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Book Tour Canceled Over 'Safety Concerns'

Flatiron Books brings Jeanine Cummins' tour to an end
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2020 5:01 PM CST
This cover image released by Flatiron Books shows "American Dirt," a novel by Jeanine Cummins.   (Flatiron Books via AP)

(Newser) – Hoping to catch the author of American Dirt at your local book store? No longer: The publisher has nixed the rest of Jeanine Cummins' tour over safety concerns, USA Today reports. The best-selling novel, about a Mexican mom and her son fleeing for the US, has received a mix of good and bad reviews—but also sparked anger from activists, Mexican-American writers, and others who called Cummins' depiction of Mexicans stereotypical. "Jeanine Cummins spent five years of her life writing this book with the intent to shine a spotlight on tragedies facing immigrants," said Bob Miller, head of Flatiron Books. "We are saddened that a work of fiction that was well-intentioned has led to such vitriolic rancor."

"Unfortunately," he added, "our concerns about safety have led us to the difficult decision to cancel the book tour." The publisher has also tweeted that "we are carefully listening to the conversation happening around the novel." Cummins, who is of Puerto Rican and Irish background, may have fanned the flames by admitting she "wished someone slightly browner than me would write it." (One reviewer said "lots of someones 'slightly browner' than Cummins did write it," and named three books by Latin American writers.) Oprah Winfrey, who chose the book for her book club, has posted a video saying she was "deeply moved" by American Dirt but says "a different kind of conversation is needed." Winfrey plans to interview Cummins for Apple TV Plus next month, per the AP.
(Read more cultural appropriation stories.)

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