanity Fair' Tells Us About This JT Leroy Thing

Jessica · 04/24/06 01:17PM

We've spent the last 6 hours reading Vanity Fair's online exclusive about the "untold story" behind Fake Writer JT Leroy — honestly, it wouldn't have taken so long if we hadn't kept nodding off. So far as we can tell, the only part that's exclusive or particularly untold are the direct quotes from Geoffrey Knoop, estranged husband of JT mastermind Laura Albert. Kudos to VF for actually making this story less interesting — maybe that's why it's only available online? Not bland enough to kill, but not spicy enough to be printed on a glossy page.

Harvard's Viswanathan Celebrates Fake Writer Day

Jessica · 04/24/06 09:00AM

What happens when you sign a high school kid to a $500K two-book deal? We wouldn't know, being reasonably untalented since elementary school. But ask the sad folks at Little, Brown — they signed Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan to that exact deal, and her debut, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life, seems to feature plagiarized content. Currently at #32 on the New York Times bestseller list and optioned by Dreamworks, Opal Mehta contains "strikingly similar" (and, at one point, word-for-word) text to Megan McCafferty's 2001 novel Sloppy Firsts and her 2003 follow-up Second Helpings. McCafferty's people at Random House are taking the allegations "very seriously," but when contacted by the Harvard Crimson, Viswanathan said that she had "no idea what you are talking about."

Fake Writer Day Comes to 'South Park'

Jessica · 04/17/06 01:35PM

According to South Park's website, the new episode for Wednesday will tackle Fake Writer James Frey's historic appearance on Oprah: