Viswanathan Watch

As has been widely reported, Harvard sophomore and New York Times bestselling author Kaavya Viswanathan is facing charges that she plagiarized material from Megan McCafferty’s Sloppy Firsts for use in her novel, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got A Life. (See the material side by side here.)

Over at Galleycat, Sarah points out that that there may have been more than one cook in the kitchen, what with the involvement of a “book packaging” company that helped Viswanathan make her work more “commercially viable.” Meanwhile, Maud links to a MeFi thread in which a former teacher of Viswanathan states, “I was surprised to learn she had written a book, as her writing was awful — I had given her low grades on her papers.” And, over at Lit Saloon, Michael quips: “Wonderful stuff — especially since the plagiarism seems so utterly pointless. God, we love the American publishing industry and what it leads to !”

Well, here is what it leads to: According to this article by Dinitia Smith in the Times, the “book packaging” company in question is 17th Street Productions, now renamed Alloy Entertainment. Smith writes that “Alloy, which referred questions to Little, Brown, holds the copyright to “Opal” with Ms. Viswanathan.” (Emphasis mine.) So who exactly wrote this book?