• Wednesday, July 06, 2022

Kaavya Viswanathan

Kaavya Viswanathan
on Aug 21, 2019
Kaavya Viswanathan

About

Date of Birth: c.1986 (not publicized) Best Known For: How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life (YA fiction) While in high school, the India-born but America-based Viswanathan showed an assortment of her writing to her private college admissions counselor, was then signed to the William Morris Agency, and received a two-book deal with Little, Brown and Company. During the summer after high school and her freshman year at Harvard, Viswanathan completed the manuscript for her first book. When Viswanathan was a 19-year-old sophomore, How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life was published, the movie rights were bought by DreamWorks, and Viswanathan was featured in the New York Times. But less than a month after the book's release, Viswanathan became embroiled in controversy when allegations of plagiarism were raised. By the end of Viswanathan's sophomore year, she had been accused of plagiarizing 5 different prominent authors: Megan McCafferty, Salman Rushdie, Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot, and Tanuja Desai Hidier. By the start of her junior year, Viswanathan had been interviewed for numerous stories about the plagiarism allegations, she had lost her book deal, all copies of her book had been recalled by the publisher (and first editions were being sold on eBay for triple their original price), and production of the film adaptation had been halted, though the scandal didn't affect her status at Harvard. In 2008, Viswanathan graduated with honors; she made the news again briefly the following year when she entered Georgetown University as a first-year law student. (Post-23, she has presumably graduated from Georgetown; she also suffered the deaths of her parents in a plane accident in 2011.)

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