Jumi Bello’s online essay detailing why she plagiarized material for her debut novel was removed after the author was found to have committed another plagiarism.
The essay entitled “I plagiarized parts of my debut novel. Here’s Why,” was a public explanation for why Bello’s book was discontinued by US publisher Riverhead Books earlier this year. The essay appeared on the LitHub website on May 9 and was removed hours after publication.
Bello’s novel The departureabout a young black woman dealing with pregnancy had appeared on several lists of the most anticipated debuts of 2022, but in February the title was removed from online booksellers.
In the now-retracted essay, Bello highlighted how the demands of the publication impacted her mental health, including her “strained nerves” and her insomnia. Bello also wrote about her desire to accurately describe a pregnancy she had not personally experienced. “I tell myself I’ll just borrow something and change the language. I tell myself I’ll rewrite those parts later during editing. I will make this story mine again,” she wrote.
“Looking back on that moment, I ignored my instincts. I ignored the inner voice softly saying, ‘This is wrong, wrong, wrong.’”
LitHub editor Johnny Diamond told the Associated Press that readers who commented on social media first noticed the similarities between the story of plagiarism contained in Bello’s essay and other plagiarism stories available online.
This was further corroborated by a statement posted on the LitHub website, which read: “LitHub this morning received a very personal essay from Jumi Bello about her experiences writing a debut novel, her struggles with serious mental illness, the self-imposed pressures of being young Writers feel to publish, and their own plagiarism.
“Due to inconsistencies in the story and, crucially, another incident of plagiarism in the published article, we have decided to retract the paper.”
Bello has not yet publicly commented on the retraction of the essay.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/news/plagiarism-jumi-bello-publishing-b2075688.html Jumi Bello: Author’s essay on plagiarism withdrawn after allegations of further plagiarism